The starting field of 60 has been whittled down by one following the first horse inspection at the Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Land Rover. Known as the “Best Weekend All Year,” the Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover is being held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, April 27-30.
The ground jury of Christina Klingspor of Sweden (President), Nick Burton of Great Britain and David Lee of Ireland evaluated the fitness of horses from the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Germany, Australia, France, New Zealand and Mexico before a keen crowd of about 2,000 fans on Wednesday afternoon.
Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights were held for re-inspection before Rutledge chose to withdraw in the holding box. Also held were Jordan Linstedt and Revitavet Capato, but they were accepted upon re-inspection.
Certainly a favorite to take home the top prize this weekend is Germany’s Michael Jung and his superstar mare FischerRocana FST–the pair won this event in 2015 and 2016. But among his prominent rivals for the $400,000 prize money will be former Rolex Kentucky champions Phillip Dutton, who won in 2008 on Connaught, and Kim Severson, who won in 2002, 2004 and 2005 on Winsome Adante.
This year, Dutton will ride Fernhill Fugitive, I’m Sew Ready and the veteran Mr. Medicott and Severson will ride Cooley Cross Border, a young horse she has been developing. If Jung wins again, he will be the first person to have won Rolex Kentucky for three consecutive years.
The riders will be aiming for the top prizes that will be awarded on Sunday, including the coveted Rolex watch. The total prize money is $400,000-a $50,000 increase from last year–of which $130,000 will go to the winner.
Dressage competition gets underway on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. with a special test ride by the retiring Ballynoe Castle RM and his long-time groom Kathleen Blauth-Murray. The first competitor will enter the ring at 10:10 a.m. After the final competitor rides on Thursday, Alison Springer and Arthur will do one last dressage performance in Rolex Stadium, in a farewell performance for fans. Dressage action resumes Friday at 9:00 a.m. Saturday features the cross-country phase, the heart of the competition, with the climactic show jumping phase concluding the event on Sunday.
The Kentucky Three-Day Event is the nation’s premier Three-Day Event and one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions in the world. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the world’s governing body of equestrian sports, has designated the Kentucky Three-Day Event as a ‘Four Star’ eventing competition, the highest designation, which is given only to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and six annual events around the world. “Rolex Kentucky” is the only Four Star event in the Western Hemisphere and is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. It hosts the Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge and serves as the Rolex/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship.
Spectators can enjoy a world-class three-day event competition and shop at the Sponsor Village and International Trade Fair with almost 200 booths and tents. Rolex Kentucky also features tailgating, a fund-raising farm-to-table dinner Thursday evening, on-site beer garden, 5K race on Friday evening, Land Rover test drives and Champions Live! on Sunday morning. Ticket buyers also receive general admission to the Kentucky Horse Park, America’s only theme park dedicated to horses.
The Kentucky Three-Day Event will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, May 7, from 1:30-3:00 p.m. EDT. USEFNetwork.com will livestream the competition in its entirety live as it happens and will also have the coverage available on demand. FEITV.org will also livestream the event internationally.
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 Kentucky Three-Day Event.
The official charity of this year’s Kentucky Three-Day Event is Central Kentucky Riding for Hope (CKRH). Further information is available at the event’s official website at www.RK3DE.org.