Alexandra Pielet, 14, of Highland Park, IL, and Helene VE won the $10,000 Theory Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, August 11, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks at Harold Beebe Farm from July 5 through August 14.
Gerry Briggs of Smyrna, TN, is setting the tracks for the final week at the Vermont Summer Festival and saw six horses advance to his short course during Thursday's Welcome. Of the six, only two riders produced double-clear performances.
Michael Hughes of Morristown, NJ, piloted Sans Soucis Z, owned by Caroline Lloyd, to the first clean effort of the day in the immediate jump-off class stopping the clock in 34.21 seconds. It was 18 trips later that Pielet exited the ring double clear in 33.37 seconds for the win aboard Helene VE for Co-Pielet, LLC.
Just behind the top two, Ireland's Cormac Hanley and his own Captain Caruso had the fastest four-fault jump-off round in 35.32 seconds for third. The winner from the previous week's welcome stake, Catherine Tyree of Chicago, IL, and Corleone, owned by Mary and Joseph Tyree, were fourth on four faults in 36.05 seconds. Amy Momrow of Wellington, FL, and Baldino du'Rouet capped the top five with four faults in 37 seconds for owner Monty Kelly.
After a high five from trainer Valerie Renihan of Findley's Ridge, Pielet was all smiles when she commented, “I was one of the youngest in the class and it was one of the biggest courses I have have ever jumped, so I didn't have high expectations. To win against professionals and older riders is an incredible feeling.”
Pielet, who made the move to train under Renihan over the winter season finished second in the week five welcome stake in Vermont, which was also her first class at that height. On Thursday, she waited in the schooling ring for the final three trips of the class before celebrating.
“I was hoping I would be in the top three because [Helene VE] jumped so well,” said Pielet. “Riding at Findley's Ridge has been so great and I am really excited for what's to come. My goals are to qualify for indoors and Prix des States this year.
“Val told me to come off the right lead to the first jump and I think I was one of the only riders to do that,” continued Pielet. “Because I jumped it on an angle I was able to spin back and it really helped me.”
Pielet got the ride on Helene VE, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Diamant de Semilly, a little more than a year ago and the pair started in the children's jumper division before moving their way up the ranks and finding themselves in the grand prix ring at the Vermont Summer Festival.
“I love that she is a little spicy,” said Pielet of the bay mare. “I was happy with how she jumped and how quiet she was today. The time allowed was a little tight, but she covers the ground fast so it turned out to be her kind of ride.”
In addition to her share of the prize money and a commemorative scrim from Mona's Monograms, Pielet was presented with a $500 gift card to the Theory outlet store in Manchester, VT, by Store Manager Gretchen Lunderville, as well as a $500 gift card to Manchester Designer Outlets.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont for great competition in an ideal summer setting. Outside the show ring, exhibitors enjoy the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
The final week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival continues with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Saturday, August 13 and concludes on Sunday, August 14. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday beginning at 8 a.m. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting the Manchester Community Library, Dorset Equine Rescue, and Meals on Wheels.
Please e-mail or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.
$10,000 Theory Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets - Thursday, August 11, 2016
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Alexandra Pielet Highland Park, IL Helene VE 0:0 33.37
2. Michael Hughes Morristown, NJ Sans Soucis Z 0:0 34.21
3. Cormac Hanley IRL Captain Caruso 0:4 35.32
4. Catherine Tyree Chicago, IL Corleone 0:4 36.05
5. Amy Momrow Wellington, FL Baldino du'Rouet 0:4 37.00
6. Sam Walker CAN Acardi du Huissoit Z 0:Elim.
7. Chloe Field Jupiter, FL Coriano Zwartepannenhof 3 87.47
8. Cormac Hanley IRL Twan 3 87.81
9. Kristy Herrera Wellington, FL Cordaba AG Z 4 80.48
10. Jimmy Torano Wellington, FL Callas III 4 81.79