---- — LAKE PLACID — Irish Olympic veteran Kevin Babington won the $100,000 Woodlea Farms Grand Prix at the 36th annual I Love New York Horse Show, Presented by Sea Shore Stables, LLC.
Babington was one of 12 entries from the starting field of 32 to reach the tiebreaking jump-off by riding without penalty over the 16-jump, first-round course designed by Richard Jeffery at the North Elba Showgrounds. He was the second to return for the seven-jump tiebreaker and he set the mark to beat with a clean ride in 36.871 seconds on Mark Q.
None of the remaining 10 entries could beat his score with the closest being U.S. Olympic veteran Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, who has been a Grand Prix winner in Lake Placid a record seven times. She rode Royce to a clean ride in 37.387 seconds to place second. Her finish, following a second place finish in last week’s $75,000 Equine Insurance Services/Great American Grand Prix of Lake Placid, earned her the Richard and Diana Perpetual Challenge Trophy for Excellence for the best combined finish in Lake Placid’s two Grand Prix. Third place went to Angela Covert of St. Lazare, Quebec who finished in 38.149 seconds on Utan.
“My horse jumped great in the first round but he slipped early in the jump-off and I knew I had to speed up if we were going to have a chance,” said Babington. “We’ve had a great two weeks here and I thought that we might be able to win one. Given that this was the first time the horse show has offered $100,000, I guess we picked a good one to win!”
Engle noted that Royce is the less experienced of her two Grand Prix horses and is still learning. “He jumps very high which costs him time so I really have to ride him fast,” she explained. “ However, the faster we went, the higher he jumped and we just couldn’t catch Kevin’s time.”
Other winners on Saturday included Victoria Colvin on Don Juan in the $10,000 Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort High Junior Jumper Classic; Leah De Martini on True Love in the $10,000 FarmVet High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic; and Charlotte Jacobs on Cyrina Z in the Devoucoux Low Junior Jumper Classic.
The I Love New York Horse Show concludes Sunday bringing an end to the 2013 Lake Placid Horse Shows that host all levels of competition from young children on ponies to grand prix competitors and Olympic medalists and awarding over $535,000 in prizes.
Sunday’s highlight is the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Eastern Hay & Grain and Purina Animal Nutrition. This event, held in the Richard M. Feldman Grand Prix Field, features jumps that resemble natural obstacles seen in the hunt field with a variety of challenges including stone walls, hedges, logs, banks and ditches.
Sunday’s highlights of the I Love New York Horse Show include:
$15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Presentation Presented by Eastern Hay & Purina Animal Nutrition; P.F. Farm NAL & WIHS Children’s Jumper Classics; Champlain Valley Equipment NAL & WIHS Adult Jumper Classics; Y106.3 Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic; Kathy Scholl Equitation Classic Awards Sponsored by the Levy Family & Presented by EquiFit; Presentation of the Derby Trainer Award; Presentation of the Kathy Scholl Trainer Award; Equitation Classes; Hunter Classes
Admission to the I Love New York Horse Show on Sunday is just $5.00 with children under the age of 12 are admitted free. Tickets are available at the gate. The horse show is located at the North Elba Showgrounds, 5514 Cascade Road (Route 73) in Lake Placid, directly across from the ski jumps.
Further information on the Lake Placid and I Love New York Horse Shows presented by Sea Shore Stables, LLC is available by calling the Lake Placid Horse Show Association at 518-523-9625 or on line at www.lakeplacidhorseshow.com.