Georgina Bloomberg rode into first place during the $30,000 Boar’s Head Jumper Challenge — the Hampton Classic’s Opening Day Grand Prix — winning a $9000 purse on Sunday, August 26, at Sayre Field in Bridgehampton.
Bloomberg, who lives in Manhattan but spends a lot of time out in the Hamptons, beat out 42 starters, including top competitors like McLain Ward, Peter Leone, and Richard Maloney, in the ring. In a press release, Bloomberg said she had a “decisive moment” in the jump-off round as her mount, Paola 233, landed from fence six, pivoting on one foot to the left toward the final combination without having to add any extra steps to complete the turn. Bloomberg, following her victory lap, described Paola as a really quick horse that can turn on a dime. “This was Paola’s only class this week at the horse show. We really focused on this and this was, in fact, my main goal for the week — to win this class. It feels great to have achieved it,” she said.
Runner-up in the event was Canadian veteran Olympic rider Mario Deslauriers, with his 11-year-old mare Cherrypop, owned by Wishing Well Farm LLC of Sands Point. Bloomberg finished the course with no faults and a time of 30.691 and Deslauriers, 31.396.
Hampton Classic Executive Director Shanette Barth Cohen said it was nice to see a local girl win the event.
“Georgina won, which is exciting for us because she is a board member and she is really engaged in our show,” she said, adding the Bloomberg is a great supporter of Adoption Day, which was held the following day, on Monday, August 27. “It’s good to see a hometown girl win.”
Local rider Sandra Ferrell took the $10,000 Marders’ Local Hunter Derby atop Stephanie Bulger’s Hemingway, scoring 95 points — in a field that saw 39 horses — in the Anne Aspinall Hunter Ring.
Ferrell described the Handy Round, which included a long gallop to the first fence and a tight rollback and a trot-fence, as every rider’s nemesis. She said that when she and her mount, nicknamed “Ernie” after his namesake writer Ernest Hemingway, arrived at the trot jump, she ordered him to lift his legs and what happened from there became a leap of faith.
“He went into the ring and he just kept jumping better and better in such beautiful form. He really rose to the occasion. It’s late in the evening, it’s cooler out now, and it’s dinner time. You don’t really know what will happen in that kind of stressful situation. He just kept going. He did so much more than we ever expected,” she stated.
Barth Cohen said the event was designed for Long Island riders.
“That competition is for horses that are based on Long Island. So, they have to have been stabled on Long Island for the past 75 days. If they leave the island to go to horse shows or for a period of time in Florida, that is fine because they are really Long Island-based horses most of the time. It’s a really fun competition,” she said.
The youngest riders also had their chance to shine on Opening Day.
In the Leadline classes for ages two-to-four, was Vivienne Van Lith of Brooklyn, NY with Thumbalina, Ian Luca Roman of Wellington, FL with Buttons & Bows, Mariela D’Agostino, of New York, NY with Ledinjadon Exclusively Dun, and Zachary Zukerman of Huntington, NY with Flower Power. In the Leadline class for five-to-seven-year-olds, was Isabelle Perkins of New York, NY with Strawberry Smoothie, Ava Patino of Bridgehampton with Longacre Red Rhapsody, Olivia Levine of Bridgehampton with Cocoa Caliente, and Ce Ce Henes of New York, NY with Shananigans.
The children were judged by Olympic Gold Medalist Joe Fargis, who asks each child a question as part of the competition, according to Barth Cohen. “He really takes his time with them and it’s really a great experience for those kids,” she said.
The week’s events culminate with the $70,000 Longines Cup on Saturday and the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix on Sunday.
For those who cannot make it to the week’s events, it will be livestreamed through www.hamptonclassic.com. The official television station of the Hampton Classic, WVVH-TV, will also broadcast up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic on www.wvvh.tv. Most of the Classic’s other classes are also available on ShowNet.biz.