East Dorset, Vermont — Ireland’s Darragh Kenny continued his domination of the Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show by winning the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux, on Sunday, July 12, in East Dorset, VT.
The 21-year-old rider from County Offaly not only won the Grand Prix but also placed second, sixth and eighth. With four horses entered, Kenny was easily the busiest rider of the day. Danielle Torano, her husband, Jimmy Torano, and Amanda Flint were the only other riders with multiple entries, each riding two horses.
World renowned course designer Anthony d’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, set a 13-obstacle track that produced a total of five clear rounds. As the first rider into the grand prix ring, Danielle Torano of Fort Lauderdale, FL, showed the way by jumping clear with Vancouver D’Auvray. The crowd was quickly assured of a jump-off when Darragh Kenny immediately followed suit, mastering the track with Obelix.
Two horses later, Kenny’s barn mate Kristy McCormack added her name to the jump-off list as did Candice King with Skara Glen’s Rebozo. Kenny then left all the jumps in place with Palona to bring the total number of jump-off challengers to five.
First back for the jump-off, Torano and her 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion easily cleared the eight obstacles that comprised the jump-off and crossed the timers in 37.91 seconds.
Their lead was short-lived, however, as Kenny shaved more than two seconds off her time, guiding Obelix to a clear round in a time of 35.82 seconds. On Friday, Kenny and the 13-year-old bay gelding owned by Trade Winds Farm had won the $10,000 Betsey Johnson Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets.
McCormack of Cape May Court House, NJ, gave it her best shot with North Run’s nine-year-old grey mare, Perle JRF, but a time of 38.20 seconds left the pair in fourth place at the end of the day.
King of Wellington, FL, was also clear in the jump-off with Skara Glen’s Rebozo, but the bay stallion took 39.47 seconds to negotiate the jump-off track, resulting in a fifth place finish. There was a win in the King family, however, as Candice’s 10-year-old daughter, Alex, claimed the Large Children’s Pony Hunter Championship on Just Been Spotted owned by Mr. & Mrs. Chuck Waters.
As the final entry, Kenny had only himself to beat. From the moment he tripped the timers, it was apparent that he intended to do exactly that. With focus and precision, Kenny guided Palona home in a time of 35.45 seconds to claim the victory.
“I said there was no point going in the ring to finish second,” laughed the affable Irishman of his jump-off performance with Palona, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Alexa Arute and Olympic Dreams LLC. “She’s so fast across the ground and you can just keep running her to the fences. She wants to win.”
Kenny, who has represented his native Ireland in two European Junior Championships and one European Young Riders’ Championship, first came to the United States in 2007 after winning a bursary to train with Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run Stables in Warren, VT. He now works full-time as a rider for North Run, as does McCormack.
“It is fantastic to get the chance to ride so many,” said Kenny of his four grand prix mounts. “I am so thankful to the owners of Palona and Obelix, and to Missy and John for giving me the chance. It shows how good they are as trainers when they can produce so many different horses for both me and Kristy.”
Torano was also pleased with her third place finish.
“He was so great, he jumped so high that I actually lost time, but at least I set the pace,” said Torano, 35, of Vancouver d’Auvray, owned by Sir Ruly, Inc. Torano and Vancouver d’Auvray, who is by the famous sire Heartbreaker, have represented the United States at the past two consecutive World Cup Finals, and Vancouver d’Auvray has become a popular breeding stallion given his talent and easy-going temperament.
With four horses in the top eight, Kenny collected a total of $18,000 in prize money while his groom was presented with a special chair and jacket, donated each week to the groom of the winning horse by Glenn Geary of Horse Watch. A commissioned painting from local Dorset-based artist Terry Lindsey was also awarded to the winner.
Throughout week two of the Vermont Summer Festival, Grand Prix sponsor Devoucoux presented all 66 division champions with a signature saddle cover.
The Vermont Summer Festival continues on July 15 with the third week of competition, highlighted by the $30,000 Manchester Classic, Presented by the Equinox Resort, on Sunday, July 19. American Olympic gold medalist Conrad Homfeld will act as course designer in the grand prix ring. Homfeld has been selected as the course designer for the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games which will be held for the first time outside of Europe in Lexington, KY.
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. Visit our website for more information on the 2009 Vermont Summer Festival, e-mail or call (802) 362-9023.
$30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by Devoucoux Saddles
|3||Danielle Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Vancouver d’Auvray||0:0||37.91|
|4||Kristy McCormack||Cape May Court House, NJ||Perle JRF||0:0||38.20|
|5||Candice King||Wellington, FL||Skara Glen’s Rebozo||0:0||39.47|
|6||Darragh Kenny||Ireland||Bazooka de Muze||4|
|7||Jimmy Torano||Fort Lauderdale, FL||Caldam d’Or||4|
|8||Darragh Kenny||Ireland||Gael Force||4|
|9||Judy Garofalo-Torres||Dover Plains, NY||Oliver||4|
|10||Jimmy Torano||Fort Lauderdale, FL||Heecchiem’s Tampa||4|
|11||Amanda Flint||Long Valley, NJ||Cajun||4|
|12||Danielle Torano||Fort Lauderdale, FL||Ormsby Hill||4|