Ponying Up Windfall Prizes at Hampton Classic

Skara Glen’s Dolphin and Paul O’Shea won the Longines Cip at the 2015 Hampton Classic. McMillen Photo.
Skara Glen’s Dolphin and Paul O’Shea won the Longines Cip at the 2015 Hampton Classic. McMillen Photo.

One of the richest equestrian competitions in America is about to get even richer.

The Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, the premiere event of the crowded social season in the Hamptons, is upping the ante by boosting the already lavish cash prizes it awards during the eight-day spectacle on Snake Hollow Road, which kicks off on Sunday, August 28, and runs through Sunday, September 4.

This year’s 41st annual edition of the world-class horse show is adding an Open Jumper class to its opening day lineup and bringing on board an acclaimed course designer, Alan Wade of Ireland, who has designed leading courses for World Cup jumping competitions around the world on behalf of the International Equestrian Federation.

“We’re anticipating a stellar turn-out for our 2016 show,” said Shanette Barth Cohen, the executive director of the Classic. “Coming right after this summer’s Olympic Games, this year’s Classic promises to be very exciting for competitors and spectators alike.”

It will also increase the prize money awarded for all three of its centerpiece Grand Prix classes, the Classic announced in an April 28 press release.

The 2016 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier, presented by Swiss watchmaker Longines on Friday, September 2, will now award $75,000 in prize money, a 50-percent increase over last year. The next day, the featured Longines Cup will offer a $50,000 purse, a prize that’s $10,000 higher than the 2015 payout.

And the week will culminate on Sunday, September 4, with the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, conferring the heftiest award of the event and upping the prize money $50,000 over last year.

The preen-and-be-seen extravaganza for the jet set, horsey set and celebrity set draws Olympians, show-jumping veterans and world-champion equestrians, as well as corporate sponsors, blue-bloods and a who’s who of household names.

Classic officials tick off the celebrities who’ve “enjoyed the elite atmosphere” in recent years, including Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Matt Lauer, Jerry Seinfeld, Kelly Ripa, Sofia Vergara, Mary-Kate Olsen, Julianne Moore and Michael Bloomberg.

Hosting 100-plus classes of competition for riders of all ages, the Classic showcases top equestrian show-jumping competition in six show rings — while raising funds for Southampton Hospital, its community partner.