Kent Farrington and Madison Win the $75,000 Fidelity Investments AGA Grand Prix
Hamilton, MA – September 10, 2006 – Spectacular autumn weather welcomed guests to the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic, held on the Coldwell Banker Previews Field. $75,000 in prize money was on the line for the international group of equestrians competing over courses designed by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England.
“We are expecting 9,000 spectators, which is a 15% uptake from last year,” said Jeffrey Papows, the show’s Chairman. “Sponsorships are up across the board, and everyone has returned from last year. In addition to some new faces, our staple sponsors, Fidelity and The World, have increased their monetary sponsorship, and this is a direct benefit to the riders. The quality of athletes has always been a steady standard of the event,” he explained.
“Kent Farrington is new this year, but Chris Kappler, Nona Garson, and Candace King have all participated in the past. International superstars like Kevin Babington from Ireland are equally special additions. The numbers of riders and horses are up 10% from past years, so we have limited the number of entries to keep quality standard high for participants and spectators,” Papows added. “The length of the days can be kept civilized because we do not need to rely on entry fees to survive as an event; corporate participation allows us this luxury.”
Papows complimented the riders that participate in the $75,000 Fidelity Investments AGA Grand Prix. “They continue to amaze me with their support and patience,” he boasted. “As usual, they have been gracious to the children and the community. We expect them to perform physically, but their gracious attitude seperates our fabulous sport from others.”
The featured event of the week was the $75,000 Fidelity Investments AGA Grand Prix, following the $7,500 Mohegan Sun Speed Stake. Thirty five of the world’s best equestrians came out to try their hand at grand prize awarded to the winner of $15,550.
Darlene Sandlin, riding her mare Holiday, started the $7,500 Mohegan Sun Speed Class off to a racing pace as she cleared the obstacles fault free in 56.266 seconds. Everyone to follow would have to chase her greyhound land speed. Rider after rider attempted to catch her to no avail, until Leslie Howard aboard Raimond W whizzed around in 55.676 seconds and took over the lead. Howard’s time on top was short lived as Kent Farrington went two trips later on Woica in an unbelievably fast 53.902 seconds. The final five riders that followed did not even come close to passing his aggressive time.
“My mare is seven, and I have owned her since she was four,” Farrington beamed. “I have just started to test her over some larger tracks. Richard does a great job with the courses here, and it is fun to compete in front of an enthusiastic crowd,” he added.
Results $7,500 Mohegan Sun Speed Stake, Level 7, Table III
1. WOICA - KENT FARRINGTON – 0.00 - 53.902
2. RAIMOND W - LESLIE BURR HOWARD – 0.00 - 55.676
3. ZORRO'S PRECISIO - DARREN GRAZIANO – 0.00 - 56.247
4. HOLIDAY - DARLENE SANDLIN – 0.00 - 56.266
5. RAVENNO - TIM MALONE – 0.00 - 56.723
6. NAGANO – JOSE REGA – 0.00 - 57.175
7. OTTALINE - LAUREN HOUGH – 0.00 - 57.540
8. FEMME FATALE - DARRAGH KERINS – 0.00 - 57.912
9. FREEZE FRAME - KATE LEVY – 0.00 - 58.393
10. JULIA DU BRIO - PETER LEONE – 4.00 - 59.328
The $75,000 Fidelity Investments AGA Grand Prix was held in front of a full house of spectators. Rows of people completely encompassed the beautiful grass arena. The tents were full, and it was standing room only on the other two sides of the ring.
Kent Farrington showed that he is on top of his game when he produced the first clean round of the competition on Madison. The small bay mare was AGA Grand Prix Horse of the Year in 2006 and has been jumping consistently well all summer.
Nona Garson and Languster assured us of a jump-off when they followed five trips later with a perfect score. Kevin Babington and Cody Auer had unexpected falls from their horses, fortunately both athletes walked away uninjured.
Darrin Dalin on Catwalk and Eliza Lehrman on VDL Plantini both went clean in the initial round, as did Leslie Howard on Lennox Lewis 2. The final rider of the first round was the $7,500 Grand Prix Qualifying winner, Chris Kappler on VDL Maseratie. The Olympic Gold Medalist did not let down the crowd, putting in the sixth and final clear round.
The jump-off consisted of half a dozen extremely talented horse and rider pairs. Farrington started the field off right going extremely fast and faultless in 28.729. Garson was next on her large dark stallion in a slightly slower time of 32.913, putting her temporarily in second place.
Dlin beat Garson’s time finishing in 31.494, but dropped the last fence incurring a score of four. Lehrman’s VDL Stallion jumped beautifully, but had a slow time of 34.438.
Howard, who has been unbeatable this summer, really chased the lead, and ended up two seconds slower than Farrington in 30.129. Kappler was the only athlete left to contest the lead. He looked as if he had done it until the timer stopped at 29.655, one second off the pace.
“Madison is a super mare,” Farrington said with a smile. “She is so fast and bold on turf. It is a pleasure to ride her; she’s like an old friend.”
Results $75,000 Fidelity Investments AGA Grand Prix (National Standard)
1. Madison – Kent Farrington – 0.00 – 0.00 – 28.729
2. Chris Kappler – VDL Maseratie – 0.00 – 0.00 – 29.655
3. Leslie Burr Howard – Lennox Lewis 2 – 0.00 – 0.00 – 30.129
4. Nona Garson – Languster – 0.00 – 0.00 – 32.913
5. Eliza Lehrman – VDL Plantini – 0.00 – 0.00 - 34.438
6. Darrin Dlin – Catwalk – 0.00 – 4.00 – 31.494
Photo Credit: Kent Farrington aboard Madison at the Fidelity Investments Jumper Classic. Photo by: Jennifer Ross.
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