Saugerties, NY - Jimmy Torano and Vince, owned by Bynum Farms, were the last to show in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Friday, and the duo used their position to secure their first Grand Prix victory together in the Strongid® C 2X Stadium at HITS Saugerties.
Torano, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and eight year-old Vince, were one of 43 horse-and-rider combinations to take the field on a course designed by Danny Foster of Milton, Ontario, Canada, which saw just five pairs advance to the jump-off.
"It was a very strong field, with plenty of good horse and rider combinations,” said Torano. “I thought Danny [Foster] did a great job with the course. In the beginning it looked like a lot were going to go clean, but in the end only five advanced to the jump-off."
Margie Engle, of Wellington, Florida, and Lord Spezi, owned by Ashland Farms, were third to show in the first round and earned the first clean effort of the class. Kent Farrington, of Chicago, Illinois, and Valhalla, owned by Haity McNerney, were next to show, going clean to join Engle in a jump-off.
Four trips later, David Tromp, of North Salem, New York, and Casey, owned by Beyaert Farm, Inc, were the next duo to complete a clean round.
The next 11 riders tried to do the same but suffered time faults and dropped rails throughout Foster’s course. Marilyn Little-Meredith and Blue Curacao, owned by Mary and Paul Loeber, were the next pair to go clean. A few trips later, Chuck Waters, of Sparr, Florida, riding his own 747 was on track to be the next pair to advance to the jump-off; however, their time was 2.163 seconds over the time allowed, so they had to settle for a sixth-place finish in the class.
After another nine rounds failed to go clean, Torano and Vince entered the ring with determination to advance to the jump-off. The pair cruised through the course and kept all the rails up, making it five in the jump-off.
Engle and Lord Spezi started things off in the jump-off and set the Great American Time to Beat at 45.869 seconds with four faults which would put them in third place.
Farrington was next to show and fell victim to two rails down for a total of eight faults in 43.069 seconds and a fourth-place finish.
Tromp followed and finished with the best time out of the group at 42.038 seconds but dropped a rail mid-way through the course and had to settle for the red ribbon.
Looking to take the lead, Little-Meredith, of Frederick, Maryland, and her mount Blue Curacoa were next in the irons. However, the last two fences came down for a score of eight faults with a time of 43.413 seconds which earned them a fifth-place finish.
Last to show was Torano, who used his last to go opportunity to his advantage and produced the only double-clear effort of the class in 49.267 seconds for the decisive win.
"I was lucky to go last," explained Torano. "Especially since no one was clear before me, so I went slow and clear and it paid off. That's the nice thing about going last; you know what you need to do."
Torano has found great success at HITS Saugerties so far this year as he and Vince, whom he acquired in Europe this past December, have earned a sixth and a pair of fourth place ribbons so far in the Grand Prix classes this season.
"He’s been very consistent for me. He just started showing in the Grand Prix division right here at HITS Saugerties back in June. He seems to really like this ring. And even though he's only eight, he's very brave and has a lot of talent," added Torano, who was all smiles after the duo’s first win together.
Sunday's featured class marked Torano's fifth Grand Prix of the eight he needs to become eligible for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. With the win, Torano now has $15,500 in prize money aboard Vince. Torano plans on qualifying for the Pfizer Million by competing in the three remaining Grand Prix classes offered at HITS Saugerties between HITS-on-the-Hudson V and VI and intends to return for the two weeks in September leading up to the big class.
Torano is hoping his momentum on Vince will continue and if it does, all signs point to the pair breaking into the Pfizer Eligible Rider Rankings with a healthy position in the Top 40.
Tromp’s finish moved him from 35th to 28th place in the Rankings as he now has $13,500 in prize money won on his leading horse Casey. Waters also added some precious prize money to his winnings, and holds steady at number 37, while Lacy Morrone-Cramer, of Pittstown, New Jersey, completed her eighth Grand Prix on Friday and entered the Rankings at number 36 with $8,500 in prize money won on her leading mount, Ulysses Van De Krekebeke.
High-Performance riders will have three more chances to qualify for the Pfizer Million at HITS Saugerties this summer, followed by two more chances at HITS Culpeper in August. The final two qualifiers for the Pfizer Million will take place at HITS Saugerties during Week VII, September 1-5. Week VIII at HITS Saugerties, September 8-11, will feature the one and only Wild Card class in the $50,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier/Pfizer Million Wild Card Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. The winner of that class, if not already qualified, will earn a spot in the field for this historic class.
$10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
Kent Farrington and Vanhattan, owned by Hillary McNerney won the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome on Wednesday, July 28. Second place went to Laura Chapot on Mary Chapot's Valentia and Marie Hecart on Top Stallion's Norton De Vains received third.
$10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
Show jumping at HITS Saugerties continues this week with an exciting lineup of classes and events, including the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby on Saturday, July 31, and the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Sunday, August 1.
In order to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, a rider must compete in eight or more HITS Grand Prix classes. The top 40 riders, based on money won by horse/rider combination, will be eligible to ride for the Pfizer Million. For more detailed information on the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, including ticket prices that include the special concert by music legend John Fogerty, please visit our website at HitsShows.com.
HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS will take the industry to new heights when it hosts the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties on September 12.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
PLACING HORSE OWNER RIDER PRIZE MONEY RD 1 FAULTS JO FAULTS JO TIME
1 Vince Bynum Farms Jimmy Torano $7,500 0 0 49.267
2 Casey Beyaert Farm Inc. David Tromp $5,500 0 4 42.038
3 Lord Spezi Ashland Farms Margie Engle $3,250 0 4 45.869
4 Valhalla Haity McNerney Kent Farrington $2,000 0 8 43.069
5 Blue Curacao Mary and Paul Loeber Marilyn Little-Meredith $1,500 0 8 43.413
6 747 Chuck & Dana Waters Chuck N. Waters $1,250 3
7 Sweetheart Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables Christine McCrea $1,000 4
8 Hidden Creek's Pamina L Hidden Creek Farm Margie Engle $750 4
9 MTM Centano MTM Farm Tracy Fenney $750 4
10 Select Lionshare Farm & Ger Poels Horses Peter Leone $500 4
11 Tsarin Mary & Laura Chapot Laura Chapot $500 4
12 Myself De Breve Top Stallion Marie Hecart $500 4
Photos: Jimmy Torano and Vince on course in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. © ESI Photography.
Lisa Engel of HITS and owner Blair Bynum of Bynum Farms congratulate Jimmy Torano and Vince on their first Grand Prix win together. © ESI Photography.
Kent Farrington and Vanhattan on course in the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome. © ESI Photography.