Luke Jensen and Conthacco Ride to Victory in the $10,000 Hampton Classic Equitation Championship

Luke Jensen and Conthacco. Photo by KIND Media

Bridgehampton, NY – Sept. 4, 2021 – The Hampton Classic opened Saturday with the $10,000 Hampton Classic Equitation Championship Presented by Palm Beach International Academy, and Luke Jensen of Denton, Texas, answered all of the course’s questions to win the prestigious class. Trained by John Brennan and Missy Clark, he piloted Conthacco, owned by Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc., through the class’s two-part test to earn a total of 173 points. 

“Taco is pretty awesome, so we just did what we usually do,” Jensen said. “It’s so fun riding in a big ring like this because you can really get going. Taco was great about picking up a rhythm and sticking to it while staying within the time allowed.”

The first round started at 9:00 a.m. with thirteen riders going over the 1.10-1.20m course designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade. Although the tracks were different between phases 1 and 2, both featured 15 jumping efforts and a time allowed of 79 seconds. Gary Duffy of Palm Beach, Fla., and Brian Lenehan of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., judged the class based on the rider’s use of aids, position, and effective control of the horse.

“This class is different from most equitation classes in that it is very jumper-oriented,” Lenehan said. “It features a world-class course designer and introduces the factor of a tight time allowed.”

“The overall quality of the riding was outstanding,” Duffy said. “What we were looking for was the smoothest ride, and we had it.”

Jensen has ridden Conthacco for about six months under Brennan and Clark, who won the $10,000 Trainer Awards. “We were mostly thinking of the time allowed when I went in,” Jensen said. “It really helps me set up the rhythm I need and keep it going.”

Jensen also won the $10,000 Beval Groom’s Award for his excellent care of Conthacco.

“Luke is such a wonderful student and horseman,” Clark said. “He takes care of Conthacco himself. The horse is owned by (Grand Prix rider) Schuyler Riley, who sent him to us toward the end of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Luke has had nothing but a winning partnership from him since the first weekend they rode together. We’re very fortunate to have such a wonderful horse in our barn, and we’re very thankful to Schuyler for directing him toward us.”

“Luke is such a hard, hard worker,” Clark added. “It always makes you want to be in his court. It’s such a great thing to have a kid that’s got talent and is willing to put in the work. We knew we could count on Conthacco, who’s a rockstar, so I figured if Luke could keep himself under the time allowed, his chances were as good as they get. And he got it done.”

Baylee McKeever of Brewster, N.Y., trained by five-time Olympian McLain Ward and riding Ward’s Salvatore, earned 171.5 points for a second-place finish. Zayna Rizvi of Greenwich, Conn., also trained by Brennan and Clark, took third aboard Jordyn Rose Freedman’s Finnick with 167 points.

Later in the day, Audrey Schulze of Ridgewood, N.J., soared to victory with a jump-off time of 33.557 seconds in the $15,000 Benetti Junior/Amateur/Amateur-Owner 1.40m Jumper Classic aboard Mr. Cash, owned by Riverbrook Sport Horses LLC. Annie Phillips of Wellington, Fla., and Oakridge Farm’s Loukas De La Noue placed second with a time of 35.691 seconds. Also designed by Alan Wade, the full course included 15 jumping efforts. 

“I’m really excited,” Schulze said. “This is the first High Classic win that I’ve had, and this is the last High Classic of my junior career. I’ve had my horse for almost a year and rode him in the U25 series throughout WEF as well as the High Juniors this summer in Michigan, and I can always count on him.”

Other highlights included the $12,500 Junior 1.35m Jumper Classic, won by Stella Propp of New York, N.Y., and Aquitaine Equine’s Zernike K. Amy Shafmaster of Newington, N.H., rode her Carlos to win the $12,500 Amateur/Amateur-Owner 1.35m Jumper Classic, earning the Firefly Challenge Trophy sponsored by Turnabout Farm. 

In the hunter rings, Ellen Toon of South Salem, N.Y., piloted J T Farm’s Gabriel to the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter, 36+ Years Championship. Kelly Tropin of New Canaan, Conn., and Libertas Farm LLC’s Chablis rode to top honors in the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter, 18-35 Years Championship.
Emi Richard of Middlefield, Conn., brought home the blue in the Grand Pony Hunter Championship and Big Wishes for Little Feat Medium Pony Hunter Championship aboard Carrie Hutton’s Game Plan. Reagan Jarret of Center Valley, Penn., rode her Dream Big to the Snaks Fifth Avenchew Small Pony Hunter Championship. D’Artagnan, owned and ridden by Emma Dyson of Greenwich, Conn., took home the Large Pony Hunter Championship and the Currey Challenge Cup. 

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