Bridgehampton, NY - Kent Farrington became just the fifth rider in the 38-year history of the Hampton Classic to successfully defend his championship in the Classic's featured event, the $250,000 FTI Consulting Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier. Farrington topped the star-studded field on Zafira. He won the event in 2012 on Voyeur.
Farrington's jump-off time of 38.51 seconds defeated Ireland's Richie Moloney on Slieveanorra (40.00 seconds) and Georgina Bloomberg on Juvina (44.03 seconds). Moloney was going for his second grand prix victory in two days, having won the $40,000 Longines Cup on Saturday with Carrabis Z. His second-place finish was good enough to make him the inaugural winner of the Classic's new Longines Rider Challenge which awards $30,000 plus a Longines watch to the Classic's leading Open Jumper rider.
The 38th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show featured six show rings with more than 100 classes for horses and riders of all ages. A wide range of jumper, hunter, equitation, short stirrup and leadline classes are all part of the Classic's eight-day schedule, as well as competitions for riders with disabilities.
Farrington, of Wellington, FL, had planned to defend his FTI Consulting Grand Prix title with Voyeur, who jumped faultlessly to finish fifth in Friday's qualifying event. But he said that on Sunday morning Voyeur had a swollen ankle, so Zafira moved from backup to first string. It was the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare's biggest grand prix start.
"I thought that maybe my odds weren't as good with her as with Voyeur, but I thought she could do it," said Farrington, 32. "This was a big step up for her, and she answered the question."
In becoming the fifth rider to win the Hampton Classic's featured grand prix in consecutive years, Farrington joined Show Jumping Hall of Famers Rodney Jenkins and Michael Matz, and two riders who are still active, Olympic veterans Margie Engle and McLain Ward.
Third place had special meaning for Bloomberg, 30, as she had announced that the Hampton Classic was to be her final show of the year since she is expecting to give birth in December. This was also the first time she'd placed among the top three in the featured grand prix at what she considers her hometown show. Additionally, she said that she tends not to do well when her father, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is in attendance. He was in attendance this time, cheering from the VIP Tent. "So I hope I've broken that spell," she said with a smile.
Dennis Shaughnessy, chairman of FTI Consulting, congratulated the winning riders and expressed his admiration for their performance over the demanding course designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. Only five of the 34 starters reached the jump-off, with another three missing the jump-off by incurring 1 time fault.
"I have to say that this is the best one-week horse show in the world, bar none," Shaughnessy exclaimed.
Farrington echoed his sentiment. "I think this is the best event in the world. Our top riders bring their best horses here, and the management is always trying to keep the show at the highest standard," he said.
$30,000 Longines Rider Challenge and Other FEI Grand Prix
On Saturday, Moloney and Carrabis Z won the $40,000 Longines Cup as the only one of three jump-off pairs to finish faultlessly. The day before, Moloney, of Riverhead, NY, rode Slieveanorra to second place in the $50,000 Spy Coast Farm/Young Horse Show Series Grand Prix Qualifier. Those two performances, combined with his second place in the FTI Consulting Grand Prix, propelled him to the top of the Longines Leading Rider Challenge.
$30,000 Longines Rider Challenge and Other FEI Grand Prix
"I don't have any special plans for the money, but I sure have a lot of bills to pay," said Moloney, 31, after receiving the $30,000 check. "I'm really happy, though, because I had my best results in the show's biggest classes. It's the best result of my career."
"The Challenge is definitely something I'd like to win," said Goutal, 24, who finished second after winning the $15,000 Lugano Diamonds Speed Derby and the $10,000 Wölffer Estate Open Jumper classes. "It's an amazing bonus and a wonderful incentive, something that all of us are thinking about and hoping to win. I think that things like this add to the allure of the show."
In the Longines Cup, Catherine Pasmore rode Zaragosa to second place (4 faults/41.01 seconds), and Ronan McGuigan rode Capall Zidane to third place (4 faults/42.08 seconds). Moloney and Carrabis Z completed their faultless winning round in 43.86 seconds.
McLain Ward won Friday's $50,000 Spy Coast Farm/Young Horse Show Series Grand Prix Qualifier, the first of three FEI-recognized Grand Prix held at the Classic. Riding Rothchild, he stopped the timers in 38.40 seconds to claim the win for the third straight year. He also rode Zander to third place, finishing in 39.62 seconds. "He's an experienced horse, and he felt really good today," said Ward, 37, about Rothchild.
