Star-studded lineup includes Olympic veterans

Horsing Around At The Hampton Classic




Independent/Shannon Brinkman

Topping the world-class field at this year’s Hampton Classic Horse Show is two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward, a four-time Olympic veteran who also won the individual gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games, the 2017 Longines International Federation for Equestrian Sports World Cup Final, and was part of the gold medal U.S. team at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games. Last year, Ward won the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix for a record seventh time.

Ward is set to compete against 60 other riders from 10 different nations in the 2019 Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton August 25 to September 1. The 44th annual event offers more than $800,000 in prize money and features five FEI classes.

More than 1500 horses take part in 200 hunter, jumper, and equitation classes in six show rings. The schedule features competitions for horses and riders of all ages and abilities, ranging from children’s leadline classes to grand prix jumping, and also hosts classes for riders with disabilities. The world-class 65-acre show grounds features the Agneta Currey Boutique Garden with more than 80 vendors, and a dozen international food options as well as exclusive VIP areas.

Those who successfully complete Friday’s $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix qualifier will compete for the $300,000 Grand Prix title Sunday, September 1.

Additional FEI classes include Wednesday’s $10,000 Palm Beach Masters Open Jumper, Thursday’s $40,000 Speed Stake, and Saturday’s $72,000 Longines Cup. These prestigious FEI classes, as well as several other classes held throughout the week, award points toward the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge, which awards the cash prize plus a Longines watch to the rider accumulating the most points in the Open Jumper division. The winner will be presented after the Grand Prix.

Some of the other challengers, including other Olympic veterans and Grand Prix champions, hail from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, and Venezuela.

It will be a family affair for some Canadian riders. Olympic veteran Mario Deslauriers, who won the FEI World Cup final in 1984 at just 19 years old, and who took fourth place in the Hampton Classic Grand Prix last year, will be competing against his daughter, Lucy. Deslauriers recently rode on the Canadian team at the Pan American Games in Peru, where he finished 15th individually. Jonathan Millar, a World Equestrian Games veteran, will be competing against his wife Kelly Soleau-Millar, who rides for the U.S., and his sister Amy Millar, who was a member of the fourth-placed Canadian Team at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Two-time Olympic veteran Daniel Bluman of Israel, who won the Hampton Classic Grand Prix in 2017, will be joined by his cousins Ilan Bluman and Mark Bluman, who are brothers and compete for Colombia.

“We are thrilled to have such a stellar lineup of competitors coming to this year’s Hampton Classic,” said Hampton Class Horse Show Executive Director Shanette Barth Cohen. “It’s so exciting for spectators to be able to see so many of the sport’s top riders, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone for our 44th annual show.”

Daily admission to the Hampton Classic is $10 per person — children under six are admitted free — or $20 per carload. Admission is free on Monday, August 26. There is limited competition this day, but boutiques, exhibition tent, and the animal welfare and adoption are open. Seniors are admitted free Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Saturday, August 31, children under 12 are admitted for free and each receives a free pony ride. Parking is also free.

Grandstand tickets for the Grand Prix on Sunday, September 1, are $45 per person for bucket seating in all sections and are on sale now. Visit www.hamptonclassic.com/grandstand-tickets to book a seat.

For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, all Grand Prix and Anne Aspinall ring competitions will be broadcasted live for free on the Hampton Classic website. WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day. These broadcasts can also be seen online at www.wvvh.tv.

desiree@indyeastend.com