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Black Tie International:
 The 37th Annual Hampton Classic


Amy and George Kane .  Photo by John Wegorzewski


Elegant Opening Day at 37th Annual
Hampton Classic



A picture-perfect day welcomed equestrian fans and competitors to the first day of the 37th Annual Hampton Classic. Opening day is always a festive event with hosts and hostesses decorating their tables, breaking out the bubbly and serving up gourmet lunches for their VIP pals.


Two of the most creatively and beautifully decorated tables were hosted by Amy and George Kane  of Southampton. Amy, always a consummate hostess, who knows that beauty is in the details, out-did herself this year with an homage to the Classic & the graceful horses that stride, jump and prance around the rings.


Amy was dressed from head to toe in Hermes, the favorite of the equine crowd - sported a Hermes silk blouse, black lace up jodhpurs, shoes and bag and George sported a Hermes horse print weskit & a cowboy hat. as they welcomed guests to their ringside tables. White jacketed waiters quickly poured the Roederer Cristal and before passing tossed in a tiny bunch of champagne grapes to each flute - heavenly!


Their tables covered in workman hopsack were bedecked with a rendition of a rose covered jump composed of champagne grapes with young carrots and apples tucked in between, which all would later feed to the horses. Tooled leather chargers were at each place setting with a bobbing head horse serving as a napkin ring and an orange rose across each plate. The lucky Kanes' guests were treated to an extraordinary luncheon of filet of beef with horseradish mousse, poached salmon with finely chopped carrots & celery and summer harvest of mixed local string beans, wax beans & sugar snap peas. Scrumptious berry pies and more champagne were dessert!


Table hopping to say hello to friends is a time-honored Hampton Classic tradition on opening day and Grand Prix Sunday. First to come by was Broadway producer Stewart Lane resplendent in a shocking pink sport coat that complimented his wife Bonnie Comley's chic pink print dress and flower be-decked hat. They gave the group an update on their daughter Leah Lane who was competing that day in the Jumper Class. Leah had injured her ankle earlier in the trials but was soldiering on.


Talk show queen Kelly Ripa not willing to divulge whom would be her new co-host next season was quick to speak about her daughter Lola Consuelos who had not been competing for sometime but still placed 5th. Kelly's biggest thrill was that hubby Mark Consuelos had been able to be there to cheer her on before he headed to the airport for a flight to L A where he is shooting American Horror.  


Kelly Klein, an accomplished horsewoman herself, stopped by to wish everyone a great time.


Opening day was dedicated to the Jumper Class competition always a thrill for viewers. Shane Sweetnam, of Wellington, Fla., rode Cyklon 1083 to a narrow victory in the Classic’s first jumper class, the $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge.


The highlight of the opening ceremonies was presentation of the Long Island Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to a Long Island horseperson who has demonstrated excellence in sportsmanship over a long period of years. Show President Dennis Suskind presented this year’s award to Barbara Clarke


Following the presentation of the Long Island Sportsmanship Award, the National Anthem was sung by Sofia D’Angelo, 14. In 2009 D’Angelo rode High Spirits to the children’s large pony hunter championship at the Hampton Classic, and now she sings, plays the piano and guitar, and writes her own songs.

Earlier in the morning the main hunter ring was renamed The Anne Aspinall Ring in honor of the first recipient of the Long Island Sportsmanship Award. Anne Aspinall, a longtime member of the Hampton Classic’s Board of Directors and one of the most respected hunter/jumper trainers on Long Island, died on Feb. 16, 2012, after a long battle with cancer.

"Anne was one of the original founders of the Classic back in 1976, and she served on our board and executive committee ever since,” said Suskind.  

The 37th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show runs through Sunday, September 2 and features world-class show jumping competition, as well as magnificent shopping and a variety of entertainment attractions. The Classic features six show rings with more than 100 classes of competition for horses and riders of all ages

The highlight of 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. This year, the 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. 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 in the remaining two events in the Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge.

joyce brooks

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