Thursday, July 26, 2012

Darragh Kenny and Tonic Triumph in $10,000 Welcome Stake in Vermont

Darragh Kenny and Tonic triumphed in the $10,000 Kenneth Cole Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 26, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.Photo by David Mullinix Photography

 East Dorset, Vermont – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Tonic jumped to victory in the $10,000 Kenneth Cole Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 26 at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  The six-week Vermont Summer Festival is running at Harold Beebe Farm from July 4 through August 12, 2012.

In a nine-horse jump-off, Kenny and Tonic beat out Georgina Bloomberg and Radio City and Mark Leone and Pleasure de Riverland, who finished second and third respectively.

Ken Krome is the course designer in the grand prix ring for week four’s Valley Classic competition at the Vermont Summer Festival, and had the task of setting the course for Thursday’s $10,000 Kenneth Cole Welcome Stake.  With 24 entries, nine horses jumped clear to advance to the jump-off, with three again jumping clear.

Mark Leone, of Franklin Lakes, NJ, and Ri Arm Farm’s Pleasure De Riverland were the first pair to clear the course and jumped off in 40.01 seconds to eventually finish third.  Several rounds later, New York City’s Georgina Bloomberg and Radio City, owned by Gotham Enterprizes LLC, also jumped double clear and were quicker in a time of 37.02 seconds to place second.  Darragh Kenny and Tonic were the final duo to jump double clear, stopping the clock in 36.44 seconds for the win.  Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Wayne R, owned by Palm Meadow Farm LLC, had the fastest time in the jump-off with 35.86 seconds, but a rail down left Torano fourth overall in the final standings.

The winning horse, Tonic, is an eight-year-old Hungarian Warmblood gelding by Timorrak Des Isles, owned by Rachael Barnes.  Kenny is riding Tonic this week to prepare him for Barnes, who will show the gelding in the Junior Jumper division next week.

Kenny explained, “Rachael is just getting used to the horse and he is young, so she wanted me to show him a little bit.  He seems really special.  He is careful and scopey and easy.  I am really glad that they let me ride him today; he was excellent.”

Kenny had a total of four horses entered in the $10,000 Kenneth Cole Welcome Stake, and also earned the sixth and eighth place prizes.  He commented on the course, stating, “I thought it was a really good course for everybody.  I think Ken built a great course.  It looked and walked a little bit easier than it actually jumped.  The jump-off was great; it had a couple of catchy situations in it.”

Kenny rides for Missy Clark and John Brennan at North Run, which is based less than two hours from the competition grounds in Warren, VT.  He enjoys the opportunity to show so close to home in the beautiful environment at Harold Beebe Farm.

“It is a great show and it is run really well,” Kenny said.  “I am lucky that I get so many horses to show in these classes.  Thanks to Missy and John and the owners of the horses that let me show them.  It is a competitive show for us and we like to come and do well here.  It is kind of like home away from home for us being in Vermont.  We go home on Sunday evening and come back on Tuesday.  We get to spend some time at home and spend some time here.  They do the best that they can and when you have people who run a show who try so hard, it makes a huge difference to the exhibitors, to the owners, to everybody.”

Georgina Bloomberg finished second to Kenny in Thursday’s competition and was pleased with her ride on Radio City.

“I was really happy with my round,” she smiled.  “It was a little smaller than last week, so I knew that speed was going to come into play a little bit more in the jump-off, but I was happy with my horse.”

“I just really started back showing,” Bloomberg noted.  “Last week was actually my first grand prix back in a year because I had back surgery, so I am a little timid, especially going fast.  I am not going as fast as I would like to, or maybe need to, to win the classes, but I was really happy with it and I thought the course was a nice introduction to the week.”

Bloomberg showed in Vermont as a teenager when the festival was in a different location and was excited to return to the competition this year.

“We have been in Europe for a few summers and then I had a summer where I didn’t really have any horses, so this is the first summer where it worked out,” Bloomberg explained.  “I was in America and had a few horses that I wanted to be able to show in some nice grand prix events.  We heard great things about the show and I have absolutely loved it.  Not only is the setting great and the area, but the show itself has been really nice and we have just really enjoyed being here.  It is nice to be at a show where you can actually enjoy it as well as enjoy what you are doing in the ring.”

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.

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: or visit
PRESS RELEASE: Starting Gate Communications

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