The countdown is on. In just a few days, horses and riders will be competing to capture the first title of the New York Racing Under Saddle Fair Series.
The seven race series, which featured six race legs that were held at county fairs across the state, will culminate in a championship final race at Tompkins County Fair in Trumansburg. The series ran throughout the months of July and August, giving participants the opportunity to earn points towards the final.
In order to be eligible for the final, horses needed to compete and finish in any two of the six legs. Eleven horses participated in the series with seven qualifying to race in the final. Six of those will be racing for the championship. Entries are as follows and are based on points earned:
- Vassar Hall to be ridden by Michelle Crawford
- Kash Now to be ridden by Michelle Miller
- Truth In Action to be ridden by Karen Isbell
- My Irish Molly to be ridden by Jocelyn Lavigne
- John-Michael to be ridden by Tara Hynes
- Lemon Pepper to be ridden by Jennifer Lowrey
Vassar Hall leads the group going into the final race with 75 points. The 10-year-old mare trained by Brett Crawford has won every leg she has participated in. Her first victory of the series was on July 10 at Afton Fair in a time of 2:11.4. She then defended her title at the Otsego County Fair in Morris on July 29. Crawford then continued her winning streak with Vassar Hall at the Chenango County Fair in Norwich on Aug. 5. There, she won the second RUS division, crossing the finish line in 2:07.4.
Kash Now is sitting in second on the point list with 51 points. Michelle Miller has ridden the 10-year-old mare to one victory this season, winning in 2:12 at the Seneca County Fair on July 14 in Waterloo. Kash Now, trained by Michael Miller and owned by Lance Diehl, has also taken a second and three thirds in the series.
Truth In Action was ridden to victory by owner and trainer Karen Isbell during the first leg of the series on July 3 at Goshen Historic Track. The 8-year-old gelding took second to Vassar Hall in the second division of the Norwich race. Although Truth In Action only raced in two races, he has earned 35 points and sits third on the point list.
My Irish Molly got a late start in the series, but it was a great one. Jocelyn Lavigne rode her to a victory in the first division of the Norwich race. Although the mare only raced in one race, she earned a point and qualification into the final for showing up at Steuben County Fair in Bath, which was cancelled due to rain. Horses that showed up and checked in earned a point and eligibility for the final race.
John-Michael, owned by Terry Miller and trained by Michael Miller, has earned 21 points. The 6-year-old gelding raced in Afton and Norwich, taking second in both with Tara Hynes aboard. He also earned a point for showing up for the race in Bath.
Lemon Pepper has also only raced in two legs of the series and has earned five points. The 15-year-old gelding is owned, trained and ridden by Jennifer Lowrey and received one point for finishing in the first leg, three points for placing fourth in the second division in Norwich and one point for showing up at Bath.
The RUS NY 2014 Fair Series has a final race purse of $2,000 along with more than $1,500 in prizes from sponsors. In addition to series sponsors Draper Therapies and Horse Quencher, Hawthorne Products donated a gift basket and NY Equine Fitness Center at Cleremont Farms is donating a Race & Recovery package valued at more than $1,250. The R&R package includes three treatments in their equine salt water spa and their hyperbaric chamber -- the only hyperbaric chamber in all of New England.
Riders in the final race will also receive gift bags from the sponsors in addition to a pair of riding gloves donated by Big D’s. There will also be a High Point Rider Award presented at the final to the rider who has earned the most points, regardless of horse(s) ridden throughout the series, with points earned for their finish in the final race as well.
The current standings of qualified riders are as follows: Michelle Crawford–75, Michelle Miller–50, Karen Isbell-35, Jennifer Lowrey–25 and Tara Hynes–25.
Many other sponsors also contributed services and financial support to the series. The series was made possible thanks to the following sponsors: Flagship Sponsor: New York Sire Stakes; Marketing Sponsor: Horsefly Group; Series Sponsors: Draper Therapies, Horse Quencher, Crawford Farms, Hawthorne Products, and Eric Abbatiello Racing. Race sponsors included Barb and Rick Bateman and T&K Harrington, LLC.
by C J Millar, for RUS NY