The last to go in the five-horse jump-off in the $100,000 Budweiser Grand Prix of Devon, Darragh Kerins, riding Double H Farms' Night Train, took advantage of his position.
Kerins was the only one to jump cleanly and won the $30,000 first-place purse last night at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.
"I didn't like that situation, knowing that I had to go clean," said Kerins, a native of Ireland who lives in Ridgefield, Conn. Kerins went a little slower than those who went before him, finishing in 53.168 seconds.
Kent Farrington, on Up Chiqui, finished with one rail down for four faults in 43.989 to take second place. Hillary Dobbs, on Corlett, also with four faults, finished in 46.654 to take third.
Kerins had worried that if he knocked down a rail, he would drop to third because of his slower time, but his gamble paid off. "It's difficult here, under lights and with the huge crowd," he said.
"I've been riding Night Train for about a year and a half," Kerins said. "He's 9, but he's a very, very small horse. He's only 151/2 hands. He's strong in the ring, but that's a good thing."
Kerins said he planned to compete on Night Train tomorrow night at Devon in the $50,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake.
"I can't be disappointed," said Dobbs, who at 19 is in her first year of open jumper competition. "My mare jumped well for me."
Todd Minikus, on Pavarotti, was fourth with 12 faults in 49.565. Callan Solem, on Allison, was fifth with 12 faults in 53.819. Twenty-eight horses started in the Grand Prix.
Kenny Wheeler of Keswick, Va., who will turn 80 tomorrow, handled the best young horse at Devon for the 33d year in a row. Cismont Manor Farm's Capital Hill won the 3-year-old (other than thoroughbred) class and was named best young horse.
Ray Francis of Bedminster, Pa., won the leading handler award for the third time.