East Dorset, Vermont — Danielle Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Capitano won the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux, on Sunday, July 24, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The six-week equestrian competition is running at Harold Beebe Farm from July 6 through August 14, 2011.
Torano and Capitano were the first pair to post a clear round and were quickly followed by Friday’s $10,000 Betsey Johnson Welcome Stake winners, Megan Young and Calvados. A few horses later, Amanda Flint and Superbad added their names to the jump-off list while the final horse and rider combination on course, Caitlin Venezia riding Okapi De Ste Hermelle, brought the total number of jump-off challengers to four.
First back for the jump-off, Torano sped around the shortened eight-effort course, which looped through the middle of the ring, with Capitano jumping flawlessly before crossing the finish line in a time of 34.78 seconds.
The next pair back, Young and Calvados tried to catch the leader, but were unable to leave all the fences intact. A score of four faults in a time of 39.18 would ultimately place them fourth.
Flint and Superbad appeared to be on track to challenge for the win but although the bay gelding left all the rails in place, their time of 38.80 seconds did not put Torano’s lead in jeopardy. They would eventually finish in second place.
Last to go, Venezia and Okapi De Ste Hermelle turned in a conservative performance. Keeping the 13-year-old chestnut gelding well under wraps, they jumped clear and crossed the timers in 41.10 seconds to take third place.
“Capitano is such a good boy,” praised Torano, giving all the credit to her longtime partner, a bay Holsteiner gelding owned by Sir Ruly, Inc. “He is 16 now and he was great here last year, and then he had a little injury at indoors in the fall. I didn’t know if he was going to come back because of his age, but here he is! He wants to do this. He has so much heart and that is what makes the difference when you come right down to it; it is the heart.”
Torano’s husband, fellow grand prix competitor Jimmy Torano, was not in Vermont to coach his wife, as he had left the show grounds to compete in a grand prix event in Saugerties, New York. “It is a little more nerve-wracking when he isn’t here because I lean on him,” said Torano. “When he is not here, I have to make the decisions. I have jumped bigger tracks than the one today, but I was more nervous because he wasn’t right here. I jumped here last year on my own, but I was just coming back from having a baby and there wasn’t as much pressure then.”
She continued, “Him not being here today really hit me. I called him on the phone to tell him the course so he could help me, because it just makes me feel better. I would rather that we do this together but if we have to do it apart, it was a great outcome. And it is funny, but I think I go faster when Jimmy is gone!”
Torano’s win in the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux, marked the half-way mark for the 2011 Vermont Summer Festival. With three weeks down, there are still three more weeks of show jumping action at Harold Beebe Farm.
Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont. The first five Sundays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix at 1 p.m., culminating with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 14. In addition to the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, held each Friday, the weekly $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Classics are hotly contested. New for 2011, the Vermont Summer Festival will host a $5,000 Hunter Derby each Thursday five of the six weeks.
Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children, Wednesday through Saturday. On Grand Prix Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. As always, 100 percent of the gate proceeds benefit the Friends Foundation for MEMS, (Manchester Elementary and Middle School).
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region each summer. For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux
1. Danielle Torano Capitano 0:0 34.78
2. Amanda Flint Superbad 0:0 38.80
3. Caitlin Venezia Okapi De Ste Hermelle 0:0 41.10
4. Megan Young Calvados 0:4 39.18
5. Michael Dorman Patina 1
6. Theodore Demetriou Catuso 4
7. Janice Syphers Cover Girl 4
8. Caitlin Venezia Quadrophenia 4
9. Sarah Wayda Fran 4
10. James North The Man To See 4
11. Kimberly Mulligan Butterfly Rouge 7
12. Mark Leone Great American 16
Photo: Danielle Torano and Capitano won the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux, on Sunday, July 24, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography