Kevin Babington and Richie Moloney Take Top Honors at 39th Annual Hampton Classic

 Kevin Babington and Shorapur Win $250,000 Grand Prix. Photo by: Shawn McMillen
Kevin Babington and Shorapur Win $250,000 Grand Prix. Photo by: Shawn McMillen

Bridgehampton, NY - Sep. 3, 2014 - Kevin Babington of Ireland guided the nine-year-old, Hanoverian mare, Shorapur, to the fastest fault-free jump-off time (39.16 seconds) to claim the $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, presented by Land Rover, in an exciting climax to the 39th Annual Hampton Classic.

Brianne Goutal of New York City rode Nice De Prissey to second place (0 faults/40.34 seconds), and Richie Moloney of Ireland rode Freestyle De Muze to third place, with 4 faults in 44.26 seconds. Ramiro Quintana of Argentina was the only other rider to reach the jump-off and he guided Whitney to fourth place with 8 faults in 38.58 seconds.

The Hampton Classic ran from August 24-31, offering competition in six rings for more than 1,500 horses. The Hampton Classic Grand Prix was an FEI-sanctioned qualifying event for the 2015 Longines FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas next April.

Moloney's third-place finish put him on top in the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge for the second consecutive year, earning 300 points from the week's 10 open jumper classes. Fellow Irishman Darragh Kenny had held the lead with 283 points before leaving the Classic on Saturday night to join the Irish team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France; his total through Saturday held up for the runner-up spot with Quintana finishing third and Shane Sweetnam of Ireland taking fourth.

"It was nice to go into the jump-off knowing that I'd done it already," Moloney said. "I had a great week, and winning the Longines award was a great way to finish it off."

Guilherme Jorge of Brazil designed all the courses in the Grand Prix Ring, and the track he set for the Grand Prix proved considerably challenging to the 33 riders from five nations who attempted it. Jorge agreed with the three winners' evaluation that the second half of the course was especially demanding. "It was certainly a long course, with challenges worthy of a $250,000 World Cup qualifier," he said. "I was happy that the faults were spread out over the course."

 Richard Moloney Recieves Longines Award. Photo by: Shawn McMillen
Richard Moloney Recieves Longines Award. Photo by: Shawn McMillen

Moloney led off the jump-off round in front of the 15,000 fans surrounding the Grand Prix Ring. He said that Freestyle De Muze, 10, is relatively inexperienced at this level and isn't a fast horse. Plus, he knew before the class that he only had to finish fourth to win the Longines Award, meaning that with only four in the jump-off, he was guaranteed of that prize even if he was the slowest rider. So he approached the shortened course conservatively. Freestyle De Muze knocked down only the second-to-last fence, the Longines oxer.

Quintana's plan was clearly to better Moloney's time, and he did it easily, but with two rails, leaving the door wide open for Babington.

"I had planned to go medium fast, even before I watched Richie and Ramiro go," said Babington. "It was a careful jump-off-you had to jump all the jumps before you worried about your speed. But she's a naturally fast mare, so I can have a fast time without even trying."

Goutal, 25, said that she "didn't want to go crazy fast, but I think I played it a little too safe."

Darragh Kenny Wins $40,000 Longines Cup
The Hampton Classic also offered FEI-sanctioned grand prix events on Saturday (the $40,000 Longines Cup, presented by the Crown Family) and on Friday (the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix, presented by Longines).

Kenny's victory in the $40,000 Longines Cup, just before leaving for Normandy, came when he galloped Picolo to the fastest fault-free ride in the jump-off (40.32 seconds). Quintana, riding Versus, had taken the lead at the start of the jump-off with a clean ride in 41.73 seconds and his lead held until the last ride of the day. Lillie Keenan, of New York City, finished third with a clean ride in 42.53 seconds on Balance.

Kenny accepted a Longines Conquest Sport Timepiece from Juan-Carlos Capelli, Longines vice president, head of international marketing. "I'm especially glad I won this class, because I've always wanted a Longines watch," he said. "I'm very glad to be riding for Ireland in my first World Championship, but I didn't want to miss this show, because this is a very important show to me. I've been aiming for this class especially with Picolo, because he's been coming up to it perfectly. I thought all week that he was capable of winning it if I could set him up right."

Setting him up for the Longines Cup included winning the $20,000 Hampton Classic Jumper Challenge on Tuesday.

