Sunday, May. 26, 2024

Torano Is Tops At Valley Classic

Jimmy Torano turns in the only double-clear round to take the top prize aboard Caldam D’Or.

For Jimmy Torano, one of the most successful grand prix riders at the Vermont Summer Festival, the Valley Classic “was a good little run.” The Florida-based rider and his mount, Caldam D’Or, shut out the competition in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, a featured event of the horse show held July 31-Aug. 3 in East Dorset.


Jimmy Torano turns in the only double-clear round to take the top prize aboard Caldam D’Or.

For Jimmy Torano, one of the most successful grand prix riders at the Vermont Summer Festival, the Valley Classic “was a good little run.” The Florida-based rider and his mount, Caldam D’Or, shut out the competition in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, a featured event of the horse show held July 31-Aug. 3 in East Dorset.

In addition to guiding SCNC Investment Inc.’s Caldam D’Or to the $9,000 top check in the grand prix, Torano rode the group’s Magic Cruise to victory in Friday’s $10,000 Escada/Theory Open Welcome Stake.
“Those owners had a good weekend,” Torano said with a smile.

Torano, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., made it all possible in the Sunday feature by taking a risk. He went first in the four-horse line-up and cut inside to an oxer. The move actually slowed his bay Belgian Warmblood stallion but gave the leading jumper rider a clean round in 43.74 seconds.

As the first one out on the 9-year-old son of Calvaro Z, Torano said he hoped to put the pressure on the others. He noted in retrospect, “I probably could have been faster if I went in six strides [to an oxer], but I chose five. It was too tough.”

Next up was Torano’s wife, Danielle, on Vancouver D’Auvray.

“I told her to do the turn in six strides, and she actually was faster than me from the first to the fifth fence,” explained Jimmy, who noted that then she became distracted and almost went off course. “Even though I was yelling at her, she was actually about a stride away from jumping the wrong jump. At the last minute she pulled out, but then she ran at the last fence and had a rail down.”

She placed fourth with a rail in 46.07 seconds.

Mary Lisa Leffler and Gerona 92 tried to match Jimmy’s time, but a rail down at the third fence marred their round. The pair, from Brookville, Md., stopped the clock in 42.97 seconds for third place.

Then it was just one rider between Jimmy and victory. And, ironically, she happened to be riding a horse that he’d sold her.

Hillary Dobbs purchased Marlo, a 17.2-hand, gray Dutch Warmblood, from the Toranos prior to the start of the Vermont series. They won the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix the first week of the series and had quickly become formidable contenders.


“We were actually 3 seconds faster [than Torano and Caldam D’Or],” recalled Dobbs. “Marlo’s got a big stride and is a good turner. It was my fault that she dropped a rail at the B portion of the last jump. I didn’t help her front end enough.”

But their quick time of 40.87 seconds clinched second place with the fastest four-fault performance.
Dobbs, 20, Sussex, N.J., a student at Harvard University (Mass.), wasn’t searching for another horse when she came across “Miss Marlo.”

Valley Classic Tidbits

•    Grace Rogers, 16, Lititz, Pa., who topped the Pessoa/USEF Medal class, rebounded from disappointment. When her equitation mount, Victory, went lame, the high school senior leased Wyntoon from Stephanie Ingram. They quickly forged a strong partnership under the watchful eye of trainer Missy Clark of North Run.
•    Kenzie Snyder, 23, West Chester, Pa., and Milltown added yet another championship to their extensive record with the amateur-owner title. Snyder got the Belgian Warmblood, now 13, seven years ago from trainer Scott Stewart when the gelding was a 5-year-old pre-green hunter. Snyder, a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (Mass.), is entering studies for her master’s degree in psychology at Columbia University (N.Y.) this autumn. She now counts on trainers Jeffery Welles and Ed Copeland to keep her horses tuned and fit while she balances her studies and showing.
•    Molly Braswell, 14, Ocala, Fla., faced off against more than 40 rivals during the two phases of the WIEC class and found it “actually quite fun.” After an evening ride-off, she and The General earned the overall title. She’s already qualified for the Pessoa/USEF Medal, the ASPCA Maclay and the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search finals this fall. The General, although aged—Braswell believes he’s around 21 years old—has helped her qualify for the indoor finals for the past four years.

“It was [trainer] Missy Clark’s idea to try her, and we loved her. So you could say this was a spur of the moment purchase,” said Dobbs. The purchase also increased the depth and ability of her grand prix horses, Quincy B, Marengo and Colette, while taking some of the workload off them, she added.

Torano has actually had a close association with all of the horses in the jump-off.

“I found Caldam and Vancouver at the same stable in Belgium. Later, I also found Magic Cruise there,” he said, adding that he helped sell Leffler’s horse to her too.

While Alexandra Arute, Avon, Conn., was happy to repeat the best child rider on a horse award she earned last year, the 16-year-old said her victory on Saphira in the $10,000 high junior/amateur-owner jumper classic was her biggest moment at the Valley Classic.

“She jumped fantastically that day, and all I had to do was let her do her best,” Arute said of the black, 16.2-hand Belgian Warmblood mare. “This is the first classic we won this year; until now we’ve been consistently second this year, although she won a couple of classics with me last year.”

Initially, Arute believed she was going to place second yet again. “Danielle [Torano] went after me, and I thought she had my time,” said Arute. “That’s how it’s been the last couple of months—I’ve been very close but no cigar.”

Vermont also marked the return to competition for her small junior hunter, Folklore. He’d suffered an injury that sidelined him, and Arute was thrilled he was back in action. Their debut included the small junior, 16-17, tricolor.

While Folklore recovered, Arute did some hunter catch riding, but she missed her old friend. Now she’s focusing on the junior jumpers and equitation after she began training with Clark at North Run.


From The Trailer To The Top

When Frank Sinatra coined the song “I Did It My Way,” he could have been describing the lifestyle of amateur jumper rider Alissa Kinsey.

The Long Island native does it all, from working her own horses to mucking out their stalls to trailering them to shows. She supports herself and her horses on show prize money, from selling young horses she buys in Europe and from odd jobs in the food management industry.

“I’ve been doing this since my parents told me at age 16 I would have to find a way to support my hobby,” said Kinsey, who rode with trainer Ralph Caristo as a junior.

She just happened to be up from her Fort Myers, Fla., home base, visiting a friend in Lyme, Conn., when plans for a local show fell through. She’d heard about the Vermont Summer Series, so when the weekend opened up she took a trip to Vermont.

Once there, after the 31⁄2–hour drive, she entered her German-bred, Hanoverian mare, Grisset, in the Marshall & Sterling Adult Amateur Jumper Classic. As a post-entry, she was the first to go in the class and had only an hour to get her horse off the trailer and into the ring.

 Yet it all worked out, and the pair topped the field of 15 for the blue ribbon. “I knew ‘Big Mama‚’ was more than capable of this one,” said Kinsey. “The course was in the grand prix arena and the jumps looked bigger in it, but that’s OK because it gave my mare something to think about.”

Kinsey also entered the NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Classic the following day. Just minutes before going into the ring in pouring rain, however, she saw the mare’s left hind shoe was loose. She ran back to the farrier and “I just asked him to put one good nail in it, and he did.”

Their double-clear gave them the class victory once again and the high adult amateur championship.

“Against all adversity, I just wing it and I still do well,” Kinsey said with a smile.

Nancy Degutis




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