East Dorset, Vermont — Darragh Kenny of Ireland won the $10,000 Betsey Johnson Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, July 10, at the Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show in East Dorset, VT.
The luck of the Irish was certainly with the 21-year-old rider hailing from County Offaly as he not only won Friday’s featured event at the Vermont Summer Festival, but also placed third and fourth.
A total of seven horses were guided to clear rounds over the track set by course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, to advance to the jump-off. As the second to last rider to challenge the jump-off, Kenny posted a clear round in a time of 34.74 seconds to take over the lead from Jimmy Torano of Fort Lauderdale, FL, who had the day’s only other double clear, but in a slower time of 36.67 seconds. When a rail fell for the final challenger, Amanda Flint of Long Valley, NJ, and VDL Theresa Lady, the win was Kenny’s.
“He is so careful, and has so much jump,” said Kenny of his winning mount, Obelix, owned by Agatha D’Ambra of Trade Winds Farm. Kenny only began riding the 13-year-old bay gelding two weeks earlier and showed him at the Lake Placid Horse Show.
Kenny, who represented Ireland at the 2007 European Young Riders’ Championship, first came to the United States two years ago after winning a bursary at the Dublin Horse Show to train with Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run Stables in Warren, VT. He enjoyed the experience so much that, this past winter, he returned to work with them during the winter circuit in Wellington, FL, and is now based with them indefinitely.
“Missy and John are fantastic to train with, they are so knowledgeable and they are two of the best people I have ever met,” said Kenny, who grew up riding on his parent’s farm. “The horses are so brilliant, anyone could win on them.”
Kenny finished third with Bazooka de Muze, an eight-year-old chestnut gelding, and fourth with Gael Force, an 11-year-old bay Irish-bred gelding. Both horses are owned by North Run Stables.
In addition to winning $3,000 in prize money, Kenny was also awarded a $1,000 gift certificate from presenting sponsor, Betsey Johnson. As the boutique specializes in ladies wear, Kenny quipped, “I am sure that Missy or Agatha will find great use for it!”
Torano, the winner of the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, Inc. on Sunday, July 5, was forced to settle for second on this occasion. His partner was Caldam d’Or, a 10-year-old bay Zangersheide gelding by Calvaro Z that is owned by SCNC Investments Inc. Torano collected $2,200 for his second place finish as well as a $50 gift certificate for The Vermont Bird Place.
Torano and Kenny will duel it out in Sunday’s $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux. Between Torano and his wife, Danielle, they will have several horses entered as will Kenny, who plans to compete with four horses.
Running through to August 9, 2009, the six-week Vermont Summer Festival is the largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show in New England, as well as the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont offering more than $750,000 in prize money.
The Vermont Summer Festival operates daily from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until approximately 4 p.m. every day. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children, Wednesday through Saturday, and $7 for adults and $5 for children on Grand Prix Sunday. All gate receipts are donated to the Friends Foundation for MEMS, benefiting programs in the local Elementary & Middle School (MEMS).
$10,000 Betsey Johnson Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
|2||Jimmy Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Caldam d’Or||0:0||36.67|
|3||Darragh Kenny||Ireland||Bazooka de Muze||0:4||34.28|
|4||Darragh Kenny||Ireland||Gael Force||0:4||35.13|
|5||Kristy McCormack||Cape May Court House, NJ||Perle JRF||0:4||36.04|
|6||Danielle Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Ormsby Hill||0:4||37.50|
|7||Amanda Flint||Long Valley, NJ||Theresa Lady||0:4||42.77|
|8||Kimberly Mulligan||New York, NY||Butterfly Rouge||4|