Lexington, KY - The international ground jury accepted 57 of the 58 horses presented Wednesday in the first horse inspection at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, which begins on Thursday, April 26, and runs through Sunday, April 29.
The ground jury of Anne-Mette Binder (Denmark), Michel Assaray (France) and Nick Burton (Great Britain) did not accept Llewellyn, ridden by Brittany Kart of the United States. The jury held two other horses and then accepted them when presented again.
The five nations represented at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event—the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain)—will all be medal contenders for the Summer Olympics in London. (At the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, held at the Kentucky Horse Park, Great Britain won the team gold, Canada won the team silver and New Zealand won the team bronze, with the United States fourth.) Team selectors from all five nations are here to evaluate their Olympic candidates.
The rider whom all the others will be watching most is William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain, who won Rolex Kentucky in 2010. Fox-Pitt won the Burghley Three-Day Event in England last September, making him the only rider in the world who can win the $250,000 Rolex Grand Slam. This coveted prize goes to a rider who can win the Rolex Kentucky, Badminton (England) and Burghley four-star three-day events consecutively. Only one other rider—Pippa Funnell of Great Britain in 2003—has ever won the Rolex Grand Slam.
Dressage gets underway on Thursday at 9:00 a.m., continuing until 4 p.m. Dressage resumes on Friday from 9:00 to 4:00, with the cross-country phase on Saturday and the show jumping phase on Sunday.
The 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, the Western Hemisphere’s only Four Star Three-Day Event, features the 15th Rolex USEF Four Star Championship for the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation Pinnacle Cup. The Event is part of the HSBC FEI ClassicsTM and features the world’s best horses and riders vying for their share of $250,000 in prize money as well as 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.
This year’s Event also features selection trials to choose the U.S. Eventing team for the 2012 London Olympic Games assuring that the nation’s top horses and riders will be at their best as they compete for places on the team for this summer’s Olympics.
The Event draws 50-100,000 spectators and is seen by millions more on worldwide telecasts including a 60-minute live broadcast on NBC in the United States that will air on Sunday, April 29 from 2:00-3:00 pm EDT.
The Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup returns for its second year, April 27-28. The Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup is the only Three Star Reining competition currently scheduled in the U.S. in 2012 and offers $100,000 in prize money in the CRI3*, along with the popular $25,000 World Freestyle Championship.
In addition to the world-class competition, Rolex Kentucky also features world-class shopping at the Sponsor Village and Trade Fair. With more than 175 merchants selling everything from horse-related items to clothing, accessories, jewelry and art, this is always a favorite place for browsing and buying during the Event!
Additionally, the famed Country music group Exile will perform as part of a free two-hour concert on Saturday, April 28 from 3:30–5:30 pm. The show will be free to anyone holding a ticket to either the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event’s Cross-Country competition, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm, or the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup’s World Freestyle Championship, 5:30-7:30 pm.
Further information on the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bridgestone, is available at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event website at www.rk3de.org and information on the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup is available at www.KentuckyReining.com.