Two years ago, Old Hebe, a 17-hand chestnut gelding now 18 years old, was slated to become dog food. Today at the Middleburg National Horse Show, Allan Smith guided the thoroughbred to victory in the feature event, the $1,000 Jumper Stake.
Old Hebe, registered with the Jockey Club as Silver Bus (by Silver Wings out of Bus Girl), was sold as a yearing at the prestigious -- and expensive -- Saratoga sales. He recently was purchased for $600 by Diane and Joe Flori and Howard LaBove from local horse dealer Larry Campbell, who found him in a local farmer's back lot.
Smith, 25, and Old Hebe outlasted an original field of 47 horses in the timed second jumpoff stake. In the last round they blazed around the course of 11 jumps with no faults in 44.412 seconds. Rodney Jenkins was second on Emeralda's Full Deck in 44.444 and third on Fiori's other entry, Fair Cast, in 45.232.
Following the victory, owner LaBove patted the horse and delcared, "You just paid for yourself, buddy." In addition to the $300 prize money, LaBove won $1,000 extra wagering.
"We're in the horse-peddling business," added LaBove. "We needed to fill a pony club order so we bought Old Hebe."
The three then discovered the horse could really jump. They plan to enter Old Hebe at the Washington International this October. But, said LaBove, "the horse will tell us what he wants to do.If it gets to be too much, we'll know."
In the $1,000 pony hunter classic, Jane Thacker scored 83.1 on Ginger Busch's Sundance to take first place over Dunning Silliman and Chandelle who had 82.8. Gigi St. John and Sam I Am were third with a score of 82.0. JUMPER STAKE -- 1, Old Hebe, Diane and Joe Fiori and Howard LaBove; 2, Full Deck, Emeralda; 3, Fair Cast, Joe Fiori. BEST CHILD RIBER ON PONY -- 1, Lucy Rutter; 2, Albert Urbina; 3, Gigi St. John. SMALL PONY CHAMPION -- Precious Moment, Ken-li Farm; Reserve, Farnley Funny Face, Tracy Barko. MEDIUM PONY CHAMPION -- Asia, Kris Konmalan; Reserve, Soft Shoe, Tara Reynolds. AHSA -- 1, D. D. Alexander; 2, Lauren Walker; 3, Thomas Fowler. GRAND GREEN PONY CHAMPION -- Silver Tide, Rolling Acres Farm; Reserve, Easter Lustre, Elizabeth Morrison. GRAND PONY CHAMPION -- Crimson and Clover, Lucy Rudder; Reserve, Asia, Kris Konmalan. PONY HUNTER CLASSIC -- 1, Sundance, Ginger Busch; 2, Chandelle, Dunning Silliman; 3, Sam I Am, Gigi St. John.