East Dorset, Vermont — In Sunday’s $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by Hand Motors, 24-year-old Tiffany Cornacchio of Wellington, FL, scored her first career grand prix win with seven-year-old Blast Off, who is owned by Kate Goodman. Hillary Dobbs and Quincy B were just off the pace for second place while Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Gentle R finished third. The Vermont Summer Festival, a six-week hunter/jumper competition that runs until August 19, features the world’s top equestrian athletes competing amid the picturesque Green Mountains.
Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, was the grand prix course designer, and he set a challenging track with 13 numbered obstacles. Only five riders were able to find the key to a clear round. Kirk Webby (NZL) and Sitah, last week’s grand prix winners, were the fastest four-faulters to finish in sixth place.
The first rider to return in the jump-off was Ballard on Gentle R, owned by Mitchell Gallanger. Knowing she had four fast riders coming behind her, Ballard went for speed. They had a rub at the first jump, but the rail stayed up. Ballard had good turns and when she turned for home and the final vertical, she pushed Gentle R to a fast gallop. There was another rub at the last jump, but it stayed up for a clear round in 39.06 seconds.
Next in was Cornacchio, a Baiting Hollow, NY, native, on Blast Off. Cornacchio made a great rollback to the triple bar at fence seven and was neat through the rest of the jump-off. She steadied to the final vertical and finished just ahead of Ballard in 38.74 seconds. “I saw Erynn go, and she was pretty fast,” Cornacchio recalled. “From one to two, I was really fast. I was a little cautious at the last jump, but it paid off for me. I definitely wanted to go double clear and hope for the best.”
Cornacchio rides and trains at JET Show Stables, owned by Jimmy and Danielle Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Her boss, Jimmy, was the next rider in the jump-off with Caldam Or. Torano had a quick round and beat Cornacchio’s time, but a rail at the first element of the one stride brought four faults.
Dobbs and Quincy B were the next pair to tackle the shortened course. Dobbs was recovering from a hard fall earlier in the class, but showed no signs of slowing down. She added one more stride in the line to the one stride, but her quick turns brought her home in a steady time of 38.82 seconds, just two-tenths of a second slower than Cornacchio.
The last rider to challenge was Louis Jacobs on Kachina, a gigantic horse that covered the ground easily. Jacobs kept an open stride, but the big mare spent more time in the air over the jumps than the other horses. Jacobs finished with no faults in a time of 40.18 seconds for fourth place.
Cornacchio has ridden Blast Off for two years, riding through the ranks of the Young Jumper classes. “He jumped super for only seven, and he has all the scope,” she beamed. “I feel 100% confident every time I walk in the ring, no matter how big the jumps are. I thought even today that it would be hard, but I knew he would be perfect.”
“I have to say thank you so much to Kate Goodman for letting me ride her wonderful horse and to Jimmy and Danielle for all of their help,” she added.
On her first grand prix win, she exclaimed, “It feels excellent. I can’t believe it’s true!”
The third week of the 2007 Vermont Summer Festival continues with the ‘Manchester Classic’, which runs from Wednesday, July 25, through Sunday, July 29, 2007, at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Final Results: $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by Hand Motors
- Blast Off, Tiffany Cornacchio: 0/0/38.486
- Quincy B, Hillary Dobbs: 0/0/38.820
- Gentle R, Erynn Ballard: 0/0/39.065
- Kachina, Louis Jacobs: 00/40.183
- Caldam Or, Jimmy Torano: 0/4/38.594
- Sitah, Kirk Webby: 4/77.734
- Epson Pierreville, Sharn Wordley: 4/77.958
- Corlett, Hillary Dobbs: 4/78.243
- Diams III, Joe Fargis: 4/79.045
- Mr. Flanagan, Sharn Wordley: 4/80.979
- Pia, Charlie Jacobs: 4/81.520
- Vancouver d’Auvray, Danielle Torano: 4/82.966
For the first time, the Vermont Summer Festival is pleased to offer live video streaming of all five competition rings for those who cannot attend the horse show in person. Visit www.livebroadcast.tv or www.vt-summerfestival.com for more information.
New England’s largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show, the Vermont Summer Festival offers over $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event in the state of Vermont. For more information on the 2007 Vermont Summer Festival including complete results, please visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.