A different kind of sport horse came out to play on the first night of the Kentucky Invitational CSI3*, presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, and to bask in the atmosphere of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN.
Karl Cook and Caillou 24 went early in the order for the $36,000 Welcome Speed class, but their clean round in 65.47 seconds held up as the evening went on. Ireland’s Connor Swail came the closest, with a time of 65.68 aboard GK Coco Chanel, while countryman Kevin Babington took third with Shorapur in 66.02 seconds.
Several competitors came to grief at the T-shaped Split Rock Jumping Tour fence, but Cook and Caillou 24 sailed over it easily, with the big, gray 12-year-old Holsteiner mare loping home clean and fast.
“(I didn’t think my time) would hold up,” Cook said. “And I didn’t want to be too excited, to be honest, because it would be weird to be super excited and then have the next person beat me, but I just went as fast as I could.”
Completing tonight’s speed class was compulsory to contest Saturday’s big class, the $225,000 Kentucky Invitational CSI3* presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, and some riders played it safe in preparation for tomorrow’s class. But, there were plenty who wanted a piece of the $36,000 prize money for the Welcome Stake.
Cook, 28, made the trip to Kentucky from Southern California and was thrilled to get the win on the opening night.
“We were clear and I was happy,” Cook said, adding that he likes to give the crowd a fun performance. “When they come, you like to give a good show. (The venue is) great, and the atmosphere here is great, and it makes you want to ride better.”
Cook also emerged with a new good luck charm: he was wearing a silver tie emblazoned with the face of his wife’s new puppy. Cook is married to actress and fellow equestrian Kaley Cuoco.
About the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN
Now in its 41st year, the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN (LRK3DE) is a thrilling competition featuring Olympic-level riders and horses from across the nation and around the world in what can best be described as an equestrian triathlon. Riders vie for their share of $400,000 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 LRK3DE, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton, and Land Rover Burghley Five Star Events in succession. Known as “The Best Weekend All Year,” the event also serves as the Land Rover/USEF CCI-5*-L Eventing National Championship presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN.
Also featured as a part of the competition is the Dubarry of Ireland Nations Cup Team Challenge, with each team vying for $20,000 in prize money. Four teams will line up for their share of the winnings.
LRK3DE also hosts the second annual $225,000 Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix presented by Hagyard Equine Medical Institute on Saturday afternoon, April 27, after the cross-country portion of the LRK3DE. Stadium seating tickets for the Grand Prix are only $5 each – with $1 going to Land Rover Kentucky’s 2019 Official Charity, Bluegrass Land Conservancy. As part of the competition there is also a $36,000 Welcome Speed Cup Ranking Class on Friday in the Rolex Stadium, after the day’s LRK3DE dressage competition. No stadium seat ticket is required for Friday’s Ranking Class.
All grounds admission tickets to the LRK3DE include general parking and admission to the Kentucky Horse Park and International Trade Fair, but do not include seats for the competition in Rolex Stadium on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Reserved stadium seating is sold separately from grounds admission.
The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, May 5, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT. It will also be broadcast on NBC Sports Network on June 23, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT. USEFNetwork.com will livestream the competition in its entirety – including the two CSI jumping classes – in the U.S. and abroad. Competition will also be archived and available on demand.
Further information on the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN is available at www.KentuckyThreeDayEvent.com.
About Equestrian Events, Inc.
EEI is a non-profit charitable Kentucky corporation that was established initially to produce the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the success of those championships, EEI established an annual event that evolved into the world-renowned Kentucky Three-Day Event, which draws more than 80,000 spectators to the Kentucky Horse Park each year. In 2018, EEI organized and produced the new Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix and will be managing the 2019 and 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships. All three competitions are held at the Kentucky Horse Park. For more information, please visit www.eq-events.com.
About Land Rover
Founded in 1948, Land Rover designs, engineers, and manufactures its vehicles in the United Kingdom. For almost 70 years the brand has built a reputation for providing its clientele with some of the most luxurious and capable vehicles in the world; whether driving through the heart of the city or traversing the countryside on- and off-road. Today’s Land Rover lineup includes the Discovery and Discovery Sport; Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque. Land Rover is fully engaged with sustainability initiatives and social concerns with continuous involvement in environmental and community programs. For more information, visit the official Land Rover website at www.landroverusa.com.
About Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer, built around two iconic British car brands: Land Rover, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium all-wheel-drive vehicles; and Jaguar, one of the world’s premier luxury sports sedan and sports car brands.
At Jaguar Land Rover, we are driven by a desire to deliver class-leading vehicles, which will provide experiences our customers will love, for life. Our products are in demand around the globe. In 2017/18 Jaguar Land Rover sold 614,309 vehicles in 129 countries, with more than 80 percent of our vehicles being sold abroad.
We support around 260,000 people through our retailer network, suppliers and local businesses. Manufacturing is centered in the UK, with additional plants in China, Brazil, Austria and Slovakia.
Our innovation is continuous: we will spend in the region of £4 billion this year on new product creation and capital expenditure.
From 2020 all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will be electrified, giving our customers even more choice. We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles as well as continuing to offer the latest diesel and gasoline engines.
About MARS EQUESTRIAN
MARS EQUESTRIAN, a brand and sponsorship division within MARS INCORPORATED, is the link between our iconic brands and the equestrian community. For generations, MARS has celebrated a rich equestrian heritage, and through purposeful partnerships, MARS EQUESTRIAN is committed to the sport and building an enduring legacy. From world-class competitions across all equestrian disciplines, to stewarding the power of horses on society and sustainability, MARS EQUESTRIAN is dedicated to our purpose to improve the lives of horses, pets, and the people who love them.
For more information about MARS EQUESTRIAN, please visit www.marsequestrian.com.