The 44th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show dazzled and excited, and myriad prestigious titles and more than $800,000 in prize money were awarded, including the $300,000 Grand Prix CSI4* won by two-time Canadian Olympic veteran Mario Deslauriers on his mount, Bardolina. He and his horse finished just ahead of his 20-year-old daughter, Lucy, and her mount, Hester, September 1.
The Deslauriers family had added reason to celebrate after the Sunday win. Lucy, who just returned from being part of the U.S. bronze-medal-winning team at the Pan American Games, had also won the $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier August 3.
“Lucy won on Friday, so today was my turn,” Mario Deslauriers said, laughing. “Seriously, she and Hester make a great pair, and I know they are very quick. I did what I had to do to put a little pressure on her.”
The senior Deslauriers executed a pivot turn with Bardolina from the third fence in front of the VIP tents, crossed in front of the open water, cut the field to the Hermès oxer at fence four, and was slightly off the lead, but more importantly, kept the jumps up to finish on a clean score in 42.82 seconds.
Lucy Deslauriers, who had the luxury of going last, also took the inside turn with her long-time partner, and with Hester’s effortless galloping stride easily had the best time, finished in 39.60. However, in a heartbreaking turn, they pulled the top rail on the final fence, to finish second on four faults.
“I got a little excited,” Deslauriers said. “If I had it to do over again, I should have pulled a little harder to the last fence.”
Lisa Deslauriers, Mario’s wife and Lucy’s mother, a past Grand Prix and USET competitor, is chairman of the board of the Hampton Classic.
Here’s the breakdown of what went down on the field:
Opening Day: Sunday, August 25
It was a literal photo finish to kick off the competitions as Adrienne Sternlicht bested fellow American Molly Ashe-Cawley and her horse, Berdien, by a mere four one-thousandths of a second, for the top spot in the $30,000 Land Rover Jumper Challenge. Sternlicht’s horse, Fantast, was fantastic to stop the clock in 63.661 seconds to Cawley’s 63.665.
Sternlicht, a team gold medalist at the 2018 World Equestrian Games, who hails from of Greenwich, CT, had the advantage of going after several others, giving her the opportunity to see the jumps and evaluate the Hampton Classic’s newly renovated Grand Prix field following the million-dollar investment and rebuild over the past year.
Of the 29 starters in the field, just seven were able to deliver clean rounds.
“I had the advantage of knowing my horse is quite seasoned at speed classes,” Sternlicht said following the victory gallop. “He has great foot speed, so it may not look like he’s moving fast. Oftentimes I can add a stride through the turns and still know that I’m getting across the jumps. I tried to play those strengths and leave out strides where I could. The new field feels amazing — it’s really firm, and really consistent across the whole surface. As riders, we really favor that.”
Opening day is also local day, and Cathy Zicherman’s True Story, piloted by Holly Orlando, took home the $10,000 Marders Local Hunter Derby, a two-round competition consisting of classic style and handy hunter components.
Orlando also excited with a close victory, earning 91 points in total over Curo and Geoffrey Hesslink’s 90.
Trained by Jenny Dunion of Evermore Inc. in Water Mill, the Hampton Classic’s 2018 grand champion hunter “spent the last week preparing for the Hampton Classic by giving my four-year-old granddaughter, Elsie, rides around the farm,” Zicherman said laughing. “She thinks he is a unicorn, which he basically is.”
Laura Bowery of Bridgehampton rode Stormy Good’s Prince of Thieves to the Local Working Hunter Professional Championship. They received the Eddie Horowitz Memorial Trophy and the Champion of Section B East Hampton Star Local Hunter Professionals division.
Monday, August 26
A myriad of champions were crowned during the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities finals.
After each rider was presented ribbons for qualifying to compete in the finals, Isaiah Forte with My Fairy Tale Hero were crowned champion in the leader/sidewalker division, Julia Glenz with 5thAvenue were reserve champion, Kylie Long and Reade, beginner independent division champion, and Sheridan Basso with Cup O’ Joe, reserve champion.
In the advanced independent division, Sophie Baghdassarian with The Devil Wears Prada were crowned, and reserve champion went to Noah Capps riding My Fairy Tale Hero.
“These riders are an outstanding example of meeting challenges head-on,” Hampton Classic Executive Director Shanette Barth Cohen said.
Lisa Zimmerman, founding member and managing director of LIHSSRD, said the riders work toward the year-end final at the Hampton Classic.
“Isaiah Forte started at eight or nine riding a pony here, and now he’s 15 and riding a horse, and was champion in his division,” Zimmerman said. “He’s getting ready to move up another level and division next year. It’s great for them to use this as their goal and wonderful to see them successful.”
Animal Welfare and Adoption Day was also celebrated, welcoming dogs, cats, and horses from a variety of animal rescues and shelters on Long Island and beyond.
Tuesday, August 27
Elli Yeager of Wellington, FL, took top honors in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search.
As with any equitation class, only the performance of the rider was evaluated by the judge. This two-part test is comprised of a traditional over-fences portion, after which the top 12 returned to the ring for an under-saddle phase. Alexandra Pielet of Highland Park, IL placed second and Taylor Griffiths, also of Wellington, third.
