East Dorset, Vermont — Hillary Dobbs won the $5,500 Open Speed on Thursday afternoon at the Vermont Summer Festival running July 9 to August 17 at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge, course designer at last year’s Pan American Games, set a challenging track of 12 obstacles that saw riders attempt to leave all the jumps up in the fastest time. Dobbs of Sussex, NJ, guided her mount, Marengo, to a clear round in a time of 63.58 seconds which proved to be unbeatable. Dobbs, a Harvard student and the daughter of CNN personality Lou Dobbs, made a daring inside turn to fence number nine that only three other riders attempted.
“This is his specialty,” said Dobbs, 20, of her horse’s ability to jump at speed. “He is always a competitive speed horse. If he and I are both on it, we have a good chance of winning.”
The $5,500 Open Welcome was sponsored by Manchester Designer Outlets and its brand, the Vermont Bird Place, presented Dobbs with a gift valued at $1,000. Based on their victory, Dobbs and Marengo will be favorites to win Friday’s $10,000 Polo Ralph Lauren, Lilly Pulitzer Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, as well as Sunday’s $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix beginning at 2 p.m.
While the winning time was 63.58 seconds, second-placed competitor Shaine Brooks of Loundonville, NY, crossed the timers almost three seconds slower, in a time of 66.50 seconds with the big grey, Rolling Hills Kolita.
Vermont Summer Festival regular Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale took third and fourth positions. With Morgan, his first of four entries in the $5,500 Open Speed, Torano was blistering fast but had a rail to incur a four second time penalty, bringing his final total to 67.89 seconds. Riding the grey horse Magic Cruise, Torano had a rail down at fence nine to bring his score to 71.36 seconds. Ireland’s Michael Kearins rounded out the top five with a time of 72.16 seconds riding Colina.
Competition is held daily Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until approximately 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children Wednesday through Saturday. On ‘Grand Prix Sunday’, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children. All gate proceeds are donated to the Friends Foundation for MEMS, benefiting programs in the local Elementary & Middle School.
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.
Visit the Vermont Summer Festival website for more information, including full results.
$5,500 Open Speed – Final Results
|1||Hillary Dobbs||Sussex, NJ||Marengo||63.58|
|2||Shaine Brooks||Loundonville, NY||Rolling Hills Kolita||66.50|
|3||Jimmy Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Morgan||67.89|
|4||Jimmy Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Magic Cruise||71.36|