Molly Ashe-Cawley and Carissimo won the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier, presented by Longines. Photo by: Shawn McMillen
Molly Ashe-Cawley and Carissimo won the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier, presented by Longines. Photo by: Shawn McMillen

On Friday, Molly Ashe-Cawley of Wellington, FL and Carissimo scored a comeback victory in the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier, presented by Longines. Their jump-off time of 43.80 seconds defeated Karen Polle, representing Japan, on With Wings (44.38) and Ronan McGuigan, representing Ireland, on Capall Zidane (46.99).

In 2012, Carissimo, a 14-year-old gelding, pulled off his right front shoe while making a turn in the jump-off in the Classic's $250,000 grand prix, causing him to nearly fall at a jump. Ashe-Cawley later sold him to current owner Olivia Jack, who had the showing duties until she left for college in August. Her departure left Ashe-Cawley reunited with Carissimo just in time for this year's Classic.

The 2012 mishap "was a bummer because he was going so well. But he was spectacular out here today-he couldn't have gone any better," said Ashe-Cawley.

The Longines Conquest Sport Timepiece she received had a special meaning to her. Ashe-Cawley recalled that eight years ago she won his and hers watches for winning the grand prix in Dublin (Ireland), and she gave them to her grooms as thank-you presents. "But I'm not doing that again. I'm definitely holding on to this one!" she said.

Throughout the week, the Classic earned rave reviews from the riders for the improved footing in the Grand Prix Ring.

Juniors and Amateurs
Junior and amateur riders and young horses also spent time in the spotlight of the Grand Prix Ring. In the $25,000 Marders Show Jumping Derby, just two of 30 starters qualified for the jump-off, where Promised Land, with Addison Gierkink, defeated Chamonix H, with Kelli Cruciotti. Both riders lowered one rail, but Gierkink galloped across the finish in 37.91 seconds, almost 2 seconds faster than Cruciotti (39.29 seconds).

Gierkink, 18, said "It's a big honor for me just to ride in this class, let alone to win it. I rode in the Hampton Classic for the first time last year and I didn't even qualify for this class. I've come a long way."

Following the Derby, Lucy Deslauriers was honored with the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Style of Riding Award as the junior jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation as modeled by Show Jumping Hall of Famers Joe Fargis, Conrad Homfeld and George Morris.

On Thursday, Madison Goetzmann aboard her own Wendalineke won the $5,000 EnTrust Junior Jumper Classic.  Lucas Porter rode Sleepy P. Ranch LLC's Psychee D'Amour to the second place, with Lauren Fischer on her Norton De La Sapaie picking up the third place honors.

Also Thursday, Christina Firestone rode Zodiac to victory in the $5,000 Strong's Marine Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Sarah Ryan, riding Orleen, placed second, while Firestone claimed third place on Chantilly.

Those two ribbons propelled Zodiac to the Amateur-Owner Jumper 1.30m Championship, for which Firestone received the Firefly Challenge Trophy, a trophy newly established by Board Member Philip Richter in honor of Hampton Classic co-Founder, Christophe de Menil.  Firestone's Chantilly won the Reserve Championship. Both warmblood mares are owned by Firestone's grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone, who also bred Zodiac, 10.

On Saturday afternoon, Chloe Reid celebrated her birthday with an impressive win over 46 starters in the $15,000 Carolex Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Presented by The Deslauriers Family and Lynne Tarnopol. Reid claimed the win on Athena.

On Saturday morning, Devin Ryan rode Eddie Blue to victory in the $20,000 SHF Enterprises YJC 5-Year-Old Final, presented by North Star, and Cody Auer rode Imerald Van Het Voorhof to victory in the $30,000 Split Rock Farm YJC 6-Year-Old Final. The $30,000 7-8 Year-Old Final, presented by Callan Solem Show Stables, was held Sunday morning with the win going to Calais ridden by Jeffery Welles. The finals were the culmination of the Young Jumper Championship's 2014 season.

Michael Hughes won the Sam Edelman Equitation Championship. Photo by: The Book LLC 2014
Michael Hughes won the Sam Edelman Equitation Championship. Photo by: The Book LLC 2014

Sam Edelman Equitation Championship
Michael Hughes topped 36 other riders, with a two-round total of 179 points, to win the Sam Edelman Equitation Championship. Victoria Colvin finished second (177.5 points), and Kelli Cruciotti finished third (171 points).

The Sam Edelman Equitation Championship's format requires riders to negotiate two rounds, over two different courses, in the sprawling Grand Prix Ring. "It's different from all the other equitation championships, because of the two rounds in this big ring. It takes a special horse to come in and do this class," said Hughes, 18. "This means a lot to me because I've been riding in it for so many years-and I finally did it," he added. He said in the last five years he's gotten a ribbon every year, including a second place and a fourth place.

