East Dorset, Vermont – Cory Hardy of Littleton, MA, jumped to victory in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on Thursday, July 19, at the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Hardy was one of 22 horse/rider combinations to contest the derby track designed by Billy Glass, which spanned two competition rings and featured many creative natural obstacles. The top 12 riders after the first round returned in reverse order for the second handy round, with Hardy advancing with two mounts.
Aboard Le Chasseur, owned by Mary Chase of Fitzwilliam, NH, Hardy earned a first round score of 76. They finished 12th after a second round score of 58. Riding Connor, also owned by Chase, Hardy scored 84 points in round one, placing them third heading into round two.
“I thought the courses and the judging were fantastic,” said Hardy. “The course had a very Vermont feel to it and was set the way a traditional derby should be. It had lots of unrelated distances and bunches of single jumps to gallop. The judging was great as well. They really rewarded riders who were a little more forward.”
Patricia Peckham of Yorktown Heights, NY, and Rousseau were sitting in second following the first round with a score of 86. Their second round score of 70 would drop them to eighth place in the final standings. Dana Hart-Callanan of Oldwick, NJ, and Kalifornia Dreamin’ scored an 87 in round one, giving them the advantage of going last in the final round. Even with a second round score of 82, they couldn’t catch Connor and Hardy, who put in a spectacular performance, earning a remarkable 88 points in round two.
“Connor was fantastic,” said Hardy, who has been riding the 10-year-old bay German Warmblood gelding for the past three seasons. “He jumped very well and was very handy in the second round. He was incredibly consistent throughout the competition.”
Hardy shares the ride on Connor with his owner, Mary Chase, who trains at Hardy’s Newbury Farm. Chase is also competing at the Vermont Summer Festival. She and Connor will compete in the Adult Amateur Hunter 46+ division for the next two weeks.
Based on the tremendous success of the hunter derbies during their inaugural year in 2011, the six-week festival, running July 4 through August 12, has added a $15,000 Hunter Derby, sponsored by Vermont-based equestrian luggage manufacturer, Oughton Limited, on August 9. In order to qualify for the sixth and final hunter derby of the circuit, a rider or owner must have competed in one of the $5,000 Hunter Derbies offered during the first five weeks of competition.
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. New for 2012, the first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival will feature a $30,000 Grand Prix. During week six, the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held on Saturday, August 11. The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, will now be held each Thursday.
Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont. The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: email@example.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby – Thursday, July 19
Rider Horse Round One Round Two
1. Cory Hardy Connor 84 88
2. Dana Hart-Callaghan Kalifornia Dreamin’ 87 82
3. Kate Ross Chi Wah Wah 82 84
4. Amanda Steege Aiden 83 81
5. Donald Bourque 7th Heaven 80 83
6. Jennifer Bliss Poker Face 78 80
7. Darren Graziano Monte Cristo 72 85
8. Patricia Peckham Rousseau 86 70
9. Caroline Sykes MoneyPenny 77 78
10. Samantha Perlman Fantabulous 67 75
11. Sandra Epstein Catamount 73 68
12. Cory Hardy Le Chasseur 76 58
Photo: Cory Hardy and Connor won the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on Thursday, July 19, during week three of the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo by David Mullinix Photography