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Sports · June 9, 2019

McLain Ward wins his 4th Upperville Jumper Classic

Photo/Barre Dukes, courtesy of Phelps Media/Upperville Horse Show
McLain Ward and Contagious win the Upperville Jumper Classic in a field of 34 on Sunday afternoon. The duo clocked 37.68 seconds with no faults in the final, edging Amanda Derbyshire of Great Britain.
I had a game plan for the jump-off. I try not to get too caught up with what everyone else is doing. You don’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction. I just try to stick to a plan and hope for the best.
— McLain Ward
By Vicky Moon
For Fauquier Now

Two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward captured the Lugano Diamonds $208,200 Upperville Jumper Classic in a field of 34 world class equestrians from 10 countries Sunday afternoon, June 9.

Alan Wade of Tipperary, Ireland, designed the demanding course, set against a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The event concluded the 166th Upperville Colt and Horse Show, which started Monday.

Mr. Ward has won the Upperville Jumper Classic four times — last prevailing in 2001.

“I had a game plan for the jump-off,” he said. “I try not to get too caught up with what everyone else is doing. You don’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction. I just try to stick to a plan and hope for the best.”

Mr. Ward, 44, of Brewster, N.Y., and 12 other riders qualified for a timed jump-off over a shortened course of nine obstacles versus the original 17. He clocked 37.68 seconds with no faults in the final.

Amanda Derbyshire, of Great Britain, finished in 38.06 with no jumping faults for second place.

Mr. Ward rode Contagious, a 10-year-old chestnut gelding owned by Beechwood Stables LLC of Weston, Mass., and trained by Lee McKeever. Their victory paid $68,706.

“We’ve been very excited about Contagious,” Mr. Ward said, “We’ve been trying to develop him for the Pan Am games (starting July 26 in Lima, Peru). We’ve been knocking on the door for a big win, and now we’ve got it. I’m really excited it all came together.”

Local winners

St. Bride’s Farm of Upperville presented the seven-day show, which dates to 1853, making it nation’s oldest horse show. Many Fauquier County residents competed over the week.

The Fout family of The Plains — Doug, Beth, Caroline, Nina, Virginia and Logan — took first place in the popular Family Class.

Snowden Clarke, of Orange Hill Farm near The Plains, trained Voila, which Sandy Ferrell rode to victory in the prestigious Founder’s Cup for owner Lysa Burke Hutton.

Penny Denegre of Middleburg, with her stunning grey hunter String of Pearls, won the $5,000 NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Classic.

Betty Oare of Warrenton rode Sidenote, owned by EMO Stables and trained by her husband Ernie Oare, to a first place blue ribbon in the Local-Owner-Rider Hunter division and the Adult Amateur (over age 50) division.

Alison Robitaille of Upperville and Sloane Coles of The Plains competed in Sunday’s finals but did not make the jump-off.
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