Young Jumper Championships Draw Future Stars
Devin Ryan rode Dillandra to the $20,000 SHF Enterprises 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship, Ward rode Adele to the $30,000 Split Rock Farm 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship, and Jeffrey Welles rode Bilion to the $30,000 Callan Solem Show Stables 7/8-Year-old East Coast Jumper Championship. All three championships had their deciding rounds in the Grand Prix Ring.
Press Wins Hunter Derby and Stewart Adds To List of Hunter Titles
Victoria Press, of New York, NY, rode her horse Mayfair to victory in the $50,000 Hampton Classic Hunter Derby, presented by MeadowView Farms, on the opening day of the Classic. Press, at 14 the youngest rider in the 42-horse starting field, confidently guided Mayfair to the best score of the second round to claim the blue ribbon.
Press has been showing at the Hampton Classic since she was the short stirrup champion on her pony Irish Rain at age 6. "Every time I come here, I remember that first year, and I want to do even better. But this is the first time I really have done better," said Press, a sophomore in high school. "This was more special than this show has ever been for me."
Scott Stewart rode Everly to the High Performance Hunter Championship and Showman to the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship. Everly also took the reserve championship in the Regular Conformation division. "The courses are always so great here, and it's really a 'show' atmosphere. It's definitely a special occasion, and we always look forward to coming here," said Stewart, 49, of Wellington, FL.
He said that his horses usually perform well in the Hampton Classic hunter rings, partly because he aims them specifically for it. "We try to peak for this show, for sure," he said. And some, like Everly, really respond to the show's charged atmosphere and to the grass footing in the Anne Aspinall Hunter Ring. "I think horses jump well on this field. They like jumping on the grass."
Just as she did in 2012, Victoria Colvin won two junior hunter championships on horses owned by Dr. Betsee Parker and trained by Stewart. Her victories were on the same two horses-Ovation won the Grand Junior Hunter Championship after winning the Small Junior Hunter, 15 and Under title, and Way Cool won the Large Junior Hunter Championship, 15 and Under title. Way Cool also earned the Junior Hunter High-Score Award for scoring 92 points in one round.
"He really likes this ring-I think he likes the grass- and he jumps great in it," said Colvin, 15, of Wellington, FL. Colvin also took the top two places in the $10,000 Hermés Hunter Classic on horses owned by Parker, finishing first on Dedication and second on Way Cool.
Lillie Keenan, 16, won the Large Junior Hunter, 16-17, Championship on Walk The Line. The tricolor ribbon was one in a series of victories for Keenan, of New York City. In the Grand Prix Ring, she won the $20,000 Hampton Classic Time Challenge and the Sam Edelman Equitation Championship. She rode a total of eight horses in the jumper, hunter and equitation divisions.
"Walk The Line is a quirky horse, but a whole lot of fun," said Keenan. "He jumps unlike any other horse I've ever ridden-he really fires over the jumps. At every fence he gives a crazy effort and jumps a 10, if not an 11. He really wants to win."
The Children's Hunter divisions climaxed with four $2,500 Marshall & Sterling Hunter Classics, one each for the two pony sections and one each for the two horse age groups.
Caroline Cline, of New York, NY, rode Small Talk to victory in the $2,500 Marshall & Sterling Children's Hunter Horse, 15-17 Years Classic. The 17-year-old junior at Riverdale Country School took the lead in the first round and achieved an even better performance in the second round. "I have a great horse and a great trainer, so I didn't really feel any pressure," said Cline, who trains with Bonnie Cunniffe.
For the fourth consecutive year, Ellen Toon, of South Salem, NY, rode Invincible to the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship. Invincible was also the show's Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Champion. "He's always just fabulous" in the Hampton Classic's Anne Aspinall Hunter Ring, said Toon. "Plus he's a seasoned horse, so we trust each other, and I have a fabulous trainer." Her trainer is her husband, professional trainer Jim Toon.
Keenan Claims Sam Edelman Equitation Championship
Lillie Keenan won the two-round Sam Edelman Equitation Championship, presented by The Chronicle of the Horse, scoring 175.5 points. Charlotte Jacobs finished second with 171.
Keenan was disappointed in her first-round performance, which left her in fifth place with a score of 85.5. So she put it all on the line for round 2. "I definitely put way too much pressure on myself in the first round," said Keenan. "I rode too timidly, and I worried too much about making everything too perfect. So I knew that if I was going to get the kind of score I needed to win, I really had to go for it and take every opportunity to put in a winning round."
Keenan rode Levistano 2, owned by Heritage Farm, where she trains with Andre Dignelli and his team. They won the $10,000 trainers' award as a result of Keenan's victory.
