East Dorset, VT – Chris Ewanouski and Vertigo claimed victory in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, Presented by Hand Motors, on Sunday, August 1, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Ewanouski of West Palm Beach, FL, and Vertigo, owned by Geoff Teal, were competing in only their second Grand Prix event. Their first try last week garnered them a fourth place finish in the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix. This week, they stepped up their game to emerge victorious in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Hand Motors.
A starting field of 18 horses attempted the demanding track set by world-renowned course designer Conrad Holmfeld. In the end, eight managed to clear all 12 elements within the 80 second time allowed and advance to the jump-off. While five horses managed to again post clear rounds, none could beat Ewanouski and Vertigo’s jump-off time of 39.51 seconds, although Jimmy Torano came very close with a time of 39.76 riding Winsom.
“I am so happy,” said Ewanouski. “I never really thought this was going to happen. I was more nervous after last week, when he jumped double clear. I had no expectations; I was just hoping that it would be a great experience because after jumping those double clears, there was more pressure. He was awesome.
“I really wanted to do well, and I wanted to be competitive, but winning was the farthest thing from my mind,” continued Ewanouski. “I wanted to do the inside turns, I wanted to do the five in the six line, and I wanted to be really fast over to the last, but the time never really entered my mind. I just wanted to go from start to finish leaving all the jumps up and being as neat as I could be. He has really been coming into his own since this winter and I can feel his style changing for the better. It has been like a huge leap forward.”
Speaking of Vertigo’s development, Ewanouski said, “His first class ever in this country was three years ago. It was a low schooling class, in the rain, bad footing, and I wanted Geoff to scratch him, but he said no, that it was probably better footing than he was used to in Europe. He jumped with his head straight up in the air and with his legs straight down, but he was very careful, and as we have worked with him, his style has gotten better and he has kept the carefulness, which is nice.”
First back for the jump-off, Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, took second place with the seven-year-old Winsom, owned by Sir Ruly Inc. Winsom’s performance belied his inexperience as Torano asked the little grey gelding for inside turns and roll backs in the jump-off. The disadvantage of going first in the jump-off is that the riders coming behind have a target, and Ewanouski took advantage of the opportunity, beating Torano’s time by a mere 2/10 of a second.
Torano’s wife, Danielle, only began competing again at the Vermont Summer Festival after giving birth to the couple’s second child. Despite her time away from the grand prix ring, Danielle Torano rode Sir Ruly’s second entry in the class, the 16-year-old bay gelding, Capitano, to a clear round to finish in third place behind her husband.
Charlie Jacobs of Boston, MA, and his ever improving Leap Of Joy were also able to complete the jump-off with no penalties to finish in fourth place.
The fifth of six weeks of competition comprising the Vermont Summer Festival gets underway on Wednesday, August 4. Week five’s featured event is the $30,000 Manchester and the Mountains Grand Prix, beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 8. Located at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, 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 benefit Manchester Elementary-Middle School (MEMS).
Running July 7 through August 15, 2010, the Vermont Summer Festival offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state. The six-week Vermont Summer Festival culminates with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 15. The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, Presented by Hand Motors
1 Chris Ewanouski Vertigo 0:0 39.512
2 Jimmy Torano Winsom 0:0 39.769
3 Danielle Torano Capitano 0:0 40.375
4 Charlie Jacobs Leap Of Joy 0:0 40.592
5 Marshall Field VI Cakypso VB 0:0 41.692
6 Hillary Dobbs Marengo 0:4 38.208
7 Callan Solem Magic Cruise 0:8 40.302
8 Caitlin Venezia Okapi De Ste Hermelle 0:8 43.820
9 Sarah Wayda Faroukh 4 69.348
10 Jimmy Torano Topaz 4 69.712
11 Chase Boggio Hennessey 4 71.791
12 Linda Sheridan Rembrandt 4 71.798
Photo: Chris Ewanouski and Vertigo won the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, Presented by Hand Motors, on Sunday, August 1, during the fourth week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography