Lexington, Ky.- April 22, 2015 - In front of an eager crowd of about 750 people on a sunny and windy afternoon, the international ground jury accepted all 75 horses presented for the first horse inspection at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Land Rover. The event begins on Thursday, April 23, and runs through Sunday, April 26.
Riders presented a record number of horses to the ground jury of Angela Tucker (Great Britain), Ernst Topp (Germany) and Wayne Quarles (USA). They held two horses for re-inspection and later accepted them-Laine Ashker with Anthony Patch and Kristin Schmolze with Ballylaffin Bracken. Kyle Carter of Canada withdrew Madison Park just before the inspection.
Riders from nine nations-the United States, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden-will be aiming for the top prizes that will be awarded on Sunday, including the coveted Rolex watch. The total prize money is $300,000, of which $100,000 will go to the winner.
For the second time, The Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge will award $20,000 in prize money. The standings of the teams from the United States, Canada and Great Britain will be determined each day by the overall scores of their three top-placed horses.
Dressage competition gets underway on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and resumes Friday at 9:30 a.m. Saturday features the cross-country phase, the heart of the competition, with the climactic show jumping phase is on Sunday.
"Rolex Kentucky" is one of the world's most prestigious equestrian competitions, and is one of only six Four-Star Three-Day Events in the world and the only one in the Western Hemisphere. It is a part of the FEI Classics Series, which unites the top four-star Eventing competitions from around the world. It also gives competitors a shot at the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, which is awarded to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley Four-Star Events in succession.
The Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge is featured again this year, awarding $20,000 in prize money while helping national teams prepare for the team competition at the Pan American Games this summer. The winning nation will be the nation with the fewest penalties after adding together the final scores of the three highest-placed individuals from that nation. The prize money will be split among the top four teams.
Held in conjunction with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the $120,000 Kentucky Reining Cup, the crown jewel of the annual FEI Reining schedule, which features an FEI-recognized CRI3* event. The Kentucky Reining Cup also includes the World Freestyle Championship which will award the title of "World Champion" in Freestyle Reining, as well as $20,000 prize money that will mark the largest purse for a Reining Freestyle anywhere in the world.
Known to fans as "The Best Weekend all Year," the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event offers something for everyone: the highest level of equestrian competitors, tailgating, music, shopping, bourbon tastings, and, new this year, a 5K and a Commemorative Maker's Mark Bottle Fundraising Auction and Reception. Visitors also receive general admission to the Kentucky Horse Park, America's only theme park dedicated to horses.
Horses and Hope, a breast cancer initiative of the Office of Kentucky's First Lady and the Kentucky Cancer Program (KCP), is the Official Charity of the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover and will be the recipient of the proceeds from the Maker's Mark Commemorative Bottle Auction and Reception. Tickets to this fundraising event are $200 per individual or $300 per couple. A voucher worth $100 will be included with each individual or couple ticket purchased. That voucher can be used during the bottle auction. Tickets will not be available at the door. Limit of one bottle per ticket. Call (859) 254-8123 to order tickets.
Equestrian Events, Inc. has a long history of making financial contributions to charities that support local equine interests and serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The mission of Horses and Hope is to work alongside the state's equine industry to provide breast cancer awareness, education, screenings, and treatment referrals. Since the program was founded in 2008, Horses and Hope has reached nearly 1 million race track and horse show attendees, and educatednearly 16,000 equine employees. The program has screened nearly 700 workers and detected breast cancer in three individuals who have received treatment. For more information about Horses and Hope or how to donate to this very worthwhile charity, please visit www.horsesandhope.org.
Equestrian Events, Inc. is a non-profit charitable Kentucky corporation that was established initially to produce the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the success of those championships, EEI established an annual event that evolved into the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover.
Coverage of America's only Four Star Event includes an NBC broadcast - the Rolex Equestrian Championships presented by Land Rover - which will air on Sunday, May 3 at 12:30 pm EDT. All four days of the competition is being streamed online LIVE on USEF Network presented by SmartPak, beginning on Thursday, April 23.
For equestrian fans throughout the rest of the world, FEI TV is airing LIVE coverage of Saturday's cross-country and Sunday's show jumping competitions. To sign up for FEI TV, visit www.feitv.org.
For more information on the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, please visit the Rolex Kentucky website at www.RK3DE.org or call (859) 233-2362.