East Dorset, Vermont — Ireland’s Darragh Kenny will be the best dressed man on the show circuit having claimed victory in the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, August 12, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont.
The win on Wannahave marks the third consecutive victory for Kenny in the Open Welcome Stake, held each Friday of the six-week Vermont Summer Festival. For his victory, Kenny won $3,000 in prize money as well as a $1,000 gift card to the Polo Ralph Lauren store in Manchester, VT. Kenny has previously won gift cards in the same amount to the Giorgio Armani and Kenneth Cole stores in Manchester.
With six horses entered out of the starting field of 30, Kenny had ample opportunity to grab the top award. However, it took him until his fourth mount, Wannahave, owned by the Wannahave Group, before he posted a clear round to advance to the jump-off.
The time to beat was held by Charlotte Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, and Umberto, who had posted a clear jump-off round in a time of 33.94 seconds. With that target in mind, Kenny geared up the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding and crossed the timers in 32.43 to take over the lead. Jacobs tried to wrestle back the lead when she entered the ring on Promised Land and though they tried, Promised Land was not quite fast enough to catch Kenny, finishing in a time of 32.83 seconds. "Charlotte was absolutely flying,” said a sweaty Kenny. “I thought for sure she was going to beat me.”
Kenny’s next mount, Tangelo Z, is also an eight-year-old owned by the Wannahave Group. The big chestnut gave Kenny a quick and clear effort, but was not fast enough to catch the leading time, placing them second. His performance left 15-year-old Jacobs in third and fourth place in the final standings. “Both horses are bought new,” said Kenny. “Wannahave I got in the middle of the Florida circuit this winter, and we have just been working it all out. He has shown at Saugerties and Lake Placid and I was fourth last week with him here in the Welcome, but decided not to go in the Grand Prix. Missy found him through Peter Wylde, and we got a group together to buy him.”
Kenny has been riding Tangelo Z for even less time. “Tangelo Z is a horse that I just got on Sunday; we got him from Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm,” explained Kenny, whose parents are in the horse business in Ireland. “I am a really lucky boy, because as anyone who shows at this level will tell you, it’s all about the horses you have underneath you.”
Kenny has been riding for Missy Clark and John Brennan’s North Run of Warren, Vermont, since May of 2009. “I have great people behind me, from Missy and John to the great staff in the barn,” acknowledged Kenny. “I am so grateful for the fantastic horsepower that Missy and John have put under not only me, but also Charlotte and Hillary, and all of the rest of the kids who ride with them.”
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin will be in attendance for the excitement of the grand finale, the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix, sponsored by Purina Feeds, on Sunday, August 14. 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.
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. For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
Rider Horse Faults Time
1 Darragh Kenny Wannahave 0:0 32.434
2 Darragh Kenny Tangelo Z 0:0 32.669
3 Charlotte Jacobs Promised Land 0:0 32.833
4 Charlotte Jacobs Umberto 0:0 33.941
5 Jimmy Torano Wayne R 0:0 34.768
6 Hillary Dobbs Udento VDL 0:0 35.203
7 Beth Underhill Quelqu’un de la Musardiere 0:0 36.627
8 Lydia Ulrich Santos Utopia 0:4 31.179
Photo: Darragh Kenny and Wannahave won the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, August 12, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography