A capacity crowd gathered for the LONGINES Hampton Classic Grand Prix Sunday event in Bridgehampton as seven of 23 riders returned to jump off for the blue on August 29.
The winner was Israel’s Daniel Bluman, who soared to victory with a blistering time of 34.750 seconds and was presented the $300,000 grand prize by Land Rover as the crowd cheered and then stood for the Israeli national anthem. The two-time Olympic veteran and 2017 Hampton Classic Grand Prix champion rode to victory on Gemma W, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, owned by Blue Star Investments, and beat out five-time U.S. Olympian McLain Ward, who brought out 2021 Olympic partner, Contagious, the 12-year-old German sport horse gelding owned by Beechwood Stables, LLC to compete.
After Ward took second place in the Grand Prix clocking in at 36.790 seconds, he won the $30,000 LONGINES Rider Challenge with a total of 538 points. Bluman placed second with 350 points.
“I was watching everything McLain did carefully,” Bluman said. “He’s a fast rider, and he loves to win this class. Then the crowd went crazy when he finished, and I had so many emotions at that point. I just said to myself that I was going to give everything – absolutely everything – I had. I was going to take all the risks, and I was going to beat him. I wasn’t going to be slower than him today. And it worked out.”
Ward, who has won the Hampton Classic Grand Prix a record seven times, competed with Contagious this summer at the Tokyo Olympics, where the U.S. won Team Silver.
“He’s a super quality horse,” Ward said. “He’s always been very, very careful, and he’s a fighter. My team has that horse in spectacular form right now from preparing for the Olympics, where we achieved a dream result. It’s nice that he was able to return home and be fit and ready to go, which is a testament to all the care from our team.”
American rider Schuyler Riley rounded out the top three in both the Hampton Classic Grand Prix and the LONGINES Rider Challenge, collecting a total of 325 points. After finishing second with Katherine Gallagher’s Robin de Ponthual in Friday’s Grand Prix Qualifier, she piloted the 16-year-old Selle Français gelding to a fault-free time of 37.420 seconds.
In the VIP tent, the competition was fierce for the most creative and beautiful table setting. The Hampton Cottages & Gardens Table best-decorated table winner and blue-ribbon honors went to LoveShackFancy, Rebecca Hessel Cohen’s lifestyle and travel-inspired clothing brand.
There were several dazzling table displays admired by VIPs and celebrities who walked through the VIP dressed in their summer best—brightly colored designer dresses, pink-and-blue blazers and lots of festive flowered hats. The delicious food was catered and served by Christopher Robbins of Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs and featured Executive Chef Chris Toni’s lobster rolls, filet mignon, fried picnic chicken and an array of salads, sandwiches and mouth-watering desserts.
The crowd was thrilled to be back at the grandstand this year after missing the Hampton Classic last year. Approximately 50,000 people attend the Hampton Classic each year and the event features more than 200 classes in six show rings.
Camera flashes were popping in the VIP tent on Sunday at the arrival of Brooke Shields, Lorraine Bracco, her daughter Stella Keitel, Aida Turturro, Steven Weber, Michael Bloomberg, New York Jets Owner Woody Johnson, Dime Bank CEO Kevin O’Connor, Instagram star Isaac Boots, and many more philanthropists, CEOs, top leaders in real estate, business, finance and the arts. Earlier in the week the VIP tent saw Christie Brinkley, Billy Joel, Jill Rappaport, and many other local notables and equestrian enthusiasts.
Outside the main tent the Agneta Currey Boutique Garden featuring more than 70 vendors was hopping with shoppers. Kid-friendly activities also prevailed and the popular pony rides and a petting farm were a hit again this year.
For those who didn’t make it to the show grounds, complimentary live webcasts of all Grand Prix ring competitions aired on the Hampton Classic website, produced by ClipMyHorseTV and courtesy of LONGINES. ClipMyHorseTV also provided a complimentary live webcast of all Anne Aspinall ring competitions and archive video, all available on the Hampton Classic website. In addition, WVVH-TV, Hamptons Television, broadcasted up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen online at wvvh.tv.
For more information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, visit the Hampton Classic website at hamptonclassic.com.