East Dorset, Vermont — Megan Young of Mandarin, Florida, guided Calvados to victory in the $10,000 Betsey Johnson Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, July 22, 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 Kenny Krome made allowances for the uncharacteristic heatwave gripping the northeast, setting a track of fences at a slightly lower height than usual. Even with that factor in their favor, only three competitors from the original starting field were able to jump clear to advance to the jump-off.
Caitlin Venezia and Quadrophenia were the first pair to cover the track fault-free. Their jump-off round was also flawless, and they crossed the timers in 35.91 seconds to set the standard.
It was another five horses before the spectators were treated to the clean first round performance by Young and Timothy Wickes’ Calvados. The big bay powered over the fences, making his efforts over the obstacles look easy. Immediately moving into the jump-off, Young and Calvados made their way around the shortened track in a time of 33.94, shaving a good two seconds off of Venezia’s time to move into the lead.
The final horse-rider combination into the ring, Amanda Flint and Wizzard VDL, also turned in a clear round over the initial course, but could not navigate the jump-off fault-free. One rail down gave them a four fault penalty to place third overall in the final standings.
An outstanding junior rider, Young took time off from riding to pursue her college degree. Graduating in 2009, Young has now returned to the competition arena and is amassing victories in both the hunter and jumper divisions with an impressive string of horses.
“I haven’t done a whole lot of this, especially lately, so we had asked earlier in the week if this was going to be a ‘welcoming Welcome,’” said Young. “I wanted to do it, as long as it was going to be little enough. It was a nice course, nothing to difficult or technical, just the right amount of questions. My horse jumped really well and handled all the turns nicely. This was a good place to start, and I certainly liked the outcome. This show is very exhibitor friendly.”
For her win in the $10,000 Betsey Johnson Open Welcome Stake, Young received a $1,000 gift card from Betsey Johnson in addition to $3,000 in prize money. As Young exited the grand prix ring following the awards presentation, numerous riders and trainers were telling her about items they had already seen at the store that she might like.
Despite her victory, Young was undecided about trying her luck in Sunday’s $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux, which begins at 1 p.m.
“They want me to do it,” said Young, who trains with Rodney Bross. “We will wait and see how friendly that course will be.”
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. Megan Young Calvados 0:0 33.94
2. Caitlin Venezia Quadrophenia 0:0 36.91
3. Amanda Flint Wizzard VDL 0:4 36.06
4. Theodore Demetriou Catuso 4
5. Janice Syphers Cover Girl 4
6. Kimberly Mulligan Butterfly Rouge 4
7. Amanda Flint Superbad 4
8. Michael Dorman Patina 4
Photo: Megan Young and Calvados won the $10,000 Betsey Johnson Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, July 22, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography