Judy Garofalo Torres picked up a big victory and marked a career high at HITS Saugerties, New York on Saturday afternoon, riding to first place in the $100,000 Hudson Valley Jumper Classic CSI5* over industry stars and a pair of Olympic gold medalists.
Garofalo Torres rode Juan Torres’ Quattro Queen to the win over Beezie Madden and Vanilla, and McLain Ward with HH Carlos Z. Six of the initial 50 starting pairs qualified for the jumpoff, but only Garofalo Torres was able to jump double clear due to a deceiving question at the final fence of the jumpoff.
The second to last fence was a large oxer that rode in four or five strides down to a tall, plain vertical. Both Ward and Madden recorded their only faults at that fence.
“It was tall and plain, basically,” Madden said of the fence. “The other jumps in the jumpoff were fairly impressive, and that one just came up in a nice five strides. I feel like after the big efforts over big fences it was a little bit of a letdown for my horse.”
Ward gave Garofalo Torres a nod for putting the pressure on him, but blamed himself for that fault at the final fence. “Carlos was jumping great, and he jumped the second to last jump very good, so I decided to stay out of his face and let him do the five,” he explained. “I think I leaked a little left and I looked back at it, which is really a big no no, and he just lightly pulled it off behind.”
And so it was to Garofalo Torres’ benefit that while she notched the slowest jumpoff time, her zero faults earned her the biggest check of the day.
“It was a good field and a good bunch of riders, and I was so happy with how she performed,” Garofalo Torres said of Quattro Queen, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quattro B x Landcapitol). “She’s a great horse that I’ve brought along since she was eight. I bought her over the phone from Holland when I was pregnant with my daughter (Charlotte). I never sat on her, and I’ve had her exactly as long as Charlotte is old.”
After several top three placings this season, Saturday’s victory marked the first grand prix win for Garofalo Torres and Quattro Queen. Based at Higher Ground Farm in Millbrook, NY, the pair are regulars in the jumper divisions at HITS Saugerties.
But for Garofalo Torres, the $100,000 Hudson Valley Jumper Classic “was my million today.” She confirmed that she won’t be entering Sunday’s feature class, the CP $1 Million Grand Prix CSI5*. “I geared her up for that this week, as I thought it was better for my horse this week,” she added.
The finale grand prix of the HITS Saugerties season is known for its big, international caliber track that can be overwhelming for many on the entry list. What’s more, with 2015 marking the first year that the $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties has been sanctioned an FEI 5* caliber event, the stakes and quality of competition promise to be higher than ever before. The CP $1 Million Grand Prix CSI5* will air live online at HITStv on Sunday, September 5th at 2pm EST.
See full results of the $100,000 Hudson Valley Jumper Classic CSI5* at this link.