Marylisa Leffler of Brookeville, MD, won the $10,000 Vineyard Vines Welcome Stake on Thursday, August 2, during the fifth week of competition at the six-week Vermont Summer Festival, which continues through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Leffler and her winning mount, Luminous, were one of six entries to jump the first-round, Gerry Briggs-designed course without fault to advance to the jump-off. David Jennings of Franklin, TN, and Gracieux van Seven Oaks, owned by Mary Katherine Hargreaves, were the first pair to jump off, setting the clear-round time to beat at 46.22 seconds.
The next in the ring, Amy Masterson of Loretto, ON, and Bentley, owned by DK Masterson Holdings, delivered another clear effort, but tripped the timers in 49.33 seconds for the eventual third place finish.
Jennings’ time would hold up for second place, with only Leffler besting his time to finish at the top of the leaderboard. She and Luminous, a nine-year-old warmblood mare owned by Rolling Acres, crossed the timers in 45.16 seconds to secure the win.
“She’s just been amazing; she is such a trier,” said Leffler, who acquired the mare in November 2017 and who is just returning to the show ring after injuring her shoulder in June. “I separated my [acromioclavicular joint] in my shoulder, so I didn’t do the inside turn back to fence three today. I’m still just a little cautious about over-doing it. I said I’d rather do that on Saturday [for the grand prix] then try to do it today.”
Despite foregoing an inside turn elected by many of the other riders, Leffler and Luminous were quick across the ground and made up time down the lines for the win.
“She’s so game,” said Leffler, who has been attending the Vermont Summer Festival for more than 20 years. “I left out the stride up the first line, and I thought, ‘Well, if I did that, I’ll go ahead and leave out in the next one too!’
For the win, Leffler received a $1,000 gift card to Vineyard Vines in addition to her share of the prize money. As the second place finisher, Jennings was presented with a $500 gift certificate to TSE.
Leffler and Luminious will return to the grand prix ring on Saturday, when open jumper action continues with the $30,000 Manchester & the Mountains Grand Prix, presented by Purina.
The Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition and the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont with more than $750,000 in prize money. The event is also a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2018 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting The Dorset School, Manchester Community Library, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
$10,000 Vineyard Vines Welcome Stake – Thursday, August 2, 2018
Rider Hometown Horse Faults/Time
1. Marylisa Leffler Brookeville, MD Luminous 0/0/45.169
2. David Jennings Franklin, TN Gracieux van Seven Oaks 0/0/46.225
3. Amy Masterson Loretto, ON Bentley 0/0/49.330
4. Jonathan Corrigan Southampton, NY Javas Keltic Mist 0/4/44.14
5. Ashley Foster Brookeville, MD Deliante M 0/4/46.415
6. Brenna Doherty Laurel Hollow, NY KM Whatever RV 0/4/47.034
7. Amanda Strain Deep River, CT Casino Royale 3
8. Anastasia Bezsylko Harrisburg, PA Cakao 2 7