The Atlantic Opening Day
Patricia Griffith, riding Black Label, won the $50,000 Clear Channel Hunter Derby, presented by MeadowView Farms, to highlight The Atlantic Opening Day. Black Label scored 179 points over the two rounds to defeat Carrico (Callie Seaman, 171) and Pioneer (Victoria Colvin, 165). Thirty horses started, with the top 12 returning for the second round.

Patricia Griffith, riding Black Label, won the $50,000 Clear Channel Hunter Derby, presented by MeadowView Farms. Photo by: ESI
Patricia Griffith, riding Black Label, won the $50,000 Clear Channel Hunter Derby, presented by MeadowView Farms. Photo by: ESI

"I've always loved riding in this field, so this is really special to me," said Griffith. "I always say this is my favorite show-it's really a showplace event. It's the show I look forward to every year. I've been coming here since I was 10, and I'm 37 now."

Horses stabled on Long Island also had their day in the spotlight on The Atlantic Opening Day. They competed in five restricted hunter divisions, jumping on the grass in the Anne Aspinall Hunter Ring or next door in Hunter Ring 2.

Saratoga, ridden by Holly Orlando, and Tivoli, ridden by Laura Bowery, were the Grand Local Hunter Co-Champions. They each won a section of the Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists Local Working Hunter Professional division. Saratoga also won a section of this division in 2013, ridden then by Hayley Barnhill. Tivoli, with owner Anne Byers, aboard, also secured the Local Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship.

Clever Z, ridden by M.L. Stevenson, won the Local Hunter Non-Professional division. Landis, ridden by Sabrina Kalimian, won the Revco Local Junior Hunter Championship

Hunters, Ponies and More
On the show's closing day, Stephanie Danhakl of Pacific Palisades, CA, rode her horses Golden Rule and Enough Said to first and second places in the $10,000 Hermès Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic.

Danhakl, rode Golden Rule, 10, to the first round's top score, an 88, and returned in the second round to score an 82. Since her two horses were the last two to perform in the second round, it meant she'd already clinched first place with Golden Rule when she returned on Enough Said, 8. But she galloped and jumped him to the best second-round score, an 86.

"When I went in the second time on Golden Rule, I was a little nervous, and I don't usually get that way. So I rode a little defensively. ­I was basically trying not to lose," Danhakl said.

Enough Said was the Amateur-Owner Hunter (3'3"), 18-35, Champion, and Golden Rule was the Amateur-Owner Hunter (3'6"), 18-35, Champion.

Victoria Colvin, 16, earned the most awards in the Junior Hunter division. She was named the Grand Champion Junior Hunter Rider after winning the Small Junior Hunter, 16-17, Championship and Reserve awards, the Large Junior Hunter, 16-17, Reserve Championship, and she rode two of the three horses who tied for the Junior Hunter High-Score Award.

Ovation won the Small Junior Hunter, 16-17, title over Canadian Blue. Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, owns both horses. This was the fourth time that Ovation has won the Raynes Perpetual Cup that goes to the winner of Small Junior Hunter Grand Championship, a feat never accomplished before. Ovation was also named the Grand Hunter Champion.

Way Cool, also owned by Parker, won the Large Junior Hunter, 16-17, Reserve Championship, and he tied with Inclusive, owned by Parker, and Garfield, owned by Rose Hill Farm and ridden by Cloe Hymowitz, for the Junior Hunter High-Score Award and the Deanne Vallier Dominguez Memorial Trophy. All three horses achieved a class score of 88.

Hymowitz rode Garfield to the Large Junior Hunter, 16-17, Championship. Her sister, Lilli, rode Enjoy to the Small Junior Hunter, 15 & Under, Reserve Championship and Tiffani to the Large Junior Hunter, 15 & Under, Reserve Championship. The sisters rode a total of 15 horses.

Caroline Passarelli and Sophie Gochman notched the highest honors in the pony division. Passarelli, 13, won the $2,500 Pony Hunter Classic on Dr. Betsee Parker's Bit of Love, and Gochman, 11, was named best child rider on a pony after winning the Medium Pony Hunter Championship on Truly Noble and finishing third in the Pony Hunter Classic on Laugh Out Loud. Bit of Love also won the Small Pony Hunter and the Grand Pony Hunter Championships.

Scarlett Lee Aylsworth rode Alamo to the Children's Hunter Grand Championship. En route to the grand championship among the seven divisions, Aylsworth, 14, and Alamo clinched the tricolor in the Children's Hunter Horse, 14 & Under, Sec. B.

