LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY-April 25, 2009 - Aboard Headley Britannia, Lucinda Fredericks of Australia galloped and jumped to a faultless cross-country round to take over the lead (32.3) at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Dressage leader Bettina Hoy of Germany incurred 9.6 time faults to drop to second place (38.4). Buck Davidson, of Riegelsville, Pa., held on to third place, despite 1.2 time faults on My Boy Bobby (40.2), and Tim Lips of the Netherlands jumped faultlessly to remain in fourth place on Concrex Oncarlos (42.0).
Phillip Dutton and Connaught, winners of the 2008 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, are standing in ninth place following a faultless round. Stephen Bradley, winner of the 1996 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, is 10th on Brandenburg's Joshua, also with a faultless round.
The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, a part of the HSBC FEI ClassicsTM Series, will run a CCI4* and the 12th championship for the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation Pinnacle Cup, signifying the zenith in eventing competition in the United States. The event draws more than 100,000 spectators and millions more viewers via worldwide telecasts including a one-hour special in the U.S. on NBC on Sunday, May 3.
Fredericks and Headley Britannia finished just under the optimum time of 11:02 despite taking the long routes on two important combinations. Fredericks, 43, said she had always planned to make a wide turn to the fourth element of the Sunken Road (fence 13). "She's very quick to turn, and it just meant we'd have to gallop harder between the fences," she said.
But she hadn't planned to go the long way at the Head of the Lake (fence 15). Headley Britannia lost her balance landing off the drop into the lake, and Fredericks decided she couldn't make the turn to the corner jump in the middle of the lake. "I had to think quick, and I'm not very good at that, so I'm quite proud of myself," she said.
Still, Headley Britannia, 16, finished with so much energy that Fredericks had to use the fence at the end of the finishing area to help her pull up. "I just kept motoring, and 'Brit' just kept galloping. She really took me home," said Fredericks.
Hoy, who finished 24 seconds slow, said she could not have gone any faster. "I went as fast as I felt was right for the course and for his age," she said. Ringwood Cockatoo is 18 years old.
"The course was lovely to ride," Hoy, 46, added.
Davidson, 33, said that My Boy Bobby had lived up to his expectations. "He ran out of gas [late in the course], but he sure dug in and tried today," he said.
Davidson added that show jumping "is his best phase, so I like my chances tomorrow."
On Ballynoe Castle RM, Davidson was the first rider on course this morning. Just before fence 13, the Sunken Road, a dog ran into his path, causing Davidson to check his horse and alter his line to the fence, where Ballynoe Castle RM refused once before continuing. Davidson asked the ground jury to not penalize him for a refusal. The ground jury agreed, removing his 20 jumping faults and 3.2 of his 6.4 time faults, leaving him in 19th place.
Of the 46 horses that started on today's cross-country course, 38 completed the course, 30 with no jumping faults. Ten horses finished with no jumping or time faults. One horse was retired on course; seven horses were eliminated.
It is with great sadness that the organizers of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event announce that Kingpin, a 13-year-old Irish Sporthorse owned by Mike Winter of Canada and the Kingpin Syndicate and ridden by Winter, collapsed while negotiating fence 10 and died at the scene. Winter was evaluated by medical personnel at the scene and sent to Georgetown Community Hospital for further evaluation and released. He chose not to ride his second horse.
Veterinary and medical personnel were in attendance at the time of the fall. The cause of the horse's death is still under investigation. A preliminary report of the examination of the horse's body showed that he had bled into his abdomen.
"We are not able to speculate on the cause of the bleeding. A complete evaluation will be performed," said Dr. Catherine Kohn, the veterinary delegate.
As the only four-star event in the Western Hemisphere, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the premier competition for the top horses and riders in eventing. Past winners include U.S. Olympic Medalists David and Karen O'Connor, Kim Severson and Phillip Dutton, New Zealand's Blyth Tait and Nick Larkin, Pippa Funnell of Great Britain and Andrew Hoy and Clayton Fredericks of Australia.
The $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing is awarded to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley Four-Star Events in succession. In 2003, Pippa Funnell of Great Britain became the first, and to date only, rider to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.
Eventing fans will have the opportunity to watch free live coverage of the show jumping on April 26 online at www.universalsports.com.
For more information on the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, please visit the Rolex Kentucky website at www.rk3de.org.