Manuel Torres of Leesburg, VA, and Anabella had the speed to win the $10,000 NYDJ Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 30, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks at Harold Beebe Farm from June 30 through August 9.
Thursday's immediate jump-off class welcomed 25 entries over tracks built by Gerry Briggs (USA). The fifth week of competition in Vermont offered solid competition with nine double-clear performances.
From the first position in the order, Julie Welles of Wellington, FL, set an early pace of 38.24 seconds in the jump-off with Twan, owned by Missy Clark and Stephex Stables. She and Twan – one of four entries for Welles – sat in the lead for eleven rounds. Ian Silitch of Ocala, FL, and Cordovo, owned by Gaston Family Investments, LLC, were hoping for two Welcome Stake wins in a row when they entered the ring on Thursday. Well on their way, they crossed the timers clear in 38.08 seconds to steal the lead.
With only four horses remaining in the class, including a final ride for Welles, Torres and Anabella, owned by Santa Catalina Farm, took a chance on the win.
“You never know if you've done enough with riders like Julie coming behind you because they are very fast,” said Torres. “I took a shot between the first and second jump and left a stride out. I thought that was the only thing I could do to beat Ian at that point.”
The absence of a single stride was enough to give Torres the edge and post a time of 37.49 seconds for the top spot.
One of the final three competitors, Alexa Lowe-Wiseman of Wellington, FL, and Gringo, owned by Windsor Farm Sales, were the closest challengers. Their 37.85-second time landed them second-place honors, while Silitch and Cordovo settled for third. Welles was fourth aboard Virginia W Z for North Run and Yves Houtackers, in 38.20 seconds and rounded out the top five with Twan.
Anabella, a 12-year-old Swedish-bred mare, is affectionately called Bella around Santa Catalina Farm and is the ride of Torres after advancing from the Amateur ranks.
“We imported her two years ago and my daughter rode her in Amateur classes last year, but we wanted to move her up and I didn’t have an Open Jumper horse, so I took over the ride,” said Torres. “This is her third win after only moving up to the grand prix level this year – she's a fantastic horse.”
Torres is at the Vermont Summer Festival for the remaining two weeks of the circuit and will pilot Anabella in Saturday's $30,000 Manchester & the Mountains Grand Prix before hopefully setting their sights on the $50,000 finale on August 8.
“She's a very uncomplicated ride,” added Torres. “You don't feel huge scope, but she always tries to leave the jumps up and that is what's important.”
In addition to their share of the prize money, the top two finishers were presented with awards from Manchester Designer Outlets in Manchester, VT. Torres claimed a $1,000 gift card from NYDJ, while Lowe-Wiseman was awarded $100 to Polo Ralph Lauren for second-place honors.
Competition at the 2015 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults, $5 for children. 100% of the gate proceeds benefit the Manchester Community Library and Dorset Equine Rescue.
The Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition, and the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont. It is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For over 20 years, the event has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont for great competition in an ideal summer setting.
Please e-mail or visit the website for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.
$10,000 NYDJ Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Manuel Torres Leesburg, VA Anabella 0:0 37.49
2. Alexa Lowe-Wiseman Wellington, FL Gringo 0:0 37.85
3. Ian Silitch Ocala, FL Cordovo 0:0 38.08
4. Julie Welles Wellington, FL Virginia W Z 0:0 38.20
5. Julie Welles Wellington, FL Twan 0:0 38.24
6. Katherine Newman Wellington, FL Mill Understood II 0:0 38.69
7. Theodore Demetriou Huntington, NY Conntador 0:0 42.13
8. Tommy Feigel Pompano Beach, FL Analyze This 0:0 42.57
9. Jonathan Corrigan Southampton, NY Aries 0:0 42.96
10. Julie Welles Wellington, FL Billy Balou 0:2 45.00