Haley Barnhill rode Fonteyn to the championship in The Chronicle of the Horse High-Performance Hunter division. Scott Stewart said he usually brings about 50 horses to the Hampton Classic, and three of them won hunter championships: Showman, owned by Krista Weisman, won the Regular Conformation Hunter championship for the second consecutive year; Lucador, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, won the Green Conformation Hunter championship; and Loyalty, owned by Fashion Farm, won the Second Year Green Hunter Championship. Stewart was named the Leading Hunter Rider.

Other Classic Events
Monday was ASPCA Adoption and Animal Welfare Day at the Hampton Classic. Six local rescue groups brought dogs and cats to be available for adoption, many of which found new homes.

ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassadors Georgina Bloomberg and Hayley Barnhill and NBC's Animal Welfare Advocate Jill Rappaport, along with James Hastie, executive director of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, hosted a program advocating adopting horses from rescue organizations. Four adoptable horses joined them in the Anne Aspinall Hunter Ring, including a 22-year-old, Thoroughbred mare whom Barnhill rode around the ring.

For the ninth 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 competition and Kevin O'Connor, the bank's CEO and president, handed out the ribbons and trophies. Hermès provided coolers to the champions, thanks to the sponsorship of Priscilla Gremillion. Prior to the competition, Olympic veteran Mario Deslauriers presented LIHSSRD ribbons to the riders.

USEF judge Gary Duffy awarded the following championships:
    LIHSSRD Advanced Equitation Spotter/Independent-Steven Snyder of Brightwaters, NY, riding Blu. Tyler Havlicek rode Showdown to the reserve championship.
    LIHSSRD Beginner Equitation Spotter/Independent-Alex Donlon of Hicksville, NY, riding Max Marks The Spot. Bonnie Bokser of Farmingdale, NY, won the reserve championship on Knight In Shining Armor.
    LIHSSRD Equitation With Aids-Alexandria Economou of Muttontown, NY, riding Keep The Melody. Emory Shapses of Plainview, NY, was the reserve champion on Robin Hood.

Optimum® Kids Day, Saturday August 30, was a huge hit at the Classic. More than 1,000 children enjoyed free admission, free pony rides, a petting zoo, wildlife exhibits, musical entertainment, magic acts and much more, just a few steps from the action in the Grand Prix Ring and in the hunter rings.

Special Awards
For 30 years, the Hampton Classic benefited from the guidance of equestrian manager Steve Stephens. Earlier this year, Stephens announced his retirement from the Classic and he was honored in a center-ring ceremony before the start of the Grand Prix. After a successful career as a grand prix rider, Stephens established himself as one of the leading course designers in the world. He was also the proprietor of Stephens Equestrian Designs and jumps in the Grand Prix Ring, featuring many of the show's sponsors, were designed by him and built by his company. In 2013, the USHJA honored Stephens with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and earlier this year, he was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.

Hermès (Americana Manhasset) won the blue ribbon as the best of the more than 80 boutiques in the Classic's Boutique Garden and Stable Row. Judges Samantha Yanks, editor of Hamptons magazine, and Michael Grim, of Bridgehampton Florist and a regular guest on the Food Network's "Barefoot Contessa," selected the Hermès boutique over those of Wellington & Company Equestrian Antiques and Long Island Livestock Co., the 2013 winner.

"Last year, we finished third, so we knew we had to step it up this year to win," said Priscilla Smith of Hermès. "We're now an official sponsor and supplier for the U.S. Equestrian Federation, and I think those products gave us some snap. But we also have a strong presence in silk this year, and we've brought out a lot of exciting colors too."

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 the table of Benhamo/Thomas, followed by those of English Country Antiques and the Crown Family.

Cara Raether won the Breeders' Cup "Classic to Classic" sweepstakes, winning 2 VIP tickets to the 2014 Breeders' Cup World Championships in Santa Anita Park.

Jennifer Lopez attended this year's Hampton Classic. Photo by: Victor Cangro
Jennifer Lopez attended this year's Hampton Classic. Photo by: Victor Cangro

As always, this year's  Hampton Classic featured its usual impressive line-up of celebrity attendees including megastar Jennifer Lopez, former New York City Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani, Congressman Peter King, musicians Jimmy Buffet and Bill Evans, television stars Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, Gayle King, Jill Rappaport, Mary-Kate Olsen, Luis Ortiz, Frederik Eklund, LuAnn de Lesseps, Jill and Bobby Zarin, Noelle Reno and James Lipton, hockey Hall of Famer Rod Gilbert and Sports Illustrated Swim Suit model Julie Henderson.

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.




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