A record 73 horses are entered to compete in this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bridgestone, which returns to the Kentucky Horse Park April 26-29.
An international field of past Rolex Kentucky champions and Olympic veterans includes some of the sport’s biggest names from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
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 Classics 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 lineup of riders and horses entered in this year’s event is truly amazing,” said Christina Gray, director of competition. “Adding to the record field of U.S. entries, we also have a record number of entries from overseas including some of our sport’s legendary names. Anyone who follows the sport of Eventing will want to be on hand this year for what promises to be the most exciting Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event ever.”
The event draws 50,000-100,000 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 2-3 p.m. EDT.
Olympic veterans and past winners of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event expected to compete this year include:
• Stephen Bradley of the United States, a 1992 Olympic veteran and 1996 Rolex Kentucky
• Phillip Dutton of the United States, a three-time Olympic veteran with two team Gold medals (1996 and 2000) for his native Australia and 2008 Rolex Kentucky CCI4 champion
• William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain, a three-time Olympic veteran with team Silver (2004) and Bronze (2008) medals and 2010 Rolex Kentucky CCI4 champion
• Clayton Fredericks of Australia, a 2008 Olympic team Silver medalist and 2007 Rolex Kentucky CCI4 champion
• Becky Holder of the United States, a 2008 Olympic veteran
• Andrew Hoy of Australia, a six-time Olympic veteran with an individual Silver (2000) and three team Gold (1992, 1996, 2000) medals and 2006 Rolex Kentucky CCI4 champion
• Andrew Nicholson of New Zealand, a six-time Olympic veteran with team Silver (1992) and Bronze (1996) medals
• Karen O’Connor of the United States, a three-time Olympic veteran with team Silver (1996) and Bronze (2000) medals, 1999 Rolex Kentucky CCI4 champion and two-time Rolex Kentucky CCI3 champion (1991 and 1997)
In addition to these Olympic veterans and past Rolex Kentucky champions, many more of the sport’s leading riders from the United States and abroad are entered to compete. The full list of entries is available on line at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event website at rk3de.org.
Also attracting an impressive field of entries is the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup which 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 it is expected to draw horses and riders from around the globe, vying for their share of $100,000 in prize money in the CRI3, along with the popular $25,000 World Freestyle Championship.
Among those entered to compete are:
• Tim McQuay of the United States, a two-time veteran of the FEI World Equestrian Games with an individual Silver (2006) and two team Gold (2006 and 2010) medals
• Lisa Coulter of Canada, a veteran of the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games
• Lyle Lovett of the United States, four-time Grammy Award winner, country music legend and veteran of the 2011 Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup CRI5
Rolex Kentucky also features shopping opportunities at the Sponsor Village and Trade Fair. More than 175 merchants selling everything from horse-related items to clothing, accessories, jewelry and art.
Additionally, the 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 a.m.–3:30 p.m., or the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup’s World Freestyle Championship, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
More information on the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bridgestone, is available at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event website at rk3de.org and information on the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup is available at KentuckyReining.com.