Bridgehampton, NY—September 1, 2011— McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, found the route to victory on Oh d’ Eole in the $15,000 Prudential Douglas Elliman 1.45m Open Jumper class at the 36th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, NY, on Thursday.
The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist had the benefit of three mounts in the class, testing the course with Vocas, owned by Louisburg Farm, and then making the jump-off with Rothchild, owned by Sagamore Farms, and Oh d’ Eole.
“With my first horse I was just going for a nice round,” said Ward. “I was trying to be competitive with the other two, but with Rothchild I made a little bit of a foolish error. They had a little bit of an angle to a new jump in the jump-off and I tested it a little too hard on him and had a run-out, but I was able to correct it on Oh d’ Eole.”
The field of 57 yielded 11 in the jump off, with Shane Sweetnam of Wellington, FL, setting the pace going clear in 41.038 seconds on Triviant, owned by Spy Coast Farm. Kent Farrington of Chicago, IL, took over the lead on Valhalla, owned by Haity McNerny, with no rails down in 39.702 seconds and stayed on top until Ward entered the ring with Oh d’ Eole clinching the victory with a clear round in 38.660 seconds. Ward said he was happy to be a winner again at the Classic.
"This show has been very good to me,” said Ward. “I affectionately refer to it as ‘my home.’ I’m lucky here. My horses always do great and I’m very happy to be here.”
Farrington finished second, and Darragh Kerins of Ridgefield, CT, was third on Hot Wheels, owned by Miranda Fischer.
Paulena Johnson of Wellington, FL, won the $5,000 Newsday Amateur Owner Jumper (1.40m) class earlier in the day on Quastor Van De Donkhoeve, owned by Paulexi, LLC, in a time of 56.863 seconds. Jay Land of Alpharetta, GA and Nepal were second in a time of 57.184 and Danielle Cooper of Oyster Bay, NY was third on Kosta with a time of 57.579 seconds. Johnson was the last to go in the field of 30, and it played to her advantage.
“Since I went last I was able to watch a couple go. I saw Jay Land and he was flying and I didn’t think that I would be able to catch him, but I just went and I didn’t have to touch the reins the whole time. It was great, really fun,” said Johnson. “This is my first big win here. I got my horse exactly a year ago and last year this show was my first one with him. And now this was our first time in the High Amateur-Owner class and he won, so I’m very happy.”
This is also the first year Johnson is showing as an Amateur and at 19-years of age, she is among the youngest. “I’m probably the youngest in the class, so it’s a little overwhelming at times but it feels good to win here,” said Johnson. “There’s a lot of tough competition and I’m showing against the best of the best of the Amateurs, but when you win it really does feel good.”
One of the most prestigious horse shows in the nation, the Hampton Classic managed to keep almost its entire competition schedule, albeit compressed from eight days into five. The Classic runs through Sunday, September 4 when it culminates with the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup Qualifier.
The Classic’s revised show schedule is available on line at the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com. The Classic is also providing frequent updates on its Facebook page.
For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen online at www.wvvh.tv.
Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available on 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.