East Dorset, Vermont — Devin Ryan and Roman Saluut won the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox Resort and Spa, on Sunday, July 10, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont. Ryan of Long Valley, New Jersey, made a clean sweep of the Open Jumper division on the first week of the Vermont Summer Festival.
On Wednesday, he guided Calissandro, a seven-year-old gelding he owns in partnership with Barbara Drake, to victory in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper. Friday saw Ryan top an 11-horse jump-off to win the $10,000 Vermont Bird Place Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, riding No Worries for owner and breeder Barbara Rowland. On Sunday, it was Roman Saluut’s turn to visit to the winner’s circle after winning the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox Resort and Spa.
A total of 16 horses tackled the test set by Irish course designer Alan Wade with five successfully advancing to the jump-off. First back, Danielle Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, had a stop at the second fence on course with Katina to put her out of the running. Ireland’s Darragh Kerins then guided Hot Wheels to a clear round in a time of 44.66 seconds for owner Miranda Fischer to move into the lead. Samantha Schaefer, 18, of Westminster, Maryland, saw her hopes for victory dashed at the first fence when Canute took down a rail, and had another fence down later on course for a total of eight faults.
Ryan and Roman Saluut set out to catch Kerins, and managed to shave more than a full second off the leading time, crossing the timers in 43.07 seconds. When the final challenger, Caitlin Venezia of Marston Mills, Massachusetts, riding Okapi de Ste Hermelle, had a rail at 8a, the victory went to Ryan. “I really didn’t think I could catch him,” said Ryan of following Kerins in the jump-off. “I figured the only way I was going to catch him was if I turned back tighter to the jumps. I was inside everyone else’s track. My horse has a big stride, so it was a matter of tightening up the turns everywhere.”
For the victory, Ryan earned $9,000 in prize money. Ryan also had the fastest four fault round of the day to take sixth place with No Worries.
The win marked the second week in a row that Ryan and Roman Saluut celebrated a Grand Prix victory. One week earlier, the pair won the $30,000 Grand Prix at Hunter Farms in Princeton, New Jersey. Roman Saluut, who only began jumping at the grand prix level earlier this year, now has two grand prix victories to his credit in one week’s time. “He thinks he can do anything,” said Ryan of the eight-year-old grey American Holsteiner breeding stallion he purchased as a three-year-old from Blair and Karen Cudmore in Omaha, Nebraska. “He is very brave and confident in himself. He is a trier, that’s for sure. He is super sweet on the ground; you wouldn’t even know he is a stallion. He is a big puppy dog.”
Roman Saluut also jumped double clear in Friday’s $10,000 Vermont Bird Place Open Welcome Stake to place third behind winning stablemate, No Worries. Calissandro placed eighth in that competition. Interestingly, all three of Ryan’s top mounts are American-bred. “It is good for the breeders, and I think it is important to keep horses here in the States,” said Ryan, 29, who prefers to buy his horses young and do all of the training himself. Ryan, who operates River Run Stables, is competing at the Vermont Summer Festival for the fifth year in a row.
While Ryan celebrated victory in the Grand Prix, his student, Michael Matice, won the $2,500 Marshall and Sterling Adult Jumper Classic earlier in the day. Matice was riding Lexus, a 16-year-old American thoroughbred that first carried Ryan’s into the open jumper division.
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. For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: email@example.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, Presented by The Equinox Resort and Spa
1. Devin Ryan Roman Saluut 0:0 43.07
2. Darragh Kerins Hot Wheels 0:0 44.66
3. Caitlin Venezia Okapi de Ste Hermelle 0:4 52.26
4. Samantha Schaefer Canute 0:8 47.07
5. Danielle Torano Katina 0:8 52.92
6. Devin Ryan No Worries 4
7. Kathleen Mahoney Ontario 4
8. Jimmy Torano Winner 4
9. Emily Pope Seize The Moment 4
10. Darragh Kerins S & L Slingback 4
11. Caitlin Venezia Quadrophenia 4
12. Judy Garofalo Torres Wriomf 4
Photo: Devin Ryan and Roman Saluut won the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, Presented by The Equinox Resort and Spa, on Sunday, July 10, at the Vermont Summer Festival horse show in East Dorset, Vermont. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography