Reigning Champions Jimmy Torano and Laskano Capture $200,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final at HITS Saugerties
Saugerties, N.Y. – September 11, 2022 – For the second year in a row, Jimmy Torano led the $200,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final from start to finish aboard Laskano. The duo showcased brilliance over each fence during the four-round championship, topping each round with scores in the 90s for an eventual 362 total that would capture the championship title to close out hunter competition at the HITS Championship.
“I know Laskano well, we've had him for about two and a half years and he’s really solid,” noted Torano after his victory lap. “He's won a lot. He's won six International Derbies this year. The goal was to work backward from today. The good thing about this horse, when he is ready on Wednesday you know exactly where he is. He was really good the first day, and I just rode him a little bit each day, just to make sure to get him in the ring, but the horse never put a foot wrong. He won every single round, which I believe he also did last year. He is just a horse that doesn't want to let you down.”
Jimmy Torano and Laskano
Torano’s focus and Laskano’s will to win proved to be the right combination as they headed into the final two rounds of competition on Sunday. With the top score in the first two rounds, Torano and the 10-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Daryl Portela were the last to compete in the Grand Prix Stadium at HITS Saugerties during the third round. They laid down a hoof-perfect effort, scoring an 89.5 and 92 to go into the lead once again. Returning last in the Final Four with just three points separating him from Brian Feigus and Corragio, the duo continued their march to victory. They executed each fence beautifully by maintaining a smooth and even canter. The team once again garnered top scores of 89 and 92 for a 362 total score, earning the championship title for the second year in a row.
Brian Feigus and Corragio
“I already felt a lot of pressure going into the first round today!” admitted Torano. “Having won both rounds the last two days and coming in last with all eyes on you – for sure, there was pressure for the first round. The only person I got to see in the final four was Brian, and he had a beautiful, beautiful round – he brought the heat. He really put a lot of pressure on me, and his horse went beautifully around that course today. When I went in, I thought ‘I have to let it all hang out.’ I really galloped to the first jump and never looked back. In my mind, I was thinking about brilliance the whole round.”
Feigus and Redfield Farm’s Corragio earned the second-place honors, earning a pair of 90s during the final round, which brought their total to 358. David Wilbur and Svengali placed third with scores of 88 and 86 for a final score of 347.25.
David Wilbur and Svengali
The $200,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final offers hunter riders a unique opportunity to compete for prize money often only seen in show jumping. Torano was quick to thank HITS and Tom Struzzieri for bringing that kind of money to the discipline.
“It's amazing – Tom has been great for the sport and for the industry for a number of years,” stated Torano. “Jumping for $200k is just an unbelievable amount of money for hunters. I think Tom is the first one that has stepped up with the hunters to make it more like grand prix show jumping as far as money goes.”
Jimmy Torano and Laskano
Torano concluded, “I really do like it here – the footing was amazing. They really worked on the footing all week. This place has a lot of potential, and I know Tom is going to step down, but hopefully the new people will carry on this tradition and keep giving away this kind of money.”
Sunday marked the conclusion of the HITS Championship, but one more week of competition remains at HITS Saugerties as riders prepare for the 2022 Marshall and Sterling Insurance League Finals. Exhibitors can also join HITS in Ocala, Florida, for the 2023 winter show season at HITS Post Time Farm. For more information and the complete class listing visit www.hitsshows.com.