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Danielle Torano captures first Grand Prix of 2012 HITS Saugerties season

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Danielle Torano and Capitano kicked off their season at HITS-on-the-Hudson with a bang as they rode to victory in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix. Photo by ESI Photography.HITS Saugerties kicked into high gear yesterday as Danielle Torano of SW Ranches, Florida rode to victory in the first Grand Prix of the season. In the irons of Sir Ruly, Inc.’s Capitano, Torano was one of four to advance to the jump-off and post a double clear round for the win in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Torano piloted Capitano, a 17 year-old Holsteiner gelding, over 16 jumping efforts of a 13 obstacle course designed by Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil.

The course offered both height and technical turns, with three double combinations – a one stride and a two stride in the middle of the course and another one stride in the last line. Aside from the third combination, the last four-fence line of the course proved to be a heartbreaker for many as more than half the field took down a top rail at the final fence to keep them from the jump-off. “The course was bigger than I expected, but certainly fair for $25,000,” said Torano. “It turns out that today was meant to be for us.”

Capitano has been with Sir Ruly, Inc. for about ten years and Torano has recently been showing him in the Amateur-Owner Jumpers with an occasional Grand Prix. Despite modest Grand Prix experience, however, he rose to the occasion today and topped a competitive field. “Capitano felt great all day,” added Torano. “He was forward in a couple lines and got away with a rub on the last line, but we ended up clear.”

Second to go in the first round, Torano was the first to produce a clear round and sat untouched until Michael Kirby of Madison, Connecticut went clear aboard his own KT UnderCover. Kirby and his 11 year old 16 hand Dutch Warmblood secured a spot in the jump-off and were later joined by Todd Minikus and Allison Pras. “He may be small, but he has a lot of heart,” said Kirby of KT UnderCover. “He has grown up a lot over the past year and turned into a great little horse.”

Torano and Kirby mirrored the first round in the jump-off, producing the first and second double-clear rounds of the day to place first and second, respectively. “I really didn’t think we were going to be fast enough in the jump-off, so we had to really go after it at the end,” said Torano. The last minute effort from Torano turned out to be just enough for the win with a second round time of 42.08 seconds. Kirby followed closely behind with a time of 43.89 seconds. Pras of Colts Neck, New Jersey was third to go in the jump-off and finished in third with eight faults in a time of 51.13 seconds, while Minikus of Loxahatchee, Florida finished fourth with 11 faults in a time of 54.32 seconds. Rounding out the top five was Kyle Timm of Apex, North Carolina in the irons of Apex Equestrian Center’s Wadisson who picked up one time fault in the first round to keep him from the jump-off, but still clinch fifth place.

Grand Prix action continues at HITS-on-the-Hudson as the first weekend of Spring competition arrives. High-performance riders will again enter the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium on Sunday for the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, as the road to the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix once again makes its way through Saugerties and points to September’s HITS Championship Weekend.

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