Lexington, KY - The 31st Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone gets rolling this week at the Kentucky Horse Park. Fifty-eight horses were presented at the first horse inspection and of those all but one was accepted. Entries from five countries are looking for a shot at the title at America's only CCI4* event which also serves as the Rolex/USEF National CCI4* Eventing Championship.
The competition begins today with the first of two days of dressage - it will be live streamed on the USEF Network presented by SmartPak. In addition to the webcast, the order of go, results, daily reports and photos can be found here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/Rolex3Day2012
This year's field doesn't include the 2011 winner (Mary King from Great Britain) or the 2011 National Champion (Sinead Halpin) but it does include former winners (and Olympic medalists), Americans Phillip Dutton and Karen O'Connor and Australia's Andrew Hoy. Dutton has contested every single running of the CCI4* in Kentucky.
"I'm thrilled to be here," said Clark Montgomery, who will compete Loughan Glen for Dave and Holly Becker, Kathryn Kraft and Jessica Montgomery. "It's nice that things are getting going and people are arriving. We got to walk the course. My horse feels great. He is ready to rock."
The winner in 2010 and the winningest rider on the scene right now is looking for more than just another Rolex title. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Parklane Hawk won the 2011 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials last fall meaning that if they can win here, and Fox-Pitt can win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials next week - he would be only the second rider to score Rolex's Grand Slam of Eventing which offers $350,000 to the winner of all three of the events in succession.
Will Faudree, 2003 Pan Am Gold Medalist and 2006 member of the FEI World Equestrian Games team will ride Jennifer Mosing's Andromaque in her first CCI4*. "I'm excited to be here and have Andromaque here," said Faudree. "It's her first four-star but we have a great partnership and I'm looking forward to the weekend."
Along with some of these top veterans, there are plenty of first time contestants as well. They include a trio of women from Chester County, Pennsylvania, amateur rider Amy Ruth Borun on her former racehorse Santa's Playboy, Kate Hicks on Belmont and Erin Sylvester on No Boundaries. Jordan Linstedt has made an epic journey East from Washington state to test her mettle at the highest level. Grand Prix Show Jumper Marilyn Little-Meredith took up eventing in 2011 and has made a meteoric rise to the CCI4* level, she has produced solid results this spring and is well mounted on Raylyn Farm's RF Rovano Rex and RF Demeter for her first try at this level.
Holly and Doug Payne are the first brother and sister to compete at America's only CCI4*. They drew back to back numbers and will compete tomorrow on Jill Gordon's Madeline and Patti Springsteen's Running Order. Their mother Marilyn is also an FEI Eventing Official.
Dressage begins tomorrow at 9:30 AM with Buck Davidson, a two-time USEF National CCI4* Champion leading it off with his Team Gold and Individual Silver medalist from last year's Pan American Games, Absolute Liberty, who is owned by Sharon Will.
Photo: Karen O'Connor presenting Mr. Medicott (Shannon Brinkman)