For the third year in a row, Danielle Torano of Wellington, FL, won the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox – A Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa, on Saturday, July 23, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks from July 5 through August 14, 2016, at Harold Beebe Farm.
After settling for second behind her husband, Jimmy, in Thursday's $10,000 Vineyard Vines Welcome Stake, Torano emerged victorious in Saturday’s $30,000 Otter Creek Grand. The win marked the third year in a row that Torano has claimed the title, having won in 2014 riding Woodstock and now, for the second year in a row, riding Callas III.
Torano and Callas III, a nine-year-old chestnut Oldenburg mare owned by the Torano’s JET Show Stables, were one of six entries to jump clear over the track set by course designer Kenny Krome of Westminster, MD, and advance to the jump-off.
Five of the six jump-off contenders were again clear, with time becoming the deciding factor. With only one more entry to come behind them, Torano and Callas III made a strong gallop to the last fence, stopping the clock in 38.31 seconds. As the final challenger, Colin Syquia of Forest Hills, NY, made a valiant effort but came up short with a time of 38.86 to settle for second riding Adventure E, owned by Eurasia, Inc.
“The last thing Jimmy said to me before I went in the ring was, 'when you land off the second-to-last jump, just fly to the last jump',” said Torano. “I saw it from far away and I was committed. I knew we had to go for it and hope for the best. Once she left the ground I knew we were okay, but for a few seconds I was thinking it may not turn out the way we hoped!”
Kristy Herrera of Wellington, FL, was also fast over the jump-off track, stopping the clock in 40.94 seconds to take third place riding Cordaba AG Z, owned by Nancy Crate. Herrera also earned the Kastel Denmark Ladies Style of Riding Award for her performance in Saturday's $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix.
Vermont Summer Festival Week 2’s Grand Prix winners Jimmy Torano of Wellington, FL, and Day Dream placed fourth with a time of 43.36 seconds, while Amanda Flint of Long Valley, NJ, rounded out the top five with a time of 46.60 seconds riding El Dorado VDL for The Coverboy Group.
Saturday's win in the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix marked Danielle and Callas III’s second grand prix victory together.
“She is super special,” said Danielle of the mare purchased off a video as a seven-year-old. “I got a little rub in the schooling area, which normally she never does because she's so careful. But I knew after that she wasn't going to touch another jump and I could run. It was my class to win or lose because she was perfect.
“She was very frustrating and hard for me in the beginning,” continued Danielle, who is planning to move the fast, careful and adjustable mare up to International Equestrian Federation (FEI) competition. “In Florida this past winter, it seemed like I got to know her and she got to know me. Now I'm really comfortable on her.”
After her win, Torano was joined by class sponsors, Roger Aberth and Caitlin Darnall representing The Equinox, and was presented with a cooler from Mona's Monograms and an equestrian-themed belt from Oughton Limited. In addition, the Vermont Summer Festival honored her groom, Marcella Doval, with the weekly Grand Prix Groom Award. In recognition of Doval's hard work preparing Callas III for grand prix competition, she was honored with a monogrammed jacket and coolerette from sponsor Glenn Geary of Horsewatch.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont for great competition in an ideal summer setting. Outside the show ring, exhibitors enjoy the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2016 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting the Manchester Community Library, Dorset Equine Rescue, and Meals on Wheels.
Please e-mail or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.
$30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox - Saturday, July 23, 2016
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Danielle Torano Wellington, FL Callas III 0:0 38.31
2. Colin Syquia Forest Hills, NY Adventure E 0:0 38.86
3. Kristy Herrera Wellington, FL Cordaba AG Z 0:0 40.94
4. Jimmy Torano Wellington, FL Day Dream 0:0 43.36
5. Amanda Flint Long Valley, NJ El Dorado VDL 0:0 46.60
6. Andres Alvarez Saratoga Springs, NY Cash Z 0:4 42.70
7. Kevin McCarthy North Salem, NY Analyze This 4 81.78
8. Amanda Flint Long Valley, NJ VDL Wittinger 4 82.33
9. Katie Tyler Old Lyme, CT Wild Card 4 82.48
10. Amanda Flint Long Valley, NJ VDL Coverboy 4 84.16
11. Mark Jungherr Amesbury, MA Conte Couleur 8 83.91
12. Agatha D'Ambra Rexford, NY Exacto LS 8 87.35