Fox-Pitt Jumps Into the Lead at 2012 Rolex Kentucky

William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain guided Parklane Hawk to a faultless cross-country round to take over the lead in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bridgestone, with a score of 41.3.

Allison Springer of the United States, the dressage leader, finished 8 seconds slow with Arthur, and those 3.2 time faults dropped her to second place (43.0). Jonathan Paget of New Zealand moved up from fifth to third with a faultless round (44.8).

Boyd Martin of the United States and Otis Barbotiere climbed from tied for 16th to fifth (51.0) with a faultless round, while Karen O’Connor of the United States and Mr. Medicott dropped one place, to fifth (51.0), with 6.8 time faults.

Fox-Pitt, 43, is currently leading the HSBC Classics Series, and if he wins Rolex Kentucky on Sunday, he’ll have won two consecutive legs of the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam.

"I’m trying not to think to much about either of those at the moment. I’m trying to focus on tomorrow—the same old cliché," said Fox-Pitt.

"Parklane Hawk was as good as I hoped he would be today," he added. "He has given me even more confidence in him than before.”

Despite her time faults, Springer, 37, was proud of her performance with Arthur. "I was bound and determined to fight for every fence today, and Arthur responded,” said Springer. "I’m so happy. I needed to get this done.”

Paget, 28, rode on the New Zealand team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games here at the Kentucky Horse Park. Today, Paget and Clifton Promise were one of seven pairs to finish the day with no jumping or time faults.

"You would think that when you’ve jumped around here once, then you would have it in the bag. But that wasn’t the case," said Paget. "Today was a big track that asked a lot of tricky questions. I have complete faith in my horse, but I was definitely nervous."

A total of 18,490 spectators cheered for the horses and riders today. Springer, who has ridden at Rolex Kentucky eight times before, said she noticed the crowds more than ever today.

"The crowds are always amazing here, but this was the loudest I’ve ever heard them in the galloping lanes," she said. Galloping between the throngs didn’t disturb the sensitive Arthur, though. "I think that, maybe, he knows now that the cheers are for him,” she said.

The day was not without a few tense moments, however. Late in the day, Parker, owned and ridden by James Alliston of Great Britain, fell while navigating the second jump on the course. Early reports indicate that the horse was able to walk on to the equine abmulance under his own power and that he was taken back to his stall for further evaluation. As of press time (7:40 p.m. EDT) no further information about Parker's condition was available.

With the top three horses separated by just 3.5 faults, and fourth through ninth places separated by 4.8 faults, tomorrow’s show jumping will be decisive. As always, Richard Jeffery of Great Britain will be designing the course in the Rolex Stadium.

"It’s always a big track here, and I know we’ll have our work cut out for us," said Fox-Pitt, the winner at Rolex Kentucky in 2010.

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 ClassicsTM 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 Event draws 50-100,000 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 2:00-3:00 pm EDT.

In addition to the world-class competition, Rolex Kentucky also features world-class shopping at the Sponsor Village and Trade Fair. With more than 175 merchants selling everything from horse-related items to clothing, accessories, jewelry and art, this is always a favorite place for browsing and buying during the Event!

Further information on the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bridgestone, is available at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event website at

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