Kevin McCarthy Dominates Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome at Vermont Summer Festival

Kevin McCarthy won the $10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake, presented by Armani Outlet, riding Easton on Thursday, July 18, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

East Dorset, Vermont – Ireland’s Kevin McCarthy dominated the $10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake, presented by Armani Outlet, with a one-two finish on Thursday, July 18, during the Vermont Summer Festival, running for six weeks through August 11 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.

With an Irish charm braided into his mount’s mane, luck was on McCarthy’s side as he piloted Easton to the victory from a starting field of 20 horses over the track set by course designer Manuel Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico. McCarthy also took the runner-up spot by jumping double clear aboard Catch A Star HSS.

Of the charm that provided him with just the right amount of luck, McCarthy noted, “My girlfriend, Keely O’Hara, turns my horses out so nicely, and without her I couldn’t do this. She likes to add those Irish charms to their manes, and today it worked!”

Easton is a new addition to McCarthy’s string. The horse was imported from Europe this year after previously competing in CSI2* competition.

“The last few times I showed him he had good results so we have been waiting for a win, and today was the day,” said McCarthy of his 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Contendro I. “He’s a lovely, scopey horse, and I think he has a very big future in the sport. He tries so hard, and he deserved that win today.”

When asked about Esparza’s courses, McCarthy continued by saying, “I don’t think I have ever ridden any of his tracks before, but he did a nice job today. There was an inside turn to an oxer in the jump-off that I didn’t do on my mare [Catch A Star HSS]. I knew whoever did that was going to win, so I went for it on the gelding, and that cut the time down.”

In addition to his share of the prize money, McCarthy was presented with a $1,000 gift card for the Armani Outlet from Manchester Designer Outlets, as well as a show scrim by Mona’s Monograms.

“This is the first time I have received gifts like this at any horse show,” said McCarthy, who also won a shopping spree at Vineyard Vines after a victory in the Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake during week two. “I look forward to my first time in an Armani store. When they ask how they can help, I look forward to saying that I have $1,000 to spend!”

McCarthy will return to his home base in Cazenovia, NY, next week to give his horses a well-deserved rest before competing in the final two weeks of the six-week Vermont Summer Festival. 

“Our time here has been fantastic,” he said. “The footing has been very good. We enjoy the atmosphere, but the competition standard is high in the ring. There is nothing easy about winning here.”

Also earning top-five ribbons, Donovan Ross of Westport, CT, finished third on a double-clear performance riding Jasper III for owner Halo Capital. In two weeks, Ross will make her debut representing Zone 1 at the Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships, presented by Gotham North, at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. Canada’s Alexanne Thibault took fourth with one rail in the jump-off aboard Chacco Prime, while David Tromp of Morriston, FL, rounded out the top five – also with four faults – riding Calais Z.

Coming up during the weekend at the Vermont Summer Festival is the $30,000 Otter Creek Special Grand Prix, presented by Purina Horse Feed, on Saturday, July 20, beginning at 1 p.m. The Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake Series continues on Thursday, July 23, with another edition presented by Polo Ralph Lauren.

Now in its 26th year, the Vermont Summer Festival offers a dynamic competition schedule while also giving competitors an opportunity to enjoy the wide variety of entertainment, recreation, shopping, and dining options offered in Dorset, Manchester, and the surrounding area. A recent study conducted by the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont cited that the total direct spending of visitors frequenting Vermont for equine-related activities is estimated at nearly $15.5 million annually.

Competition at the 2019 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults and children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children with 100 percent of all gate proceeds benefiting Dorset Equine Rescue, The Dorset School, and Manchester Community Library.

The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com. Like Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show on Facebook and follow @vtsummerfestival on Instagram.