Scoring a 90, Keenan earned the highest score of the top-placed 15 riders who returned for round 2. Leader Michael Hughes scored a 93 in round 1 but slumped to a 76 in round 2, to fall to fourth place. Jacobs stood second after round 1 with a 91, and her second-round score of 80 kept her there. Third place went to 13-year-old McKayla Langmeier.
ASPCA Adoption Day, Optimum Kids Day, Celebrities and More
Optimum® Kids Day proved once again to be a huge hit, culminating children's activities that took place all week long. Thousands of children enjoyed pony rides, a petting zoo, wildlife exhibits and much more, just a few steps from the action in the Grand Prix Ring.
ASPCA Adoption Day, Optimum Kids Day, Celebrities and More
Two donkeys named Rose and Violet and a former racehorse named Nate were the most popular animals during ASPCA Adoption Day. All three equines were rescued by the Project Sage Horse Rescue, which brought them to the Hampton Classic to be part of the day's activities.
Hayley Barnhill, who won a Local Professional Hunter Rider championship ribbon, rode Nate around the Anne Aspinall Hunter Ring for about 10 minutes, at all three gaits, to demonstrate his demeanor and his training. Barnhill, a former ASPCA Maclay National champion, had never ridden the 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding before. "He was great and easy to ride. I had a lot of fun on him," Barnhill said.
A highlight of Opening Day was the presentation of the Long Island Sportsmanship Award, given annually to a Long Island horseperson who has demonstrated excellence in sportsmanship over a long period of years. Show President Dennis Suskind presented this year's award to Dr. Sally Lynch, director of Old Field Farm.
From 1988 to 1994, Lynch was a post-doctoral fellow and research assistant at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and from 1991 to 1997 she served as a technical consultant to investment management organizations in the areas of biotechnology and medical services. But it was for her leadership, during the last decade, to restore and revitalize Old Field Farm that she received what Suskind described as "an overwhelming number of nominations" for the prestigious award. Old Field Farm is a historic Long Island landmark equestrian facility.
For the eighth consecutive year, the Hampton Classic hosted the championship finals for the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities, with riders in three divisions competing for year-end titles. Bridgehampton National Bank sponsored the day of competition for riders with disabilities, and Kevin O'Connor, the bank's CEO and president, handed out the ribbons and trophies. USEF judge Gary Duffy awarded the championships.
Prior to the start of the FTI Consulting Grand Prix, the Classic held two special ceremonies. First was the official retirement of Glasgow, a show jumping star owned by Judy Richter and Coker Farm and ridden by Norman Dello Joio. Among his grand prix victories were the President's Cup at the Washington International Horse Show, the King George V Cup at Hickstead (England), and the American Invitational in Florida. After his grand prix career ended, Philip Richter rode him to numerous amateur-owner victories at major shows.
Next was the inaugural awarding of the George Hennessy Award for Excellence to Henry F. "Hank" Hulick, who after his years as a horse show exhibitor became a pioneer in equine welfare. Recognizing a need for improved security in stabling areas, Hulick established "Horse Watch," a company with the mission of protecting horses while stabled overnight at shows. His revolutionary idea has become the standard for competitions across the country.
George Hennessey, for whom the award was named, was highly respected as the founder and owner of Hennessey Horse Transportation. He suffered a fatal heart attack earlier this year while transporting a rescued pony to its new home.
Celebrity judges Annette Lauer and Beth Stern chose the Long Island Livestock Company as their favorite boutique among the more than 80 present at the Hampton Classic. "It was very organic and unique. It left everyone else in the dust," said Lauer, wife of "Today Show" host Matt Lauer. She and Stern, wife of Howard Stern, chose Handmade On Peconic Bay as the runner-up. Hermés was third.
The Classic also recognized the best designed tables in its famed VIP tents as selected by HC&G (Hamptons Cottages and Gardens magazine). Honored as winner was Fair Play Farm, followed by the tables of Marder's and Bright Side Farm.
Katherine Strauss, of Southampton, NY, received the 2013 SHALANNO Style of Riding Award as the junior jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation as modeled by Olympic medalists Joe Fargis, Conrad Homfeld and George Morris. The award recipient must have the respectful, dignified, courteous and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman.
This year's Hampton Classic featured its usual impressive line-up of celebrity attendees including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Jon Bon Jovi, Mary-Kate Olsen, Billy Joel, Jerry Seinfeld, Sophia Vergara, LA Reid, Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, Christie Brinkley, James Lipton, Martha Stewart, Aida Turturro, Robert Davi, Kyle MacLachlan, Jill Rappaport, Tina Louise and hockey Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert.
Further information on the Hampton Classic is available at the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or by calling 631-537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.