As the equestrians readied for the Hampton Classic's grass riding ring, bankers, brokers and haute hat-wearers hobnobbed under a long white tent over Bloody Marys and champagne near immaculately set tables.
"This is the epitome of luxury," said Hamptons real estate broker Enzo Morabito, who was among the thousands in attendance for the last day of the eight-day show in Bridgehampton on Sunday. It's "a perfect way to end the summer season," said Morabito, who is executive vice president with Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
The "Grand Prix" competition Sunday not only closes the weeklong Hampton Classic, but also the summer social season on the East End, drawing out the well-heeled (and well-dressed) for the jumper class finale. Organizers projected that more than 50,000 came to the horse show last week and about 12,000 on Sunday.
Father-daughter duo Mario Deslauriers, of Canada, and Lucy Deslauriers, of Manhattan, took first and second place, respectively, in the Grand Prix challenge. The top prize was $300,000.
"It's a family win regardless," Lucy Deslauriers, 20 of Manhattan, said afterward.
Actress Brooke Shields and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were spotted in the VIP tent. Spectators packed grandstands and corporate-sponsored chalets.
Jaguars and Land Rovers were for sale, as were lobster rolls for $20.
"It's a beauty," said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman of the tournament. He was there with girlfriend Julie Stone, an equestrian who lives in New York City and Bridgehampton. Despite a "slight" allergy to horses, Schneiderman said, his eyes tearing, the supervisor was there to support Stone and to "mix and mingle."
"I probably come more for the social aspects than the horses," Schneiderman said.
Stone, a longtime equestrian who competed in past Hampton Classic competitions, said the horse show, "for me, has always been the culmination of a great summer or the summer," Stone said. "It sort of puts a period to a great summer in the Hamptons."
Kelly Klein, a retired equestrian who sits on the Hampton Classic board and lives in East Hampton, said the tournament is "bittersweet, because it's the end of the summer."
"It's the Hamptons," she said. "It's everything the Hamptons stands for. It's beachy, it's airy, it's a beautiful sport and it's just fun for everyone to get together, socialize, and get to say goodbye to each other."
Georgina Bloomberg, 36, the daughter of former Mayor Bloomberg, has been riding since she was about 7 years old. She said the tournament has "evolved with the times" by keeping prize money offerings competitive, allowing equestrians to accrue world ranking points, and attracting the sport's best riders.
Bloomberg said it appeals to a Hamptons crowd that may not "know the sport as well and may get hooked and want to come back."
"People are out there anyway," she said. "As riders, we take great pride in competing in front of a crowd."
She said, "It's rare to have a sport that's a social event, and this horse show manages to do that."
Architect Peter Cook said that as for summering in the Hamptons, "this is it," and he expects "a mass exodus after the show."
But he said, "the people who leave, they miss the good stuff."