William Fox-Pitt Wins His Second Rolex
LEXINGTON, Ky. - It was an exciting finale to the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event on Sunday afternoon with the winner being decided only when the very last horse, Parklane Hawk, had cleared the final show-jump in the Rolex Arena. Briton William Fox-Pitt, a winner in 2010 on Cool Mountain, climbed from second place after the dressage phase on Friday afternoon to lead after cross country with one of only seven faultless rounds over Derek Di Grazia's course on Saturday riding Catherine Witt's New Zealand bred ex-racehorse.
When both Allison Springer for the USA, sitting in second place, and Jock Paget for New Zealand made mistakes in the show-jumping William knew he could afford to knock one rail down but no more, and he used that up about halfway around the course. As the crowd held their breath he completed the rest of his round faultlessly to win his second Rolex watch, and also the second leg in the Rolex Grand Slam, the Triple Crown of Eventing.
Allison Springer on her own Arthur finished second and highest placed American, and as winner of the National Title she drives home with a lease on a brand new Range Rover for 18 months. Arthur also won the award for the best conditioned horse of the weekend.
A beautiful clear round in the final phase moved Boyd Martin (USA) up to third place on the French horse Otis Barbotierre who was contesting his first competition at this level, and Karen O'Connor (USA) up to fourth place on her new ride at this level, Mr Medicott.
Boyd also finished 8th on his second ride Remington, and in what bodes well for the U-S, Will Coleman put in a solid performance over all three days on his experienced campaigner Twizzel to finish on his dressage score and finished 5th. Show-jump rider turned eventer Marilyn Little-Meredith (USA) surprisingly knocked down three rails in the final phase on RF Demeter to finish 9th and Phillip Dutton (USA) rounded out the top 10 in 10th place on Mighty Nice. Kiwis Jock Paget and Andrew Nicholson finished 6th and 7th respectively.
The cross-country on Saturday exerted a huge influence - out of 54 starters, 32 finished, 20 were clear with no jumping penalties, and of those only 7 finished with no time penalties. Of the 32 that completed, only 30 were presented at the Final Horse Inspection on Sunday morning and 27 were accepted to go forward to the Final Show Jumping Phase. Total attendance during the event was about 41,000
Emily Beshear, married to Jeff Beshear, son of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, completed the event in 20th place on an ex-racehorse bred in nearby Versailles.
William Fox-Pitt went straight from the award ceremoney to the airport to catch a plane home to England. He'll be competing two horses at the Badminton Horse Trials in England next week where he'll attempt to become only the second person ever to win the Rolex Grand Slam, the Triple Crown of Eventing worth $350,000.