[Bridgehampton, NY] The world's best horses and riders, including riders returning from the 2012 London Olympic Games, head the list of entries in the 37th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show which returns to Bridgehampton, NY, August 26–September 2.
Highlighting the Hampton Classic is the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier on Sunday, September 2. The Grand Prix, open to horses that successfully complete Friday's $50,000 Spy Coast Farm/Young Horse Show Series Grand Prix Qualifier, features Olympians, World Champions and other show jumping veterans such as defending champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward.
Ward, who has won the Classic’s featured Grand Prix a record six times, twice as many as any other rider, will be joined in the field by his London Olympic teammate Beezie Madden, also a two-time Gold Medalist, and by fellow London Olympians Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil and Daniel Bluman of Columbia, as well as Shane Sweetnam who served as first alternate for Ireland’s team at the London Olympic Games.
Additional Olympic veterans entered to compete include Norman Dello Joio, Mario Deslauriers, Joe Fargis, Nona Garson, Leslie Howard, Anne Kursinski and Peter Leone of the United States, as well as Kevin Babington of Ireland and Ljubov Kochetova of Russia who finished third in the Classic’s $250,000 FTI Grand Prix last year.
Joining them will be other top U.S. stars including Christine McCrea, double Gold Medalist at the 2011 Pan American Games, Molly Ashe-Cawley, Georgina Bloomberg, Laura Bowery-Falco, Kirsten Coe, Kent Farrington, Candice King, Kim Prince, Schuyler Riley, Callan Solem and Aaron Vale. Other international stars entered to compete include Darragh Kenny and Richie Maloney of Ireland, Angel Karolyi and Andres Rodriguez of Venezuela, and Tim Gredley of Great Britain.
"We’re so excited that everyone will be able to feel the excitement of the London Olympic Games right here at the Hampton Classic,” said Shanette Barth Cohen, the horse show's Executive Director. "These world-class riders will be competing every day and will have their eyes set on our main event, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix. We invite everyone to come join us for what promises to be one of the most exciting Hampton Classics ever!"
This year’s Grand Prix is part of the new Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge which awards a $200,000 bonus should the same horse-and-rider combination win the $100,000 Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon, $250,000 FTI Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic, and $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix at the Alltech National Horse Show. McLain Ward won the Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon on Antares F in May and now stands to win the $200,000 bonus should he ride Antares F to wins at the remaining two events in the Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge.
Ward and Antares F in winning form at the 2011 Hampton Classic.
For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen online at www.wvvh.tv. Most of the Classic’s classes will also be available live on ShowNetVision.com.
For more information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, please visit the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or call (631) 537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.