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Alan Korotkin and Rocketman Win $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix Sponsored by Hand Motors at the 2006 Vermont Summer Festival
East Dorset, Vermont – July 16, 2006 – Alan Korotkin of Wellington, Florida, topped a field of 31 horses to claim victory in the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, Sponsored by Hand Motors, in East Dorset, Vermont, on Sunday, July 16. The finale show jumping class wrapped up Week 1, the ‘Manchester Summer Festival’ (July 12-16), of the five-week Vermont Summer Festival. Show jumping action continues next week with the Manchester Classic Horse Show (July 19-23).
“It felt great,” Korotkin said of his win. “I’ve worked hard with this horse for a long time and I always knew he could win one, he just hadn’t done it yet. It felt really good.”
Korotkin has had the 12-year-old gray Dutch Warmblood owned by Julie Aitken since he was foaled and has been Rocketman’s sole rider and trainer. Korotkin has been showing Rocketman in the Grand Prix for five years. “He’s gotten about 50 ribbons but he’s never won one before. This is his first win!” Korotkin beamed.
Korotkin was one of only two riders to put in a double-clear performance, clearing both the first round and the jump-off course to earn $9,000 in first place prize money for Rocketman’s owner. Canada’s Olympic veteran Beth Underhill aboard Magdaline also went double-clear, but was just fractions of a second slower in the jump-off and had to settle for second place. Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, rode five horses in the class and qualified three for the jump-off. He posted faster times than Korotkin and Underhill with all three of them, but had the heartbreaking last rail down with each horse, and had to settle for third, fourth, and fifth place with Ralvesther, Vancouver, and Ormsby Hill respectively.
Grand Prix course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, New York, set a 13-fence Round One track, which included a double and a triple combination, for16 jumping efforts in time allowed of 84 seconds. Prior to the action, D’Ambrosio explained his overall thinking in building this course, saying “I’m making the consideration that we’re in the first week, so I’m going to give them a nice start to the five weeks of showing in the sense that I’m not going to demand too much from them in terms of sheer scope and power.” D’Ambrosio also pointed out that the Vermont Summer Festival hosts many young riders moving up as well as young horses with riders expecting a good experience for them. “This course should make them better at the end of the day,” D’Ambrosio said.
Of the 31 starters, only nine horses managed clean trips over the Round One course and qualified for the tiebreaker. “I thought it was a very solid course that evened out everywhere,” Korotkin said of the track. “Anthony D’Ambrosio put some tough problems out there, but there was no one hard thing. The whole course took its toll. The length, the size, and the heat of the day just limited the amount of entries that made it to the jump-off.” Vermont’s summer heat soared to the mid-90s today.
For the Jump-Off, D’Ambrosio set a course of seven jumps, including one double, for eight jumping efforts in 47 seconds. Riders started off over the triple bar, and then had several opportunities to shave time. In the gallop from Fence 5 to 6, riders could leave out a stride, and at the rollback going to the double at 7AB, riders had the choice of going around an island or cutting inside. D’Ambrosio gave the horses a nice sprint to the final jump, Fence 11, a five-foot vertical and the tallest jump on the course.
Underhill of Schomberg, Ontario, and her mare Magdaline were first to attempt the short course and set the pace with a clear trip in 38.871 seconds. The next six riders chased Underhill, and four of them caught her time, but none went clear, leaving her in second place.
Next on the roster, 22-year-old Meghan Moran riding her Quarnak De Longpre had eight faults in 48.148 to finish ninth. Keri Potter Pessoa of Wellington, Florida, aboard her Rockford I had four faults in 40.433 to end up eighth. Torano then blazed around the course in the fastest time of the day with Ralvesther, a Dutch mare owned by SCNC Investments, Inc., but had Fence 11 down and had to settle for third. Amy Momrow of New York riding Summer Storm for owner Shaine Brooks was also faster than Underhill, but had four faults in 37.988 and placed sixth.
Torano came back with his second horse, Vancouver, an eight-year-old Belgian stallion owned by Sir Ruly, Inc., and put in a speedy trip, once again catching the leader’s time, but once again had the last rail down to finish with four faults in 37.462 seconds, which was good enough for fourth place. Stella Manship riding her own Celeste rocketed around the course in 38.678, but also had the last rail down for a four-fault finish in 38.678, earning seventh place.
Next in the order, Korotkin and Rocketman, a spectacular 12-year-old gray Dutch Warmblood by Ramley galloped the course fault-free in 38.714 seconds to take over the lead. But Torano had one more horse to challenge the leader, and he did. Aboard Ormsby Hill owned by Torano/Sir Ruly Inc., Torano had the faster time, 37.708 seconds, but once again had the last rail down and had to settle for fifth place.
“The jump-off was great,” said Korotkin. “I had a bunch to watch before I went in. My good friend Jimmy Torano had gone in on a few and we talked about it. We kept thinking the last jump was the bogey jump. Only one horse had jumped it clean, so that was the one we had to really worry about.”
All of the riders had attempted Fence 11 in 10 strides, which was Korotkin’s plan as well. “I went as fast as I could. As I was coming up to it, I thought about taking out a stride, but instead I held up and went to make sure he jumped it clean. I knew if he jumped it clean he’d be up there [in the placings]."
With all three of his mounts jumping the tiebreaker faster than the winner – his fastest horse, Ralvesther nearly three seconds quicker than Rocketman – Torano said he had “no excuses” for having the final fence down with all three. He rode it in 10 strides with both Ralvesther and Ormsby Hill, and nine with Vancouver who was jumping extremely well. “Today it just didn’t happen for me,” Torano said, noting that though he wanted to win, he also wanted his good friend Korotkin to notch his first win with Rocketman as well. “Either way was nice,” grinned Torano. “If I would have won it, that would have been great, but I’m really happy for Alan.”
The exciting jump-off held the attention of the appreciative crowd in the VIP tent and two full bleachers today who offered their appreciation in applause and cheers – as well as the traditional ‘spectator groan’ for a last fence down - for each of today’s jump-off riders.
Show Jumping Hall of Fame
During the first three weeks of the five-week long 2006 Vermont Summer Festival, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Series is split into two divisions, one for juniors and one for amateur-owners, each with their own purse of $10,000 in prize money. This generous offer of 'double prize money' is compliments of the Nutraceutical International Corporation. For the final two weeks of the Vermont Summer Festival, the junior and amateur-owner competitors will compete together in one class.
Highlighting Show Jumping Hall of Fame action in the Grand Prix ring today, Julie Welles riding Lojana owned by Danielle Torano won the $10,000 Junior Jumper Classic. Summer Gay aboard Contino captured the $10,000 Amateur/Owner Jumper Classic.
North American League
In North American League (NAL) show jumping action at the Vermont Summer Festival this week, Caroline Albright riding Fortunate for owner Krystal Roe won the $500 NAL/WIHS (Washington International Horse Show) Children’s Hunter Classic. Lissa Bachner riding her own Maddox placed first in the $500 NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Classic. Kimmy McCormack aboard her own Ciara took the top slot in the $1,500 NAL /WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic. Benjamin Simpkins and his Lorano claimed victory in the $2,500 NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Classic.
Featuring more than $600,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival includes a $10,000 Mini Prix each Friday, and, for the first four weeks of competition, a $30,000 Sunday Grand Prix. The 2006 Vermont Summer Festival closes with the grand finale, the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 13. The Vermont Summer Festival is also 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 2006 Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com. For full show results, visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.