East Dorset, Vermont — Jimmy Torano and Heechhiem’s Tampa won the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, Inc. on Sunday, July 5, at the Vermont Summer Festival horse show in East Dorset, VT.
The first two horses to attempt the track set by course designer Michel Vaillancourt posted clear rounds, but none that followed were able to duplicate their perfect score of zero. In the end, it was a face-off between Kate Levy of Wellington, FL, and Jimmy Torano of Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Levy, 28, was the first rider to challenge the shortened jump-off course. Riding Starlight, her 10-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare, Levy knocked down a rail at fence seven, a liverpool, before also knocking down the first element at fence 10. Their final jump-off score of eight faults in a time of 48.11 seconds left the door open for Torano.
Torano set off with his nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, successfully clearing all nine obstacles on the jump-off track in a time of 46.96 seconds to claim victory in the first of six Grand Prix events to be held at the Vermont Summer Festival.
“Unfortunately for Kate, but fortunately for me, she had two rails, so I knew exactly what I had to do,” said Torano, who collected $9,000 for his victory. “I thought the first-round course was nice for the number of horses, and the jump-off was a nice, flowing track. Tampa is a really laid-back horse, and he is a big, gangly horse. A big course suits him – the bigger, the better.”
While Torano collected the first place check of $9,000, his groom, Gerardo Briseno, was presented with a special groom’s chair and jacket, donated each week to the groom of the winning horse by Glenn Geary of Horse Watch.
Levy, who had won Friday’s $10,000 Lilly Pulitzer Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, was forced to settle for second place with Starlight.
“I think she was a little over-excited in the jump-off, I did not get to take as much time to warm her up for the jump-off as I had for the first round,” explained Levy. “She’s a little green, and has to learn to do the jump-off. She has everything to be a top horse, but she’s hot and feisty. She’s a super jumper; she’s scopey, and really brave.”
Both Levy and Torano had high praise for the grand prix track set by Canada’s Michel Vaillancourt, Individual Silver Medalist at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
“Michel is an amazing course designer, and it was nice to come here and jump his courses,” said Levy. “The grand prix track was maybe a little bit bigger than I was expecting, but it was fair. It was a real track and you know where you are with your horses.”
“I think Michel is one of the best course builders that we have,” added Torano.
In addition to placing second, Levy also took third place after producing the day’s fastest four fault round with Lirving du Volsin, a 10-year-old bay selle francais gelding owned by Juan Carlos Garcia that she began riding during the winter circuit in Wellington, Florida. Levy also collected a pay check for her 12th place finish on Gralli. Between all three horses, Levy earned $11,100 in prize money for her day’s work.
Torano’s wife, Danielle, placed fourth with Ormsby Hill, a bright chestnut gelding owned by Ruly Torano, who has a summer residence in Manchester, VT. The final fence on course, number 13, proved to be the pair’s undoing.
Jimmy Torano took fifth place with Morgan, a 15-year-old selle francais gelding that was competing in his first show since the winter circuit ended in Wellington, FL, at the end of March.
Torano, who plans to compete in all six Grand Prix events at the Vermont Summer Festival, will be looking to extend his winning streak in next Sunday’s $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux.
Running through to August 9, 2009, the six-week Vermont Summer Festival is the largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show in New England, as well as the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont offering more than $750,000 in prize money.
The Vermont Summer Festival operates daily from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until approximately 4 p.m. every day. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children, Wednesday through Saturday, and $7 for adults and $5 for children on Grand Prix Sunday. All gate receipts are donated to the Friends Foundation for MEMS, benefiting programs in the local Elementary & Middle School.
$30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, Inc.
|1||Jimmy Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Heecchiem’s Tampa||0:0||46.96|
|2||Kate Levy||Wellington, FL||Starlight||0:8||48.11|
|3||Kate Levy||Wellington, FL||Lirving du Volsin||4|
|4||Danielle Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Ormsby Hill||4|
|5||Jimmy Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Morgan||4|
|6||Jennifer Walters||Shelburne, VT||Cadans Z||4|
|7||Judy Garofalo-Torres||Dover Plains, NY||Oliver||4|
|8||Jennifer Hannan||Wakefield, RI||Lamplight||8|
|9||Amanda Flint||Long Valley, NJ||Cajun||8|
|10||Amanda Flint||Long Valley, NJ||Texas Hold ‘Em||8|