East Dorset, Vermont — Addison Phillips, 21, emerged victorious over 19-year-old Laura Tobak in the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, held Sunday, July 11, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Only three riders were able to successfully clear the first round test set by course designer Michel Vaillancourt to advance to the jump-off. Tobak and Phillips were joined in the deciding round by the final entry in the 18-horse starting field, Judy Garofalo Torres and Oliver, who had laid claim to Friday’s $10,000 Giorgio Armani Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets.
First back to challenge the shortened jump-off track, Tobak of Greenwich, CT, rolled a rail out of its cups near the end of the course to finish with a score of four faults in a time of 41.85 seconds. A newcomer on the Grand Prix scene, Tobak was riding Redemption, her eight-year-old thoroughbred-cross gelding that she purchased from Ralph Caristo to contest the big equitation medal classes.
Next into the ring was Phillips, who was aboard her 10-year-old chestnut mare, Teirra. The pair made easy work of the course, leaving all the rails in place and turning in a time of 41.42 seconds.
Last to go, Garofalo Torres of Dover Plains, NY, and her 20-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion had experience on their side, but another victory was not to be. Despite having the fastest time, the pair had a rail down at the same fence as Tobak before also knocking down the final fence for an eight-fault total.
Having placed second to Garofalo Torres on Friday, this time victory belonged to Phillips.
“I think the courses have been great all week, it has been the right challenge for the group that is here,” said Phillips of New York City, NY.
This is the third year that Phillips has been partnered with Teirra, and despite enjoying tremendous success as a junior and young rider with various mounts, Phillips counts the mare as one of her favorites.
“She is one of the most special horses that I have ever had, she has a big heart and will do whatever is asked of her,” said Phillips who trains at Heritage Farm in Katonah, NY. “She is very focused on her job. She has a little feist; she has a motor and is my kind of ride. I just get in the gallop and go.”
Phillips balances her competitive schedule with school, and will be entering her senior year this fall at Harvard where she studies government.
“I went into college with the mindset that I am focusing on school now, and that the riding would always be there,” explained Phillips. “When I am done, I plan to take at least a year or two and focus on riding. I have never been able to do that before.”
For the win, Phillips received $9,000 in prize money. In recognition of the countless hours of dedication and hard work that go into maintaining grand prix horses at the top level of the sport, Teirra’s groom, Milton Portilla, received a director’s chair and personalized jacket courtesy of Glenn Geary of Horse Watch.
The second of six weeks of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival gets underway Wednesday, July 14, beginning at 8 a.m. Located at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children Wednesday through Saturday. On Grand Prix Sunday, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children. All gate proceeds benefit Manchester Elementary-Middle School (MEMS).
Running July 7 through August 15, 2010, the Vermont Summer Festival offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state. The six-week Vermont Summer Festival culminates with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 15. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation
1. Addison Phillips Teirra 0:0 41.42
2. Laura Tobak Redemption 0:4 41.85
3. Judy Garofalo Torres Oliver 0:8 40.89
4. Devin Ryan No Worries 4
5. Patricia Griffith Man In Black 4
6. Jimmy Torano Topaz 4
7. Tori Corts Ultimo van ter Moude 4
8. Jimmy Torano Winsom 4
9. Danielle Stacy Golf 96 4
10. Geoffrey Case Veneziano-C 4
Photo: Addison Phillips and Teirra won the $$30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, on Sunday, July 11, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography