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Darragh Kerins Wins $150,000 Prudential Financial Grand Prix at the 29th Annual Hampton Classic
Horse Show Press Release
Darragh Kerins of Ireland rode Nabucco to victory in the $150,000 Prudential Financial Grand Prix to close the 29th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show. Kerins was the first of three entries from the starting field of 26 to qualify for the tiebreaking jump-off by riding without penalty over the 14-jump, first round course designed by Conrad Homfeld. He then turned in another clean ride, completing the eight-jump tiebreaker course fault-free in 47.29 seconds on his nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood.
Next up was Robin Sweely of Madison, VA and she matched Kerins's clean ride, but her time of 49.14 seconds on Qarco V'T Merelsnest left her just shy of the lead. Her ultimate second-place finish was good enough to earn her the horse show's Open Jumper Championship.
The day's final entry, two-time champion Jeffery Welles of Pound Ridge, NY, managed to beat Kerins's time, finishing the jump-off in 44.24 seconds. However, his mount, Armani, lowered a rail at the second fence in the jump-off for four faults and a third-place finish.
"This is by far the biggest class I've ever jumped in," Kerins said after his win, "and to win it is a dream come true. When I cleared the water at the end of the first round, I was amazed that I was on the verge of a clean round at the Hampton Classic. Then we hit the last fence and I almost blew it. Fortunately, the rail stayed up and I was in the jump-off. It really hasn't sunk in yet."
The win marked the first Grand Prix win for Kerins who said he geared his whole summer around the Hampton Classic. "All our showing this summer was in preparation for competing here," he said. "I really can't believe how well it all worked out."
The line-up for the Prudential Financial Grand Prix was determined by the $30,000 Adequan Grand Prix held two days prior. The $30,000 Adequan Grand Prix was the also opening event in the U.S.-East World Cup League, which determines the show jumping riders who will represent the United States at the 2005 World Cup Final in Las Vegas, NV, from April 20-24.
Each year the Hampton Classic Horse Show attracts more than 50,000 spectators and celebrities to watch the country's best horses and riders compete, marking the perfect end to the perfect summer in the Hamptons. One of the nation's premier show jumping competitions, the Hampton Classic boasts jam-packed social events in addition to its world-class equestrian competitions. Boutiques, on-site restaurants and a wide variety of displays and activities accentuate the Hampton Classic 'experience'. On hand to watch Kerins's stirring win in the Prudential Financial Grand Prix was Sigourney Weaver, Lorraine Bracco, Cliff Robertson, Alec Baldwin, Bianca Jagger, Kelly Ripa, Calvin Klein, David Yurman and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The $150,000 Prudential Financial Grand Prix will be broadcast on Fox Sports New York at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, September 25.
For more information on the Hampton Classic, please visit www.hamptonclassic.com or call (631) 537-3177.
Photo Credit - O'Neills