East Dorset, Vermont — Ireland’s Darragh Kenny riding Castello claimed victory in the $10,000 Giorgio Armani Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, held Friday, July 29, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The six-week equestrian competition is running at Harold Beebe Farm from July 6 through August 14, 2011.
Kenny, who is based out of North Run in Warren, VT, drove south to the show grounds to pilot Castello, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by American Olympian Lauren Hough, around the difficult track built by course designer Eric Hasbrouck. Out of the original 21-horse starting field, Kenny and Castello were one of nine combinations to jump clear in the first round, and one of five to post a double clear performance. Competing in the middle of the pack, Kenny was not certain if his time of 33.67 seconds would hold for the win, hoping instead for a top three finish. Although Darren Graziano riding Vernal came closest to catching Kenny’s time, he crossed the timers in 34.28 for second place.
“I got the ride on this horse because I am very good friends with Sloane Coles, the girl that was riding him for Lauren Hough,” explained Kenny, 23, who hails from County Offaly, Ireland. “She had a really bad fall in Saugerties and has a bad concussion and can’t ride for three months, so she asked me to ride the horse for her for a couple of shows.”
Of his jump-off performance, Kenny commented, “I didn’t think that my time would hold; I was a little bit slow back to the second to last jump, but he is a naturally fast horse, really competitive and careful, and I was just being a little bit cautious, which is unlike me. And now I get to go shopping at Giorgio Armani!”
For the victory, Kenny won $3,000 in prize money as well as a $1,000 gift card for the Giorgio Armani store in Manchester, VT.
Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont. The first five Sundays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix at 1 p.m., culminating with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 14. In addition to the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, held each Friday, the weekly $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Classics are hotly contested. New for 2011, the Vermont Summer Festival will host a $5,000 Hunter Derby each Thursday five of the six weeks.
Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children, Wednesday through Saturday. On Grand Prix Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. As always, 100 percent of the gate proceeds benefit the Friends Foundation for MEMS, (Manchester Elementary and Middle School).
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region each summer. Please e-mail us or visit our website for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.
$10,000 Giorgio Armani Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
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