East Dorset, Vermont — Kaitlin Campbell won the $10,000 Five Seasons Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, July 15, 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.
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, New York, set a track that challenged the starting field of 26 horses, with only three jumping clear to advance to the jump-off. Judy Garofalo Torres jumped clear in the first round with Wriomf but picked up three time faults after exceeding the 78 second time allowed while Amanda Flint and Superbad also left the rails in place but incurred five time faults.
Last week’s winners, Devin Ryan of Long Valley, New Jersey, and No Worries, were the first to negotiate the first round without penalty, but had a rail in the jump-off for four faults in a time of 34.33 seconds.
Campbell of Brookeville, Maryland, was only the sixth rider on course and jumped clear to advance to the immediate jump-off. She was again clear over the shortened jump-off track, and crossed the timers in 33.55 seconds to move into the lead. However, with 20 horses still to come, her victory was far from assured. “I don’t mind it because your horse is already paying attention,” said Campbell of having to jump-off immediately after her first round. “Your horse is already warmed up so you don’t have to warm him up again.”
Instead of staying at the competition ring and watching the remaining 20 contenders, Campbell elected to go back to the barn and wait for the news. Only one other rider, Chasen Boggio of Canton, Georgia, was able to jump clear, but incurred eight faults in the jump-off with Hennessey to place third.
“Devin had already gone and I knew that if he got to the jump-off with his other horses, he could be faster than me, plus Darragh Kenny had three horses in it,” said Campbell, sizing up her competition. “There weren’t too many who went clear, only three out of 26, so that’s a pretty low number, especially for a welcome class. The course started off not too big, and then it got bigger at the end. It was technical enough, and the time allowed was tight.”
Having previously competed in the High Junior Jumper division, Campbell and Rocky W only began competing at the grand prix level in April and already have several impressive victories to their credit. The pair won a $25,000 Grand Prix in Lexington, Virginia, in April, and then was named the Amateur-Owner Jumper Champions at the Devon Horse Show in May. A win in the $75,000 Grand Prix in Upperville, Virginia, in June marked their biggest victory to date.
Following their victory in Upperville, Rocky W enjoyed some well-deserved time off while Campbell traveled to England to ride horses for one month for David Quigley, who runs a large sales barn. She then returned stateside for the Vermont Summer Festival before going on to the North American Young Riders’ Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, later this month where she will represent Zone 3.
“I went from Manchester, England to Manchester, Vermont,” laughed Campbell, who last competed at the Vermont Summer Festival in the Medium Pony division in 2003. Campbell, who is a rising junior at the American University in Washington, D.C., has been training with Rachel Kennedy at ESP Farm in Brookeville, Maryland for the past year.
“I know him so well now that I just know how he’s going to be and what to expect,” said Campbell of Rocky W, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding she purchased from two-time Canadian Olympian Jay Hayes in 2007. “He can be a bit of a character, but he has been on form lately so hopefully we have everything figured out.”
For her win in the $10,000 Five Seasons Open Welcome Stake, Campbell received a $1,000 gift card from Five Seasons in addition to $3,000 in prize money. “It is really nice for the sponsors to add something different for the prize, and I am definitely going to use it,” said Campbell, excited at the prospect of doing some early Christmas shopping.
Campbell and Rocky W will return on Sunday to contest the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, at 1 p.m. on July 17.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$10,000 Five Seasons Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
1. Kaitlin Campbell Rocky W 0:0 33.55
2. Devin Ryan No Worries 0:4 34.33
3. Chasen Boggio Hennessey 0:8 36.97
4. Judy Garofalo Torres Wriomf 3
5. Devin Ryan Roman Saluut 4
6. Jimmy Torano Winner 4
7. Devin Ryan Callisandro 4
8. Darragh Kenny Obelix 4
Photo: Kaitlin Campbell and Rocky W won the $10,000 Five Seasons Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, July 15, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography