East Dorset, Vermont – For the second year in a row, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny was the winner of the $10,000 Open Jumper High Score Awards, presented by Sir Ruly, Inc. at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Held July 4 through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm, the Vermont Summer Festival has completed six weeks of competition in which riders vied for the coveted bonus.
Kenny finished the circuit with 200 points to win the $5,000 first place bonus for the second consecutive year. Kenny also won the award in 2009 and placed third in 2010.
Ken Berkley of Flemington, NJ, earned the $3,000 second place prize with a 182 point total. Devin Ryan of Long Valley, NJ, took home a $2,000 bonus for third place with 98 points. Ryan had finished second in the standings in 2011.
Riders earn points toward the awards by placing in the top eight of the Open Jumper 1.40m and the Open Jumper Welcome Stake classes throughout the six-week circuit. In the Saturday grand prix events, points are awarded to the top 12 finishers.
The $10,000 Open Jumper High Score Awards, presented by Sir Ruly, Inc., now serves as a legacy and reminder of Raul ‘Ruly’ Torano’s generosity and commitment to show jumping excellence, both at the Vermont Summer Festival and to the sport as a whole. The bonus serves as a great incentive for the riders each year and recognizes their effort in the sport. A total of $10,000 is divided among the top three riders overall, with the winner receiving $5,000, the second place finisher taking home $3,000, and the third place rider earning $2,000.
“It is a fantastic thing that the Torano Family put up this bonus here because it is a great thing for us riders at the end of the circuit,” Kenny said. “It is so nice and I would like to thank them very much for putting it up.”
Kenny raked in the points during his four weeks at the show riding for John Brennan and Missy Clark’s North Run, which is based in Warren, VT. During week two, he rode North Star’s Cyrina Z to a third place finish in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m, finished eighth in the $10,000 Five Seasons Welcome Stake riding The Wannahave Group’s Lipton De L’othain, and earned the eleventh place prize in the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix aboard Mavis Spencer’s Valentino.
In week four, Kenny won the $10,000 Kenneth Cole Welcome Stake riding Rachael Barnes’ Tonic and also finished sixth with Missy Clark’s Eskador Star and eighth with Spencer’s Valentino. Kenny also won the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m that week riding Eskador Star and placed fifth with Missy Clark/North Run’s Bazooka De Muze. In the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, Kenny finished second aboard Tonic, third aboard Valentino, and ninth aboard Bazooka De Muze.
Week five was a busy one for Kenny. He earned another win in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m with Lipton De L’othain and finished second riding Bazooka De Muze, fifth with Valentino, and sixth riding Missy Clark/North Run’s Con Air. The $10,000 Vineyard Vines Welcome Stake earned Kenny more points after he finished second riding Lipton De L’othain and eighth aboard Bazooka De Muze. In the $30,000 Manchester & The Mountains Grand Prix, Lipton De L’othain placed tenth and Valentino finished twelfth.
Kenny took over the lead in the standings during week six with more top finishes. He rode North Star’s Umberto to sixth place and Cyrina Z to a seventh place finish in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m for the week. He guided Paulexi LLC’s Quastor Van De Helle Z to a seventh place prize in the $10,000 Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Welcome Stake. He also finished second aboard Lipton De L’othain and ninth riding Valentino in the final $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix.
On winning the award, Kenny commented, “It is great. It is a fantastic bonus for me as a rider. It just shows the consistency of the horses that we have in our barn, that I can manage to win this two years in a row on a whole different set of horses this year than last year. I am very lucky to have such great horses and so many of them.
“Thanks to John and Missy for managing to do that for me,” Kenny acknowledged. “I am so lucky. I have great people behind me. Missy and John do a fantastic job and they have helped me so much. They put together a group to buy horses. My two most experienced grand prix horses are not even here and I still had four great horses to do the grand prix on this week, which is really nice. They have done a wonderful job on the horses and on my riding. Basically it is thanks to them for everything they have done because that is how I have ended up with so many horses in these classes and can win these rider bonuses.”
Ken Berkley led the standings up until week five of the six-week circuit and finished a close second to Kenny. Berkley only showed during weeks two and three, but enjoyed great success during those weeks to earn enough points to remain at the top of the standings until the very last week of competition.
Berkley kicked off week two with a win aboard Waminka in the $10,000 Five Seasons Open Welcome Stake and took third place in the class aboard Dione de la Vie. He then captured a one-two finish in the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix riding Waminka and Ax-Cent.
During week three, Berkley and Waminka topped the $10,000 Vermont Bird Place & Sky Watch Open Welcome Stake. Berkley also finished third aboard Ax-Cent and sixth with Dione de la Vie. Ax-Cent then won the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m class in both weeks two and three. All three of Berkley’s horses are owned by Rivers Edge, which Berkley operates with partner Scott Stewart.
Devin Ryan earned the third place bonus with multiple top finishes during week three and four. Ryan won week three’s $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix aboard No Worries, owned by Barbara Rowland, and also finished fourth riding Calissandro, owned in partnership with Barbara Drake. Ryan and Calissandro also finished second in week three’s Welcome Stake. Ryan then went on to win the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix during week four riding his own horse Roman Saluut.
The Vermont Sumer Festival is set to return to Harold Beebe Farm in 2013, running from July 2 through August 11. 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. For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont. 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: email@example.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$10,000 Open Jumper High Score Awards, Sponsored by Sir Ruly, Inc.
1. Darragh Kenny – 200
2. Ken Berkley – 182
3. Devin Ryan – 98