Rules As Lady In Blue Wins Blue in bluhammock music
Bridgehampton, NY-August 28, 2008-
Blue was the color of the day for Olympian Norman Dello Joio of Wellington, FL, who rode Lady in Blue to the blue ribbon in the bluhammock music 1.45m Open Jumper Class at the 33rd Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show. Dello Joio’s winning time of 38.298 seconds in the jump-off moved him ahead of Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, who had been leading with Presidente. Minikus finished second (38.478) and Lisa Rex of Westbury, N.Y., was third on Fit 3 (40.803).
One of the nation’s premier show jumping competitions, the Hampton Classic continues through Sunday, August 31. The Classic hosts hunter/jumper competition for riders ranging from the youngest competitors in Leadline and Short Stirrup classes all the way up to Olympic veterans in the $200,000 FTI Grand Prix. Show entries include two Olympic riders who flew in directly from the Olympic show jumping competition in Hong Kong: McLain Ward, a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. team, and individual gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Canada.
Nicknamed “Stormin’ Norman” for his aggressive riding style, Dello Joio is best known for two major wins: the 1983 FEI World Cup Final in Vienna aboard the French-bred stallion I Love You, and the Individual Bronze Medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics on the chestnut gelding Irish.
The day before his bluhammock win on Lady in Blue, Dello Joio won the $7,500 1.35m Open Jumper Class aboard the same horse. An 8-year-old Selle Francais mare, Lady in Blue created a buzz among other riders the moment she stepped onto Hampton Classic show grounds earlier in the week. In all her rides, the horse demonstrated that she has the three “S’s” essential for a top-flight jumper: scope, style and speed.
Dello Joio has justifiably high hopes for the horse, which was purchased in Mexico and has been in training with him for a year-and-a-half. “We believe she could be a prospect for major international competitions,” he said, among them the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY.
He described Lady in Blue as a very “above-ground mare with beautiful balance and a clean head,” the latter being a factor in his jump-off strategy in the bluhammock. Dello Joio said he “decided to take aim at Todd’s time because the mare has a good brain. I knew she could handle it and that she’ll come out [for her next class] on Saturday and be the same horse.”
Dello Joio, who rode four horses in the class, won with his final ride and placed fourth with another horse, Acertijo. “He gave me a wonderful ride,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to win with him. My goal was to use the course to increase his confidence.” He said the course was perfect for that. Course designer Conrad Homfeld, he said, “has a wonderful way of creating a series of courses that build the horses’ confidence as the week goes on.”
Dello Joio felt the course was most difficult toward the end, where it was tight, as was the time allowed. “You had to gallop to the end and keep control of your horse. It was a true test.”
Minikus’s second-place ride in the class moved him into a narrow lead in the Vox Rider Challenge, a new award sponsored by VOX Magazine, with 113 points. Hillary Dobbs and Marie Hecart, who are currently tied for second, trail Minikus by a single point (112).
The Vox Rider Challenge offers $30,000 in prize money to the top four riders in the horse show’s Open Jumper division. Riders have the chance to compete all week in the open jumper classes, with the top finish in each class, regardless of mount, being counted towards their final point totals. The winners will be presented with their prize money on Sunday afternoon following the $200,000 FTI Grand Prix.
With more than $500,000 in prize money, 50,000 spectators and 1,500 horses, the Hampton Classic is not only a sporting event of major proportions, but also one of the most noteworthy social events of the Hamptons’ summer season.
Other upcoming highlights in the Hampton Classic’s Grand Prix Ring include: the $50,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix Qualifier on Friday; Cablevision Kid’s Day on Saturday featuring the $30,000 Sotheby’s International Realty Challenge and the final phase of the $10,000 Wölffer Estate Equitation Championship.
Sunday is highlighted by the $25,000 Calvin Klein Show Jumping Derby, a member of event of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series, and the $10,000 Hermès Hunter Classic. Both these classes take place in the morning prior to the $200,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier, which will be held Sunday afternoon.
Those unable to attend the Hampton Classic have opportunity to see it on television. WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, is broadcasting up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen online at www.wvvh.tv. The $200,000 FTI Grand Prix will also air on Animal Planet on Saturday, October 4 at 3:00 pm (ET/PT).
The 2009 Hampton Classic will be held one week earlier than usual. Rather than culminating on Labor Day week-end, the 34th annual Hampton Classic will open on Sunday, August 23 and conclude on Sunday, August 30. The Classic will return to its traditional dates in 2010.
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.