LAKE PLACID, N.Y.-- Irish Olympic veteran Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, Pa., rode Mark Q to victory in the $75,000 Grand Prix Sunday at the 49th annual Lake Placid Horse Shows on July 1.
Only three of the 41 entries qualified for the jump-off from the first-round course designed by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany.
After the first 26 entries failed to go clean, the youngest rider in the class, 18-year-old McKayla Langmeier of East Granby, Conn., turned in the first clean round on Iliano Van D'Abelendreef, and she was soon joined in the jump-off by Babington and 2011 Pan American Games double gold medalist Christine McCrea of East Windsor, Conn., who was clean on Nektarina B.
Langmeier, who just a few hours earlier won the horse show's $10,000 Mirror Lake Inn Junior Jumper Classic, blazed over the 8-jump, jump-off course on her 10-year-old, Belgian Warmblood, finishing in 35.676 seconds, but a rail down at the final fence cost her four faults.
BABINGTON then took the lead, going clean in 35.693 seconds on Mark Q, his 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse (ISH) who won Lake Placid's I Love New York Grand Prix in 2013.
McCrea was also clean, but her time of 37.019 left her in second place, giving Babington his second win in three years after having won the class in 2016 on Shorapur.
"I thought the course designer did a good job," Babington said. "The faults were spread out all over the course so there wasn't any one spot tripping people up, although the double caught a lot of horses. Anytime you have an airy vertical to an oxer, it's hard enough but then adding gray to it with a left drift, well there was a lot going on there."
"Mark Q really likes it here in Lake Placid which also holds a special place in my heart," said Babbington. "This is the first horse show I ever came to when I first came to this country back in 1988 and my family and I love it here. We wouldn't miss it for anything."
LAURA CHAPOT of Neshanic Station, N.J., on Zealous won the $20,000 CMJ Sporthorse 1.40m Open Stake on Saturday.
Nine of 46 starters managed double clear rounds over the first-round and jump-off courses designed by Petersen. and of those, Chapot and Zealous had the fastest jump-off round, finishing in 30.609 seconds to win the 1.40m competition for the second straight day.
Second place went to Jonathan Corrigan and Javas Keltic Mist with a time of 31.248, followed by Devin Ryan and Florida with a time of 32.758 and Christine McCrea and Dali De Vy who finished in 33.088.
Jimmy Torano of Mohrsville, Pa., rode Glasgow De Muze to victory in the $30,000 Voltaire Design Jumper Classic, which was Friday's featured competition.
Only five of 52 entries qualified for the jump-off, and Torano, the first to return for the 8-jump tiebreaker course, set the mark to beat with a clean ride in 41.268 seconds.
After the next three entries failed to match his clean ride, it came down to 10-time Olympic veteran Ian Millar of Canada and his mount, Truman.
"Captain Canada," as the show jumping legend is known, had a rail down for a four-fault score, giving Torano the win. Millar's time of 50.765 seconds left him in fourth place.
McKayla Langmeier had the fastest time in the jump-off, finishing in 38.724 seconds on Laney, but a rail down at the last fence cost her four faults and left her in second place, while third went to Catherine Tyree who finished with four faults in 42.004 seconds on Bokai and fifth went to Lauren Fischer who had eight faults and a time of 47.225 on Royal De Licques.
Earlier in the day, Cormac Hanley rode Captain Caruso to victory in the $1,500 Pepsi Beverages Co. 1.35m Jumper Class with Laura Chapot placing second on Umberto.
Chapot then took three of the top four places in the $5,000 Dartbrook Rustic Goods 1.40m Jumper Class, winning the class on Zealous while also placing second on Shooting Star and fourth on Out of Ireland.
Hanley placed third on Copain Z.