“I was going for a good, solid round to prepare him for the weekend and Saturday’s equitation championship, which is my main goal,” Yeager said. “I think he thought he was back at Spruce Meadows in this ring. Equitation is all about being smooth and invisible, which isn’t always easy for me. But he’s always perfect.”
Earlier in the day, 65 horses competed across two sections of $10,000 1.40-meter jumpers. Two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY took first in section A with a new mount, Silberrose — the morning’s class was their first time in the competition ring together. Canada’s Mario Deslauriers finished second with Cloud 9 and third went to Peter Leone with Ciara Charcamm Z.
In section B, Ward had to settle for the runner-up to his 2018 WED gold medal teammate Adrienne Sternlicht and horse Fantast to the win. Ward rode Up Des Chaines to second, and third went to Taylor Flury and Carrasca Z.
Wednesday, August 28
Familiar faces got the crowd going during the $10,000 Wölffer Estate Open Jumper 1.40 speed class.
Adrienne Sternlicht, with Fantast, claimed their third win in a row at the Hampton Classic. They stopped the clock at 55.868 seconds. Ireland’s Richie Moloney was second with Merqusio in 57.121, and Molly Ashe-Cawley and Berdien were third in 57.255.
Rain played a factor for some of the contestants during the morning competition.
“Rain notwithstanding, I thought today was perhaps the most difficult 1.40m class I’ve jumped,” Sternlicht said. “The track looked quite difficult when I walked it. The second fence, although it’s a vertical, is set on the middle standards, and it’s a bit spooky and airy for the horses. I thought it might cause some problems.”
The second class in the Grand Prix ring was the $10,000 seven-and-under jumpers, which Heather Caristo-Williams won with Celtic Hero BZ. They stopped the clock in 58.362. Victoria Birdsall and Maestro Van Het Binnenveld finished second in 58.475, and Natalie Dean, third with Maestro Vica V/D Ark in 59.966.
“I’m so happy with how Celtic jumped today,” Caristo-Williams said. “He loves a big field, and he was trying so hard. It was raining a lot when we started our round, and I was really impressed with how the footing held up and how solid my horse felt out there. I felt very comfortable going fast and turning tight.”
Thursday, August 29
The winner of the inaugural $5000 Mane ‘n Tail Hunter Rider Challenge was Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL. The Hampton Classic joined forces with the Old Salem Farm Spring Show to offer the prize to the rider accumulating the most points in open hunter classes at 3’6” and higher over the two shows.
Children’s hunter horse and pony awards were also handed out to winners in various age brackets.
Maggie May, ridden by Sofia Moskowitz, earned the top spot in the Hunter Horse14 & Under Section A, with Pop Rocks, ridden by Alexa Lignelli, picking up reserve. Resonate, ridden by Alexa Lignelli, topped the Section B chart, and Last Stand ridden by Danae Oliveri won reserve. For ages 15-17, Bonaparte, ridden by Romy Lauer, once againearned top spot, and Playlist, ridden by Samantha Kallman, picked up reserve.
In Hunter’s Large Pony division, Garden Party, ridden by Alyssa Baychuk, secured the top spot, while My Favorite Spot, ridden by Keara Murphree, won reserve. For small/medium pony, It’s My Party, ridden by Piper Shearer, was celebrating victory, while Farnley Blew Kisses, ridden by Rylie True, earned reserve. The Children’s Hunter Classic title was awarded to Afrojack, ridden by Elaina Doyle, and By Proxy, ridden by Tess Gilmartin, notched reserve. Grand Children’s Hunter Champion went to Maggie May, ridden by Sophia Moskowitz.
Several other performance titles were handed out.
Friday, August 30
Twenty-year-old sensation Lucy Deslauriers rode her longtime partner, Hester, to top honors in Friday’s $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier CSI4.
Deslauriers trains under two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward, to whom she placed second in this class three years ago. She credits her coach for reminding her to stick with the plan and trust in her horse and herself.
“Before I went into the ring for the jump-off, McLain reminded me to stick to the plan. He said, ‘Believe in it, and know that it’s the winning plan. Don’t worry about what everyone else has done,’” said Deslauriers, who recently rode on the U.S.’s Bronze Medal team at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
“I tried from start to finish to do that, to stay calm and patient, and not rush or get anxious trying to figure out if I was fast enough or not. The triple combination was a huge focus of mine as it caught a lot of people with the striding. The B to C elements were set on a very short distance,” she added.
Ward claimed victory himself Friday afternoon, in the $15,000 Speed Derby. The course included the natural obstacles that the classic’s grand prix ring is known for: the bank, the open water, and the hedges.
Ward had not tested his new mount over derby-style obstacles prior to competing at the classic, but explained that as in life, a positive attitude can take you a long way.
“She’s really a game, brave, competitive mare, and she was really on form today,” he said of Silberrose. “I knew she had jumped the water before, but I didn’t know how she would be to the bank.”
Ward and Silberrose stopped the clock in 60.199, with Ireland’s Richie Moloney and Shane Sweetnam taking second and third with times of 62.759 and 63.316, respectively. Moloney rode Boriena H and Sweetnam rode Kecho Du Sud.
