East Dorset, Vermont — Kate Levy enjoyed her first visit to the Vermont Summer Festival by winning and placing second in the $10,000 Lilly Pulitzer Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, July 3, in East Dorset, VT.
Levy of Wellington, FL, was the only rider of the day to advance to the jump-off, qualifying both Gralli and Lirving du Volsin. With her first mount, Gralli, Levy rolled a rail at the second fence in the jump-off to incur four faults. Levy then had only herself to beat, and she did exactly that by guiding Lirving du Volsin to a clear round in a time of 28.71 seconds.
“Since the spring, he has been my most consistent horse,” said Levy of the 10-year-old bay selle francais gelding, sired by Fergar Mail, that she began riding during the winter circuit in Wellington, Florida. “He is really fun. He is so brave, he has such a good mind, and he is easy to go fast on. He is a winner, and a real trier.”
For her win, Levy received $3,000 in prize money as well as a Lilly Pulitzer gift bag valued at $1,000. The prize for second place, which Levy also collected, was $2,200 plus a gift certificate for The Vermont Bird Place. With her third mount, Starlight, Levy took eighth place for an additional $400 in prize money, bringing her total to $5,600 in prize money for a day’s work.
Levy’s second-place mount, Gralli, is also a horse she began riding this past winter in Florida. Levy described the 10-year-old grey Westphalian mare by saying, “She was in Belgium and wasn’t doing that many classes before I started riding her, but every time we have asked her to jump higher, she says, ‘okay.’ She is like a little warrior; she’s a fighter.”
When asked if she was surprised to be the only rider to qualify for the jump-off, Levy replied, “I was surprised. I thought that even though the field was small, there were a lot of good horses and riders.
“I thought it was a great course, it had everything in it without making it too difficult for the field,” continued Levy, who has recently opened her own training stable in North Salem, NY, of the course designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. “Michel is a great course designer, and I thought it was difficult enough. There were some technical lines, with two doubles and a triple. The course incorporated a lot of different tests without over-facing anybody. It was a great way to prepare for the Grand Prix on Sunday.”
Levy will be riding her winning mount, Lirving du Voisin, in Sunday’s $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, Inc.
Of his plan for Friday’s Open Welcome track, Vaillancourt, an FEI ‘I’ course designer and Olympic Individual Silver Medalist, said, “For this group, it was a nice preparation. When you come to an event like this, you know the circuit will continue to grow as the weeks go on. It was a nice, easy track and for those that have aspirations, it was part of their education.”
Finishing third over Vaillancourt’s track was Judy Garofalo-Torres of Dover Plains, NY. Riding her veteran mount, Oliver, Garofalo-Torres knocked down the final fence, 12b, to miss qualifying for the jump-off.
Maggie McAlary placed fourth after knocking down the middle element of the triple combination riding Euro Mon Amie while Jennifer Hannan and the grey gelding, Lamplight, jumped clear but incurred six time faults for exceeding the 78-second time allowed.
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 first five Sundays at the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix, culminating with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 9. The Vermont Summer Festival operates daily from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until approximately 4 p.m. every day.