East Dorset, Vermont – Cynthia McGrath of Hummelstown, PA, won the $10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake on Thursday, August 9, during the final week of the Vermont Summer Festival, which continues through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
The Thursday featured class saw five entries advance to jump off over the Kenny Krome-designed short course, with Lincoln Russell of Columbus, NC, setting the early time to beat at 48.47 seconds with Gaverdi Z, owned by Juan Ortiz.
Just two riders later, Ashley Foster of Brookeville, MD, made short work of Russell’s time. Following double clear jumping efforts in both the $10,000 Vineyard Vines Welcome Stake and the $30,000 Manchester & The Mountains Grand Prix during week five, Foster and Deliante M, owned by Rolling Acres, delivered a repeat performance for week six, tripping the timers in 41.14 seconds to take over the lead.
It was only McGrath and her mount Caruso, owned by Wynnwood Farm, LLC, who would topple Foster’s time, crossing the finish line in 39.82 seconds to take the win, relegating Foster to second and giving Russell the third-place honors.
“I walked the course and immediately loved it for Caruso,” said McGrath. “It was a great course for him because you could have a big open step and still make some nice turns; it was his type of jump-off. He just knew the drill. Sometimes he’s not focused and wants to play. He was so focused out there today.”
McGrath, who is trained by her husband and Thursday’s fifth-place finisher, Richard McGrath, only recently made the move up to the grand prix level with Caruso after competing the 11-year-old gelding successfully in the amateur-owner jumpers.
“I’ve been bouncing back and forth between the amateurs and the grand prix,” explained Cynthia. “This circuit in Vermont, I’ve been focusing on the grand prix. It’s been a pretty smooth transition because we did some of the bigger amateur classes. It’s really just me getting through my nerves and getting a little more rideability with him.”
For the win with Caruso on Thursday, Cynthia was presented with a $1,000 gift card to the Manchester Designer Outlets, in addition to her share of the prize money. As the second-place finisher, Foster was also presented with a $250 gift card to J. Crew.
“I’m so excited to go shopping!” said Cynthia, who has been attending the Vermont Summer Festival for nearly 20 years. “It’s so great that the whole town gets behind this. We love coming here. The staff has just been so accommodating and so wonderful. It’s amazing that after six weeks, everyone is still so gracious and so easy to work with. Everybody just works together. It’s just such a nice feeling!
“I’ll you what as well, the footing has been spectacular this year,” continued Cynthia. “It’s been great; my horses love it. The first week that I was here, I felt like I was riding on a cloud. The horses felt amazing.”
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 with more than $750,000 in prize money. The event is also a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont’s shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2018 Vermont Summer Festival concludes on Sunday, August 12, and begins 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 and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting The Dorset School, Manchester Community Library, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
$10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake Thursday, August 9, 2018
Rider/ Hometown/ Horse/ Faults/Time
1. Cynthia McGrath/ Hummelstown, PA/ Caruso/ 0/0/39.825
2. Ashley Foster/ Brookeville, MD/ Deliante M/ 0/0/41.140
3. Lincoln Russell/ Columbus, NC/ Gaverdi Z/ 0/0/48.477
4. Linda Sheridan/ Frenchtown, NJ/ Vantina HPF/ 0/4/40.164
5. Richard McGrath/ Hummelstown, PA/ Dundee/ 0/4/45.366
6. Melissandre Lincourt/ Montreal, QC/ Kastaro van het Eelshof/ 4
7. Audrey Robison/ Oriskany Falls, NY/ Gorky/ 4
8. Donovan Ross/ Westport, CT/ Jasper III/ 4
9. Amanda Strain/ Deep River, CT/ Casino Royale/ 4
10. Elizabeth Stroh/ Grosse Point Farms, FL/ Coralina/ 4
11. Audrey Robison/ Oriskany Falls, NY/ Freule B/ 4
12. Cory Hardy/ Littleton, MA/ De Grande/ 4