The first class in the grand prix ring Friday morning was the $10,000 Junior/Amateur/Amateur-Owner Welcome Stake. It was won by 19-year-old Diego Loria, representing Costa Rica in his first trip to the classic. The top three times were all under a minute, and within tenths of a second of one another. Loria and his mount Di Vadine had a winning time of 58.928. Second went to Bronte Gray-Rochon of Canada and Williamstown Guidam in 58.939. Third was won by American Catalina Peralta with Conti in 59.074.
“The class was extremely challenging, with a bunch of great riders,” Loria said. “We found a really steady rhythm. I tried not to hold too much, and we found good distances. She’s really fast on her own and we were able to leave out strides in most of the lines.”
In the $10,000 SHF Enterprises Seven & Under Young Jumper class, six horses advanced to the jump-off from the original starting field of 24. Of those six, just two were able to leave the jumps in the cups. Israel’s Ilan Ferder, with Massimo, went clean in a time of 38.344 to take the lead. Last to jump, Ferder’s student, Victoria Birdsall, bested her boss with Maestro Van Het Binnenveld to the win in a time of 35.419.
“The young horse division is about having the horses be confident, which comes from preparation at home,” Birdsall said. “They are learning, but they also need to be enjoying their job. This horse loves to jump, so for me, it’s about getting to a good spot and leaving him alone.”
Saturday August 31
Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam captured the $72,000 LONGINES Cup for the third consecutive year, piloting Kirschwasser SCF to the top of the jump-off. American riders Catherine Tyree and Adrienne Sternlicht came within hundredths of a second, but were not able to beat his time. Sweetnam, ninth to jump, finished in 39.16 seconds.
“Originally I was thinking of doing five strides from the double combination to the black oxer, but I ended up being so direct to the black oxer that I shaved it to the right, and I was still not slowing down to fit the next line,” Sweetnam said. “I tried to bend out to the right to fit the strides in the line, which ended up helping me as I was angled over the DOHA jump and pointed right into the turn to the next jump. It’s not always part of the plan, but sometimes it ends up working out.”
Of the 51 best horse-and-rider combinations, 10 produced clean rounds, sending them to the jump-off. Clean rounds were few and far between, as the fastest round had four faults across the first three riders. Fourth in the ring was Catherine Tyree and horse BEC Lorenzo, and she finished clean in 39.19.
Sternlicht and Toulago clocked in at 39.25 seconds to take third position, less than one-tenth of a second behind the winning time.
Following two rounds of competition, 16-year-old Ava Ellis of Annapolis, MD, came out on top in the $10,000 Equitation Championship.
Twenty-four riders started the first round at 8 AM, which included the challenging natural obstacles of the bank and the open water. Other than the ambitious time allowed set on a pace of 400 mpm, nothing else had as great of an influence on the outcome.
Ellis received a first-round score of 87 points and a second-round score of 91, to finish with a total of 178. Second place went to 2018 winner Mimi Gochman with a final total of 176, and third to Elli Yeager, with 171.
Earlier in the day, Dagny Mactaggart topped a seven-horse jump-off with Ziezo to win the $15,000 Carolex Junior/Amateur-Owner 1.40 Jumper Classic. Second went to Ava Ellis with Quivive S Z and third to Kathryn Hall with All in 9.
The $12,500 Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic was won by Virginia Ingram with Esprit. They received the Firefly Trophy, donated by Philip Richter of Turnabout Farm in Coatesville, PA in honor of Christophe de Menil, a French- American art collector and philanthropist. Second went to Canadian rider Karen Sparks with Teddy du Bosquetiau.
The $12,500 Junior Jumper Classic was won by Mimi Gochman with Avoloma BH. Second went to Daneli Miron with Fairy Tail, and third went to Audrey Schulze with Famous-O.
Sunday, September 1
Prior to the $300,000 Grand Prix competition, Bronte Gray-Rochon of Toronto, Canada, rode Williamstown Guidam to the win in the $25,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Show Jumping Derby Sunday morning. The class was open to amateur-owner and junior riders who had competed in the welcome stake earlier in the week.
Stephanie Danhakl gave it her best shot, but couldn’t quite repeat her clean sweep of the top three places in the $10,000 Hermès Hunter Classic from 2018. She had to settle for first, second, and sixth instead, in the final hunter competition.
Following two challenging rounds, the final scores were incredibly close. Danhakl took first on Enough Said with a two-round score of 175, second on Golden Rule with 174 points, and sixth on Quest with 170.50. Ella Bikoff and Cabrio took third with a two-round score of 173.75.
For each of the seven years, the $30,000 LONGINES Leading Rider Challenge has been in place, it has been won by an Irish rider, going back and forth between Sweetnam and countryman Richie Moloney. With his consistent results this week, Shane Sweetnam secured another win, amassing 364 points to finish on top for an incredible third year. He received the $30,000 prize as well as a new timepiece courtesy of LONGINES.
Full results of all competitions and a list of trophy award-winners can be found at www.hamptonclassic.com.