Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event, presented by Bridgestone: okay, we’re not surprised at all by the early leaders after day one of dressage – after all, the “brand” for Rolex is that crown of excellence!!!
In first place, after being next to last to go on Thursday’s dressage schedule, is Remington XXV and Boyd Martin. We’re very pleased to rely on the press release produced by chief press officer Marty Bauman and his Classic Communications staff, considering the lateness of the hour and encroaching exhaustion…
All three judges placed Boyd and Remington XXV first – on a score of 45.3 penalty points. Boyd, 32, (West Grove, PA) said that Remington XXV, 16, was one of the first horses he competed when he moved from his native Australia seven years ago. The Hanoverian gelding, owned by Henley House Stables, had only foxhunted before Martin began working with him.
“He’s a good old horse,” said Boyd, grinning. “He’s taken me all around the world now, and it was wonderful to ride a test on a horse who knows what he’s doing.”
Boyd rode on his first U.S. team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and now has his sights set on earning his first Olympic team berth and a ticket to London.
No surprise either is second-placed Karen O’Connor (Middleburg, VA) and Veronica on 47.8. She looks fit and strong and much younger than her actual years, considering she has been competing in three-day for 35 years – a testimony to how seriously she’s taking her bid for the London Olympics. Winning the Dubarry of Ireland Style Award for being best-dressed (female) rider in the first veterinary inspection affirmed the effort and energy she has invested. At the press conference following the first day of dressage, Karen said: “I’m really emotional about it.”
Karen first won Rolex Kentucky in 1991 and topped the leaderboard again in 1997 and 1999. Her current goal is to ride on her fifth Olympic team and stated that last fall she put herself on a demanding exercise program to be sure she was as fit as her horses.
“This competition is extremely important to me, and I owe it to myself and everybody who’s put a lot of time and effort into me to be ready for it and for whatever may be beyond,” said Karen. “If I don’t give it 110 percent, then shame on me.”
New Zealander Andrew Nicholson stands in third place on 48.7pp with Calico Joe and perennial crowd-pleasers Becky Holder and Courageous Comet, unofficial ambassador of Off The Track Thoroughbreds, stand in fourth place on 48.8pp. Double four-star debutantes Doug Payne and Running Order hold fifth place on 50.2pp.
Both Doug Payne and Running Order making their four-star debut, adding even more sweetness to landing in fifth place after the first day of dressage. The standings are going to experience big changes throughout Friday as the second day of dressage gets underway at 9:30 a.m. and concludes at 4:00 p.m.
Still to go on Friday: William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Parklane Hawk, plus second rides for Boyd Martin, Andrew Nicholson, Karen O’Connor and Becky Holder. Second horses for Meredith Little-Meredith, Michael Pollard, James Alliston, Buck Davidson, Phillip Dutton, and a bunch of other contenders who would love to knock the leaderboard apple cart upside down. The excitement keeps mounting with the cross-country coming up on Saturday.
Check out the Rolex Kentucky official site for ride times, results, a virtual course walk, and you can even watch live on the USEF Network.
Check back Friday morning – we’ll have information about the 20 horses entered in the Kentucky Cup Reining that takes place in the Alltech Arena on Friday evening, plus coverage of the second day of dressage, etcetera!!!