Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, N.J., said two nights ago she hoped to win the Devon Horse Show leading open jumper rider title, and yesterday she placed second in the afternoon speed class and then won the evening $20,000 Gambler's Choice on Corlett to get closer to her goal.
Now, she has 42 points toward the title, while McLain Ward, who has won five leading rider titles in the last 10 years, has 261/2 points. But there are still two classes to go, including tonight's $40,000 Idle Dice Stakes, which carries bonus points.
So while Dobbs has an edge in the race, she still has some work to do to win the title. Still, for a 19-year-old Harvard college student, riding for the first time in the open jumper division who came straight to Devon from her final exams, it's pretty heady stuff.
Dobbs and Corlett scored 1,340 points in the Gambler's Choice, where each fence caries points according to its difficulty, to beat second-place Jimmy Torano on Magic Cruise, with 1,310 points.
Callan Solem on VDL Orlando was third with 1,240 points, and Ward was fourth with 1,180 points.
Laura Chapot rode Harold Vogel's Bradberry to win the $7,500 NAL open jumper, faults converted into seconds, during the afternoon session.
Zipping around the course in the very quick time of 58.800, Chapot was over two seconds faster than second-place Dobbs on Marengo.
Chapot won the faults converted class for the fourth year in a row, having won in 2005 on Samantha, in 2006 on Sprite, and last year on Cilthe Z.
After the first three amateur owner hunter classes, Bridget Hallman of Oyster Bay, N.Y., riding her Gray Slipper, leads in the 18-to-35- years-of-age section, while Betty Oare of Warrenton, Va., on Madison, holds a slight lead in the over-35 section.
The final two classes will decide the championships.