Lexington, KY - By adding no penalties to their stellar dressage score of 32.3, Lucinda Fredericks of Australia and Headley Britannia earned the $80,000 first prize at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event today. Bettina Hoy of Germany and Ringwood Cockatoo, who lost their dressage lead by adding 9.6 time penalties on cross-country yesterday, also jumped faultlessly today to take home $37,000 for second place.
Buck Davidson, of Riegelsville, Pa., rode My Boy Bobby to third place and collected $30,000 and the Pinnacle Cup as the highest-placed U.S. rider. Davidson, 33, has competed in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event ever since it became a CCI4* in 1998, but this is the first time he's finished in the top five. He also finished 15th on Ballynoe Castle RM.
Phillip Dutton and Connaught, the 2008 Rolex Kentucky winners, finished seventh overall and second among U.S. riders. Dutton said that he plans to retire Connaught, 16, after this competition. Stephen Bradley finished 10th on Brandenburg's Joshua, the third-best U.S. rider. A record 22 foreign horses started the event this year.
The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is a part of the HSBC FEI ClassicsTM Series. This year marked the 12th championship for the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation Pinnacle Cup, signifying the zenith in eventing competition in the United States. This year's event drew 80,599 spectators and millions more via worldwide telecasts, including a one-hour special in the U.S. on NBC on Sunday, May 3.
Some 19,090 spectators enjoyed the show jumping competition in the brand-new main arena, built to prepare the Kentucky Horse Park for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. "We don't have anything like this in the U.K. or in Europe," said Fredericks.
Hoy had never been to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event before, even though her husband, Andrew Hoy, won it in 2006. "Rolex lived up to everything I've heard about it over the years, and I can't wait to come back again," she said.
In front of the dark green stadium, riders negotiated the course of 16 jumping efforts designed by Richard Jeffery of Great Britain. Jeffery uses fences featuring the logos and colors of some of Lexington's legendary Thoroughbred-breeding farms, starting with replicas of the famous Churchill Downs spires and finishing over the Calumet Farm triple combination. He also added a jump commemorating the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Fifteen horses jumped faultlessly today.
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. Now Fredericks, 43, and Headley Britannia, 16, have won all three, but not in succession. They won Burghley in September 2006 and Badminton in May 2007, one week after her husband, Clayton Fredericks, won Rolex Kentucky.
"We hoped that since between the two of us we'd won the Rolex Grand Slam they'd give us a watch, but that didn't happen," said Lucinda. Today she threw away her old watch when presented with the Rolex watch that goes to the winner at Kentucky.
Lucinda said that she and Clayton are both aiming to be members of the Australian team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. "We're definitely going to be trying for the gold medal," she said.
Davidson smiled and said, "Maybe next year they'll let me get the gold instead."
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.
Eventing fans could watch live action from Rolex Kentucky on Pay-Per View webcasts on www.rk3de.org, featuring coverage of dressage and of cross-country. Free live coverage of the show jumping was available online at www.universalsports.com. NBC-TV will air a one-hour broadcast on Sunday, May 3.
For more information on the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, please visit the Rolex Kentucky website at www.rk3de.org.