Locals Kick Off Hampton Classic on Opening Day

Isabel Culver takes her mount Cabaret over a jump during a trip in the Junior Hunter division during the 2018 Hampton Classic in Bridgehampton on opening day Sunday, 8/26/18. Michael Heller photos

Lucy Beeton and Emma Siskind both hail from Swan Creek Farms in Bridgehampton, but they were riding head-to-head Sunday at the opening day of the Hampton Classic.

Beeton, a rising sophomore at Pierson High School, and Siskind, who spends her school year in New York City, each claimed a first and second place in two rounds of competition in the Local Junior Hunter division on Sunday, so they were tied going into what’s called a “hack-off,” a flat division that followed the two rounds of jumping. Siskind emerged as champion, while Beeton was reserve champion, a big success for the riders and their barn to start off the week.

“She didn’t start riding until she was 10,” Beeton’s mom, Julia Hubbard, said about her daughter, who is only 15. “We do ride year-round, almost every day after school.”

Phoebe Topping, another Sag Harbor rider whose parents own Swan Creek Farm, finished ninth on Tuesday in the competitive $3,000 Junior Jumper class aboard her regular mount, Epic. Isabel Culver, another Swan Creek rider, is also competing at the Classic this week.

For complete results and schedules, visit hamptonclassic.com.

Lucy Beeton takes her mount Clint One over a jump on Sunday.

Opening Day’s main event was the $30,000 Jumper Challenge, presented by Boar’s Head, which was claimed by Georgina Bloomberg. She bested a field of 42 riders to claim the winner’s purse of $9,000 aboard Paola 233.

Bloomberg, a native of New York and the daughter of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said the decisive moment in the jump-off round came as Paola landed from fence six and literally pivoted on one foot to the left toward the final combination without having to add any extra steps to complete the turn.

“She’s a really quick horse – she’s quick in the air but she also turns on a dime,” Bloomberg said. “And she’s brave.”

Runner-up went to Canadian veteran Olympic rider Mario Deslauriers, with his 11-year-old mare Cherrypop.

The $10,000 Marder’s Local Hunter Derby had 39 horses local to Long Island also compete on Sunday, with Sandra Ferrell emerging as the winner aboard Hemingway. The entire day, as has been tradition, belonged to the locals.

“Not only is this one of the most prestigious and most competitive shows we attend throughout the year – it’s more important because we live here and our roots are here,” said Jenny Dunion, who operates Evermore Inc. in Water Mill. “Our friends and family come, compete and root for each other. Once you have a great opening day, it really sets you up for the rest of the week.”

Events will continue all week at the Classic, culminating with the main event, the $300,000 Grand Prix, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.