Marylisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland, claimed the final grand prix victory of the 2018 Vermont Summer Festival season with the win in the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Saturday, Aug. 11, in East Dorset, Vermont . The six-week, 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival concluded on Aug. 12.
Course designer Ken Krome saw five horses jump clear over his first-round track to qualify for the short course, with Leffler and her mount, Luminous, returning as the second entry to jump-off. They set the time to beat at a quick 40.26 seconds, putting the pressure on the riders to come, Jonathan Corrigan with two entries and Kevin Mealiff.
Corrigan, of Southampton, New York, returned next with his first mount, Loughnavatta Indigo, owned by Twin Oaks Stables, but the pair saw one rail fall for 4 faults in 39.95 seconds and the eventual fourth place finish. The next in the ring, Mealiff, of Lake Worth, Florida, finished clear but more than a second off of Leffler’s time, tripping the timers in 41.30 seconds to ultimately end up in third with Audi’s Dimple, owned by Maarten Huygens.
It all came down to the previous week’s grand prix winners, Corrigan and Javas Keltic Mist, who topped the $30,000 Manchester & the Mountains Grand Prix on Aug. 4.
“That one turns so well,” said Leffler of Corrigan’s final mount, Javas Keltic Mist. “I know I have the foot speed—mine is fast—but I knew I had to keep up and keep moving, knowing that [Javas Keltic Mist] turns so well.”
While Corrigan and Javas Keltic Mist replicated their double-clear performance from the preceding week, Leffler and Luminous’s foot speed proved to be enough, as Corrigan crossed the timers in 41.14 seconds to finish in second.
“We’ve been knocking at the door a little bit the whole time here!” said Leffler, who finished in third with Luminous in the $30,000 Manchester & the Mountains Grand Prix. “For the jump-off, I walked an inside turn, but it felt kind of awkward; I thought, ‘I think if I just fly and keep all the jumps up, I have a chance today.’
“Luminous is kind of like a little race car,” continued Leffler in speaking of the 9-year-old warmblood mare owned by Rolling Acres. “The faster that you go with her, the better that she is.”
In recognition of her win, Leffler was awarded a scrim by Mona’s Monograms, as well as a crystal trophy. In addition, the Vermont Summer Festival recognized her groom, Beto Silva, with the weekly Grand Prix Groom Award in honor of his hard work preparing Luminous for competition. Silva was presented with a monogrammed jacket and coolerette from sponsor Glenn Geary of Horsewatch.