Lexington, Ky. - With her only penalties being the low score she earned in the dressage ring, Fischerrocana FST and Michael Jung of Germany have won the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Land Rover. Their score of 39.3 bested Tim Price of New Zealand on Wesko (40.3) and Jung on his second mount, La Biosthetique Sam FBW (44.7).
Fischerrocana, 10, show jumped first of the three top-placed horses, and she put the pressure on her rivals by completing an absolutely faultless round. When Jung returned 14 horses later on Sam, 15, he lowered fences 8C and 10. Still, Price had to be perfect to win the $100,000 winner's prize. Then Wesko, the next starter, also lowered fence 10, and he settled for second place and $44,000. Jung also earned $36,000 for third place.
This was the 35th consecutive year that Rolex Watch USA has sponsored the Kentucky Three-Day Event, the longest corporate sponsorship in horse sports. Jung will return to Germany wearing the Rolex watch that always goes to the winner. With 23,000 fans screaming and the difference between first and second places being $56,000, Price said he tried not to think about what was on the line as he cantered toward the start of the course designed by Richard Jeffery.
"You just kind of put that to one side and think of what you want to concentrate on in the ring. My horse is really good in the ring, and I think the crowd really did help me," said Price, 36. "I came down after the triple bar [fence 9] and rode a slightly bad line to fence 10, which I think was about the same as Michael did."
Jung said that the he felt more pressure from himself than from the atmosphere. And he thought he was too relaxed on Sam. "I think you always have pressure on yourself whenever you compete. This is why you train at home and why you're always thinking about how you can do better," he said. "After my first round I was maybe a little bit more relaxed, but then I was a little bit too fast to the triple combination. Fischerrocana needs more gallop and more speed to the fences, and I didn't concentrate enough on how to ride Sam, because he wasn't the only horse I was riding here."
By placing fifth (54.1), Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Cubalawn won the 2015 U.S. Equestrian Federation CCI4* Eventing Championship. It was Dutton's fourth victory in this championship. Dutton got there with a faultless show jumping round on Fernhill Cubalawn, passing William Coleman, on Obos O'Reiily, and Boyd Martin, on Master Frisky, after they lowered rails, to finish sixth and seventh. Dutton also finished ninth on Fernhill Fugitive.
"Yes, I'm excited about their future," said Dutton of his two top-10 horses. "They're both young-ish horses. They both improved and matured this weekend."
Earlier in the day, Dutton withdrew Mighty Nice, who had been standing seventh after cross-country, because of a stifle injury.
Jung, 32, had only ridden at the Kentucky Horse Park once before, when he won the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games on Sam. He then won the Olympics on Sam two years later, but Sam suffered a slight injury prior to the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in France, so he rode Fischerrocana to the individual silver medal and the team gold medal there. But he said that Fischerrocana hasn't replaced Sam as his No. 1 horse.
"Sam is a good friend. I think no horse is better than him. Sam is my favorite. With Sam, I win every title. He's a very special horse," Jung said.
"But Fischerrocana is also a top horse. She will do everything great and correct. She knows the job she has to do. Every competition gets easier with her, and I think that's really special," he added.
Price had never competed at Rolex Kentucky before, and when he and Jung were asked if they would return, Price quickly answered that he certainly would and jokingly added that Jung would not.
Jung smiled at Price and said the prize money would encourage him to fly to Kentucky again. He added, "The flight is very expensive, and I think we are very nearly on zero right now. But I really enjoy the competition here in Kentucky and hope to return if we can arrange it."
The combined team of Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland won the Dubarry Nations Team Challenge, scoring 145.6 penalties. The USA was second (250.2), with Great Britain third (1,103.7) and Canada fourth (2,131.9).
Today's paid attendance was 23,552, bringing the weekend total to 75,533.
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