Thoroughbreds Thrive at Vermont Summer Festival

August 9, 2016 - East Dorset, Vermont

Patricia Hurter and Nine Links were named the TAKE2 Thoroughbred Jumper Division champions during week five at the Vermont Summer Festival.
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Kristina Watkins and Celtic Sun God were champions in the TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter Division during week five at the Vermont Summer Festival.
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Patricia Hurter of Harvard, MA, was crowned champion of the $1,400 TAKE2 Thoroughbred Jumper Division during week five of the Vermont Summer Festival, continuing a season of success and popularity for the TAKE2 Thoroughbred divisions. The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks, from July 5 through August 14, at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.

The TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program is committed to promoting and developing second careers for racehorses once they have retired from the track. Launched in 2012 by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA), in collaboration with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. (NYTB), TAKE2 funds prize money and awards in hunter and jumper classes restricted to Thoroughbreds that are eligible to be registered with The Jockey Club.

Hurter and her own Nine Links, a seven-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, won two of their 1.0m classes at the Vermont Summer Festival and were second in another to take champion in the TAKE2 Thoroughbred jumper division.

“He was super,” said Hurter of the mount she has owned for two years. “He marched around clean and fast, and was awesome. Everything comes up quickly with him because he is so fast, but he is also very careful.”

Hurter found Nine Links at a farm in Virginia that took roughly 50 horses off the track and re-homed them as eventers and show jumpers. With seven starts in his racing career, Nine Links did not produce a single top-three finish.

“He came off the track as a four-year-old and didn't have success as a race horse, but he loves to jump,” said Hurter. “His first owners knew he was destined for higher jumps and started him as a show jumper.”

Hurter owns three Off The Track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) and has participated in multiple TAKE2 Thoroughbred classes at events throughout the Northeast. She appreciates the program for what it does for the breed she loves.

“It is an opportunity to bring more Thoroughbreds back into jumping and give them a division where they can win some money and support each other,” she said. “It also helps to raise the visibility that this breed can do really well as jumpers.”

In TAKE2 hunter competition during week five, Kristina Watkins of Harvard, MA, accepted the championship ribbon in the $500 TAKE2 Thoroughbred Hunter Division aboard Celtic Sun God, a nine-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Firefly Farm. Watkins and Celtic Sun God were first, second, third, and fifth over fences before winning the under saddle to give them top honors in the TAKE2 Thoroughbred hunter division.

In addition to the Vermont Summer Festival, TAKE2 events are offered at more than 50 horse shows in 10 of the 12 USEF zones across 18 states. Members of the TAKE2 Thoroughbred League have an opportunity to win a total of $30,000 in year-end awards. The 2016 TAKE2 high-point hunter and jumper awards will be presented at the Capital Challenge Horse Show held October 1-9, 2016, in Upper Marlboro, MD.

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 will kick off on Wednesday, August 10 and conclude 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.