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Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Set To Begin
Lexington, KY, USA
Photos: Anthony Trollope/
Phillip Dutton and Connaught
Fifty-seven of Eventing's best horses passed the veterinary inspection and are ready to begin competition in America's most thrilling equestrian competition the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Farnam at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.

Seven Canadian horse-rider combinations presented for the first inspection with six passing on first jog. Unfortunately on reinspection one of Penny Rowlands mounts, Roundabout owned by Don J. Good was not accepted by the ground jury.

The Event is hosting many of the world's top horse-and-rider pairs as they compete for one of the most coveted purses in equestrian sports and one of the most prestigious championships in the sport of Eventing.

Competition at Rolex Kentucky begins with the dressage tests, which take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28. The cross-country jumping phase begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 29. The final test of horse and rider, show jumping, will be held from noon-3 p.m. Sunday, April 30.

Heading the list of U.S. entries are four of the five riders on the United States, Bronze Medal team from the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Led by Individual Silver Medalist and Rolex-Kentucky defending champion Kim Severson of Scottsville, VA, the team included Darren Chiacchia of Ocala, Fla.; Amy Tryon of Duvall, WA; and John Williams of Southern Pines, NC (team member Julie Richards of Atlanta, GA, is not entered at this year's Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event).

Severson, Tryon and Williams were also part of the United States, 2002 Gold Medal World Championship Team.

Severson, who has won Rolex Kentucky three times on Winsome Adante, will be riding another horse, Royal Venture, an Australian-bred Thoroughbred who placed fourth at the Luhmuhlen (Germany) CCI**** in 2005. Chiacchia will compete Windfall II, a German-bred Trakehner who is fresh from a win at The Fork CIC-W*** April 6-9 in Norwood, N.C. Tryon is riding her 2004 Olympic mount, Poggio II, a U.S.-bred Thoroughbred who was fourth at the 2004 Rolex Kentucky. She also will compete Woodstock, another U.S.-bred Thoroughbred. Williams will be aboard Sloopy, a U.S.-bred Thoroughbred who was second in two advanced outings at Pine Top, GA, and Southern Pines, NC, this spring.
Garry Roque and Waikura
Five-time Olympian and six-time Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event champion Bruce O. Davidson, Sr. of Unionville, PA, and three-time Olympian Karen O,Connor of The Plains, VA, another Rolex Kentucky champion, also return for this year's event. Davidson, whose skillful riding never fails to thrill fans, will be aboard Little Tricky, a U.S.-bred Thoroughbred who was seventh at the 2004 Rolex Kentucky Event. O,Connor, another crowd favorite, is riding Upstage, a New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred who was 12th and sixth respectively, at his two Rolex Kentucky outings in 2003 and 2004 (modified division).

Other Olympians entered are Stephen Bradley of Leesburg, VA (Brandenburg's Joshua and From); Mara Dean of Round Hill, VA (Nicki Henley) and Nina Fout of Middleburg, VA (3 Magic Beans).

Several international stars are also entered including Olympic veterans Andrew Hoy of Australia; 2004 Olympic individual Gold Medalist Leslie Law of Great Britain; two-time Team Gold Medalist Philip Dutton of Australia; and William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain.

The 2006 Rolex Kentucky is a United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Selection Trial for the Eventing World Championships Aug. 20-Sept. 3 at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aaechen, Germany. For the first time, Rolex Kentucky is being run under the ,without Steeplechase 0/00 (short) format, consistent with requirements for FEI Championships. Many of the horses and riders at Rolex Kentucky will go on to the World Championships in Aaechen in August.

Cross country course designer Mike Etherington-Smith of Great Britain, in his 14th year at Rolex Kentucky, has added two new features this year and modified some obstacles on this year's course, changes that will help prepare horses and riders for what they will face at the World Championships. A water feature has been added to the Lexington Bank, now called the Banks & Splash, and the course now features a true Normandy Bank.

Weather expected over the weekend is expected to be cool, wet and include a few thunderstorms. This combined with the fact that Lexington weather is rather unpredictable at this time of suggests that spectators planning on attending should bring sunblock and a sweater with their raingear.

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