East Dorset, Vermont — At the half-way point in this year’s six-week Vermont Summer Festival, fan favorite Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, is dominating the race for the $10,000 Open Jumper High Score Awards, sponsored by Sir Ruly, Inc.
At the conclusion of the six-week Vermont Summer Festival, held at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT, from July 9 through August 17, this special award, established by Torano’s uncle, Raul Torano of Sir Ruly, Inc., will be presented to the rider accumulating the most points in designated jumper classes.
Torano was the inaugural winner of the award last year. Known on the show grounds as the “busiest rider on-site,” Torano has accumulated 226 points at the half-way mark towards winning the bonus cash and prizes, including $5,000 to the winner, awarded at the end of the six weeks.
“I’m lucky to have a lot of nice horses and I have a lot of young horses I’ve been riding in the classes,” said Torano, 43, who has brought 31 horses to this year’s Vermont Summer Festival. “I think this a great place to bring young horses up.”
Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ, is his closest competition with 102 points while Joe Fargis, week three’s $10,000 Hickey-Freeman/Betsey Johnson Open Welcome Stakes winner, stands in third place with 82 points.
“This is my last week here,” said Torano who normally stays throughout the entire six-week horse show. “But Hillary Dobbs is back this week and is also coming back for week six, too, so anything can happen. It’s not over ‘til it’s over.”
Louis Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, who won week three’s $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, sponsored by Equinox – The Vermont Resort, is ranked fourth with 61 points. Shaine Brooks of Poestenkill, NY, rounds out the top five with 57 points.
Riders earn points by placing in the top 8 of Level 7 Open Speed classes, Level 8 Open Jumper classes, and the Open Jumper Welcome Stake classes. Points are awarded to the top 12 finishers in Grand Prix classes. Each of these classes is held weekly with 20 points going to the winner.
The Vermont Summer Festival Leading Open Jumper High Score Award winner will take home a bonus of $5,000. Second place earns $3,000 and third place receives $2,000.
“It’s always nice to have the bonus,” said Torano. “Since the owners usually get the day-to-day prize money, it’s nice to have that extra incentive for the riders.”
On the Canadian front, top riders are rallying for points in the $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, sponsored by Ariat International, Inc. Christi McQuaker holds the lead in the hunter division with 37 points over Natalie Smith with 31 points.
Emily Fox tops the jumper division with 20 points while Carly Campbell Cooper is within striking distance with 16 points, and Emily Skoggard is ranked third, only a half a point behind. Points are awarded for finishing first through sixth in any jumper or hunter class and are based on rider only, not horse and rider combinations.
Leading hunter and jumper riders on the Canadian Circuit Awards roster win $3,000 in their respective divisions, while reserve champions in both categories take $2,000. Riders must be Canadian citizens and hold a valid Equine Canada membership card to be eligible.
Competition at the Vermont Summer Festival is held daily Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until approximately 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children Wednesday through Saturday. On ‘Grand Prix Sunday’, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children. All gate proceeds are donated to the Friends Foundation for MEMS, benefiting programs in the local Elementary & Middle School.
New England’s largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show, the Vermont Summer Festival offers over $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event in the state of Vermont. Visit the Vermont Summer Festival website for more information, including full results.