Jimmy Torano of Wellington, FL, topped a starting field of 47 entries to win the $5,000 3'3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, on Thursday, August 4, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks from July 5 through August 14 at Harold Beebe Farm.
Course designer Gerry Briggs of Smyrna, TN, set both rounds of the hunter derby, which included a first round as well as a handy round that spanned two rings and featured regular hunter fences as well as traditional derby obstacles. From the original starting field of 47 entries, the top 12 following the opening round advanced to the handy round.
Torano’s winning mount was Levland, owned by The Levland Group. The horse is a catch ride for Torano, and usually competes in the junior hunter ranks with McKayla Langmeier. Levland's derby talents were showcased by Torano, who earned a score of 89 points in the first round before impressing the judges in the handy round to score a 92, five points more than his closest rival. With a final score of 181, Torano and Levland claimed the win.
Levland shows under the direction of John Brennan and Missy Clark of North Run and was originally purchased as a grand prix jumper prospect. After transitioning to the hunter ring, Torano first rode the nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding earlier this season in Lake Placid.
“We did one practice class and then won the international derby there,” said Torano. “This is only my second time on him, but he's really good. What's nice about him is he is very scopey, has a big range, and is careful.”
According to Torano, Levland has what it takes to continue moving up the derby ranks and be consistent against the country's top hunters.
“When he starts doing the international derbies with the high options consistently, it's going to be easy for him,” noted Torano. “Today he was able to gallop, do the inside turns and stepped up to do everything I asked of him. Both times I have shown him, he has come back in the handy and blown everyone away.”
In addition to his share of the prize money and a commemorative scrim from Mona's Monograms, Torano was presented with a Land Rover Experience Driving School off-road excursion from Dan Johnson, representing class sponsor, Eastern Hay.
Claire Kenna of Wakefield, RI, and Corice Z were consistent over both rounds, earning scores of 86 and 87 for a total of 173 and second place. She was also honored by the Vermont Summer Festival as the highest-scoring amateur rider in Thursday's derby competition and received a $50 gift certificate to Hadfield's Saddlery and an embroidered saddle pad.
Amy Momrow of Wellington, FL, piloted three mounts into the top 12 including third-placed Relevant, owned by Melissa Wight. Momrow and Relevant earned scores of 86.5 and 85 for a total 171.5 points. Momrow also won the Kastel Denmark Ladies Style of Riding Award for the second time this season, having previously won the award in the jumper ring.
Kirsten Malacarne of Wakefield, RI, and Kalifornia Dreamin', owned by Kelley Norton, earned scores of 87.5 and 83.5 for a total of 171 to finish fourth, while Momrow rounded out the top five aboard Curb Appeal for owner Monty Kelly with 87 and 82 for a final score of 169.
The Vermont Summer Festival also presented a special award to the highest-scoring junior rider in Thursday's derby. A $50 gift certificate to Jods and an embroidered saddle pad were presented to Alexa Schwartz of Delray Beach, FL, who rode Zoomerang, owned by Hunt, Ltd., to a top ten finish with a final score of 158.
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.
$5,000 3'3" NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay - Thursday, August 4
Rider Hometown Horse Scores
1. Jimmy Torano Wellington, FL Levland 89/92=181
2. Claire Kenna Wakefield, RI Corice Z 86/87=173
3. Amy Momrow Wellington, FL Relevant 86.5/85=171.5
4. Kirsten Malacarne Wakefield, RI Kalifornia Dreamin' 87.5/83.5=171
5. Amy Momrow Wellington, FL Curb Appeal 87/82=169
6. Robert Lee Ocala, FL Intrepid 85/83-168
7. Amy Momrow Wellington, FL Aeroplane 85.5/80=165.5
8. Tommy Feigel Pompano Beach, FL Tignanello 90/70=160
9. Lisa Rex Westbury, NY In Joy 83/75.5=158.5
10. Alexa Schwartz Delray Beach, FL Zoomerang 82/76=158
11. Meredith Combs Harvard, MA Honor 81/75=156
12. Penelope Ayers Far Hills, NJ Cezanne 88/67=155