Bridgehampton, NY - Beautiful weather kicked off the Opening Day of the prestigious 41st annual Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, NY on August 28. Culminating the Hamptons' famed summer season, this renowned event showcases the highest levels of equestrian show jumping competition over eight days at a world-class venue, for horses and riders of all ages and abilities.
The opening ceremony officially started the show with Hampton Classic Executive Director Shanette Barth Cohen addressing the crowd. "We are super excited about this year's show and all of the additions to the Hampton Classic," said Cohen. "Today's event, the $30,0000 Boar's Head Open Jumper Challenge, presented by Dan's Papers, features Olympian McLain Ward in his first show since leading the US team to a show jumping silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games."
Robert Chaloner, President and CEO of Southampton Hospital, also addressed the crowd. Southampton Hospital has been partnering with the Hampton Classic since its inception and has been the recipient of approximately $2 million in contributions.
Just prior to the start of the $30,000 Boar's Head Open Jumper Speed Challenge, presented by Dan's Papers, Christine Cadarette had the honor of singing the National Anthem. Cadarette is a private vocal and piano teacher and serves as musical director for two area churches. She has been an associate conductor for Broadway shows and National Tours since 1993.
The Hampton Classic has made several additions this year. Opening Day additions include the Boar's Head Open Jumper Challenge, the $10,000 Marders Local Hunter Derby in the Anne Aspinall Ring and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) Thoroughbred Incentive Bonus. NYRA will match all prize money won by American Thoroughbreds on Opening Day.
Earlier in the day, the crowd pleasing Leadline Equitation Division featured nine sections, presented by Brennan's Bit and Bridle, in the Grand Prix ring. The riders 2-4 years old division, sponsored by Sea-Aire, Inc., was won by Jilliana Jimenez of East Hampton, NY riding Miss Sassy, owned by Shelby J. Bauer of Califon, NJ. Arabella Moffit of New York, NY won the division for riders 5-7 years old, sponsored by Hope Geier Smith riding Haley's Comet owned by Cheryl L. Amaral-McKee of Rehoboth, MA. Joe Fargis, winner of the individual and team gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the team silver medal at the 1988 Olympics, judged the future Olympic hopefuls.
Another FEI-recognized Grand Prix event has been added to the Hampton Classic schedule, the $40,000 Sovaro Speed Stake, to take place on Thursday Sept 1. This marquee event means that the Classic will feature four consecutive days of FEI-recognized Grand Prix classes. In addition to the speed stake, the Classic will feature the $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier presented by Longines on Friday; Saturday has the $50,000 Longines Cup; Sunday feature the culminating $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, presented by Longines.
An exciting highlight of the week's open jumper activities is the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge, awarded to the rider who accumulates the most points in nine open jumper classes. The winner receives, in addition to $30,000, a special Longines timepiece. All week long, the leading rider will wear a distinctive Longines Rider Challenge armband whenever he or she rides in the Grand Prix Ring. Shane Sweetnam of Ireland won the Longines Rider Challenge in 2015.
The Hampton Classic also features ASPCA Adoption and Animal Welfare Day on Monday, Aug. 29, an event that helps find permanent homes for rescued, horses, dogs, cats, and rabbits.
For a link to this coverage and for more information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, please visit the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com