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Ireland's Darragh Kerins Takes Grand Prix Prize At Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show

DARIEN, CT—June 24, 2002—The sun came out to cap off the final day of the 73rd annual Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show in Darien, CT as Ireland’s Darragh Kerins beat a field of 28 entries in the $35,000 Ox Ridge Grand Prix.

Kerins, who helped Ireland to a third place finish in the Samsung Nations’ Cup in West Palm Beach, FL, in March, won the Ox Ridge Grand Prix aboard his Notre Dame, one of approximately 1300 horses competing during the five days of the Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show.

The Ox Ridge Grand Prix course, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio of Mount Kisco, NY, presented 13 fences that proved challenging to the field. After the first round, only 5 of 28 horses had fault-free rides.

McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, defending champion in the Ox Ridge Grand Prix, had two entries qualify for the jump-off and was first and second to go. Riding Galant, Ward had one knockdown, scoring 4 jumping faults with a time of 44.415 seconds. He came back on Alegro and had two knockdowns for 8 faults and a time of 46.034 seconds.

Next to go was Kerins on his Nations’ Cup mount, the 14-year-old Irishbred gelding, Notre Dame. Kerins rode fault-free with a time of 46.499 seconds to take the lead, pushing Ward and Galant to second place. Callan Solem, riding Allison, was next. She had 12 faults and a time of 48.078. Last to go was Canadian Olympic veteran Mario Deslauriers with Amica. One fence came down and his score of four faults and time of 46.247 seconds put him in third place behind Kerins and Ward.

After finishing second on Galant, Ward said, “Kerins has been knocking on my door the last couple of weeks! He deserved to win today.” When asked about the course, Ward said, “The footing was great but the fences were huge! It was a difficult course for this Grand Prix.”

The Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show began with Chris Kappler of Pittstown, NJ, piloting Stuart, owned by Amy Van Houten, to win the Reuters $1000 Preliminary Jumper Class. Kappler, named USET Athlete of the Month in February 2002 following his string of top-ranked rides during the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival in West Palm Beach, FL, topped the 21 entries in the jump-off, out of 55 competing in the class.

Finishing in second place was McLain Ward, riding his mount, Éclair. On day two, Ward rode Peter, owned by Ward and Harry Gill, to win the $1500 Brooks Community Newspaper Preliminary Jumper Class. Ward beat out 20 other entries to win the class, and also placed 4th on Flier, owned by Ward and Gill and 6th on his mount Acapulco. In the $4,000 North American League Speed Modified Jumper class, Laura Bowery rode Amande Du Chateau, owned by Mr & Mrs. Joseph Dimenna Equuleus Farms LLC, to the win.

On Friday’s third day of competition, Callan Solem riding Quiet Winter Farm’s Mianta won the $1500 High Preliminary Jumper Class, while Ward took second place on his Romeo. In the $5,000 Modified Jumper Class, Darragh Kerins gave a preview of his grand prix form, winning the class on Notre Dame.

Saturday saw McLain Ward ride Peter for another win, this time in the $5,000 CL Adams Futures Class. Ward also placed third with his mount Romeo, behind second place finisher Bowery on Amande Du Chateau.

Luke Tokaruk of Cookeville, TN, topped a field of 13 riding Grand Bleu in the BET/USET Show Jumping Talent Search class.

The Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show hosted four rings of action on Sunday, named champions in 33 divisions, presented a demonstration of freestyle dressage, and concluded with the Grand Prix.

Alexa Weeks rode her Amiral to win the $10,000 Amateur-Owner Junior Prix. Christine Goutal of New York, NY, won the USA Equestrian Pony Medal class riding Church Mouse. The pair also won the $2500 Howard Johnson Pony Classic. Tania Hack, New York, NY, rode Remmington to win the NEHC Hunt Seat Medal class. Luke Tokaruk and Grand Bleu topped the ASPCA Horsemanship Class and the Eisers & Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal. Eleanor Joseph of Bronx, NY, won the State Line Tack Children’s Medal class. Other medal class winners included: Kelly Cavanaugh, S. Glastonbury, CT, on Bravour for the Ariat National Adult Medal; Cira Pace, Bethel, CT, on Opportunity Knocks for the CHJA Adult Medal; Joya Sonnenfeldt of New York, NY, on Puccini for the CHJA Junior Medal. Jennifer Berol Bliss of Katonah, NY, rode Jolie to be named Best Child Horse Rider.

The Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show is one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious competitions, drawing more than 1300 horses from around the country. Exhibitors competed over classically beautiful hunter courses and technically challenging jumper courses on the park-like facility at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club. The Boutique Garden offered a shopping event for the entire family, with browsers hunting for gifts for the home, clothing, paintings, jewelry, horse furnishings, and other unique items.

Sponsors of the 2002 Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show included Beval LTD, Brooks Community Newspapers, C. L. Adams, Der Dau, Great Horse Designs, House of Needlepoint, Indo-Chic Imports, KOOL 96.7 FM, Lucky Lawn, Inc., Pharmacia Animal Health, Reuters, Scudder Private Investment Counsel and Watson Wyatt Worldwide.


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