East Dorset, Vermont – Kenneth Berkley of Flemington, NJ, captured victory in the $10,000 Five Seasons Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 12, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The six-week equestrian competition is running at Harold Beebe Farm from July 4 through August 12, 2012.
Thirteen members of the 25-horse starting field jumped clear over the first round track set by popular Canadian course designer Chris Brandt. Those competitors then immediately contested the shortened jump-off track.
Berkley took the win aboard Waminka, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Rivers Edge, which Berkley runs with partner Scott Stewart. He has been riding the mare for the past three seasons.
“She was super in today’s class,” said Berkley. “Coming off of jumping last week at Lake Placid where the ground is a little uneven and coming here where the field is level and the footing is excellent, she was on top of her game. I hope she does just as well in Saturday’s grand prix.”
Berkley and Waminka put in the fastest of the seven double clear performances, stopping the jump-off clock in 37.39 seconds. Charlotte Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, finished second aboard Promised Land, an 18-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables, with a time of 38.56 seconds.
Berkley also captured third place riding Dione de la Vie, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Rivers Edge. The pair were second to go in the class, and had the first double clear performance of the day, stopping the timers in 40.59 seconds.
“I just got her three months ago,” said Berkley. “I don’t know her all that well yet, but she jumped super today, especially going so early in the class when I wasn’t as familiar with the course. I’m planning on trying her in the grand prix, which will be my first with her.”
Berkley and Dione de la Vie finished second in the $5,000 Open Jumper on Wednesday, July 11, a class Berkley won riding another of his horses, Ax-Cent.
Rounding out the top four in the $10,000 Five Seasons Open Welcome Stake was Berkley’s student, Alexandra Crown of New York, NY. Crown finished fourth with a time of 42.20 seconds riding her 13-year-old gelding, KN Nemo.
“She was my hero today,” Berkley said of his student. “Today was her 17th birthday and she was just absolutely amazing. It was only her second big class and she just blew me away.”
In addition to taking home a $3,000 check for his win, Berkley also received a $1,000 gift certificate courtesy of Five Seasons.
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 Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix. The $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held during the sixth and final week on Saturday, August 11. The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, are now held each Thursday.
The hugely popular $5,000 3’3″ Hunter Derby is also held each Thursday for the first five weeks. Based on the tremendous success of the hunter derbies during their inaugural year in 2011, Vermont Summer Festival show organizers have added a $15,000 Hunter Derby for week six, sponsored by Vermont-based equestrian luggage manufacturer, Oughton Limited.
Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$10,000 Five Seasons Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
Rider Horse Faults Time
1. Kenneth Berkley Waminka 0:0 37.396
2. Charlotte Jacobs Promised Land 0:0 38.566
3. Kenneth Berkley Dione de la Vie 0:0 40.590
4. Alexandra Crown KN Nemo 0:0 42.207
5. Catherine Tyree Wetter 0:0 42.679
6. Bryn Sadler Cincinnati 0:0 43.464
7. Theodore Demetriou Pelham Bay 0:0 43.692
8. Darragh Kenny Lipton de L’othain 0:4 36.107