Judy Garofalo Torres Enjoys Fashionable Win at Vermont Summer Festival

East Dorset, Vermont — Judy Garofalo Torres of Dover Plains, NY, won the $10,000 Giorgio Armani Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, July 9, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.

Riding the evergreen Oliver, now 20 years old, Garofalo Torres was one of five riders to successfully clear the first round course set by designer Michel Vaillancourt to advance to the jump-off. Yet another fault-free performance in a time of 31.01 seconds secured the win for Garofalo Torres. For her victory, Garofalo received $3,000 in prize money as well as a $1,000 gift card from title sponsor, Giorgio Armani.

“After riding the same horse for 10 years, I know how I can slice back on a jump – or at least I should,” laughed Garofalo Torres, who has been competing with the Swedish Warmblood stallion at the Grand Prix level since purchasing him 10 years ago. “I thought the course was really fair.”

As one of the few horses in the country still competing at the top level at the age of 20, Garofalo Torres manages Oliver’s schedule carefully.

“I would really like to do the big Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic again this year, we were second last year to McLain Ward and Sapphire, and I don’t mind being second to them,” said Garofalo Torres in reference to the two-time Olympic Team Gold Medalists. “Oliver jumps well on grass, and he certainly wants to jump clear. Going to the Hamptons again this year would be my goal, but I just take it week by week and see how he feels.”

Garofalo Torres has 15 horses competing at the Vermont Summer Festival between her own mounts and those of her clients. In addition, her younger sister, Olivia Garofalo, 10, will be making her debut in the Children’s Hunter division at the Vermont Summer Festival this year with her pony, Brownland’s Bella Luna.

“All of the customers love this show; it is their favorite all year,” noted Garofalo Torres, who has been competing at the Vermont Summer Festival for the past three years. “The show management really tries hard, and it is a nice town.”

Placing second was Addison Phillips of New York, NY, riding her chestnut mare, Teirra. Phillips also had two clear rounds over the course with a jump-off time of 31.85 seconds. One of her trainers at Heritage Farm, Patricia Griffith, placed third after also jumping double clear in a time of 32.20 seconds riding Man In Black.

Sophie Coppedge and Whiskey also produced double clear rounds to finish fourth while the only other jump-off challenger, Tori Corts, had two refusals over the shortened course to place fifth riding Ultimo van ter Moude.

Earlier in the day, Katherine Schmidt, 17, of Ridgefield, CT, claimed top spot in the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search riding Aragorn to edge out Lillie Keenan and Valedictorian. It was a reverse placing from Thursday when Keenan took top spot over Schmidt in the WIHS Equitation Classic. Following the show jumping phase in the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, the judge called back the top 12 riders for the flat phase.

“I tried to have a really smooth jumping round, and to make all the distances work well,” said Schmidt, who only began riding Aragorn one week earlier. “Aragorn was really good; he just did his job and jumped all the jumps really nicely, especially since equitation is new to him.”

The grey gelding was imported earlier this spring from Europe where he had a career as a show jumping horse. Aragorn is owned by Heritage Farm, Inc., which is where Schmidt has been training for the past three years with Andre Dignelli and his team.

“He is so brave, he doesn’t care about anything,” noted Schmidt, who received a Hadfield’s leather halter courtesy of C. M. Hadfield’s as part of her prize. “He gets in there, jumps all the jumps, and just goes to them. He is also very comfortable to ride in the flat phase. I want to thank Andre and Heritage Farm for everything.”

The first week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival concludes on Sunday, July 11, with the $30,000 Vermont Summer Festival Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, beginning at 1 p.m. 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: info@vt-summerfestival.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.

$10,000 Giorgio Armani Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
1. Judy Garofalo Torres Oliver 0:0 31.01
2. Addison Phillips Teirra 0:0 31.85
3. Patricia Griffith Man In Black 0:0 32.20
4. Sophie Coppedge Whiskey 0:0 32.41
5. Tori Corts Ultimo van ter Moude 0:eliminated
6. Amanda Flint Volumia 4
7. Geoffrey Case Sleepy Hollow’s Rock and Rolla 4
8. Laura Tobak Redemption 4

PHOTOS: Judy Garofalo Torres and the evergreen Oliver won the $10,000 Giorgio Armani Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Friday, July 9, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Katherine Schmidt claimed top spot in the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search riding Aragorn on July 9 at the Vermont Summer Festival. Photo credits - David Mullinix Photography