Fox-Pitt Wins at 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

On Parklane Hawk, William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain (45.3 penalties) won the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bridgestone, for the second time in three years. His prizes include the signature Rolex watch and $80,000 in prize money.

Allison Springer of the United States, on Arthur, held on for second (47.0) and earned $37,000, and Boyd Martin of the United Sates, on Otis Barbotiere, moved up to third place (51.0) to earn $30,000. Martin also finished eighth on Remington XXV (56.9).

By winning the Rolex USET Four-Star Championship as the top-placed U.S. rider, Springer, 37, also won a special prize—an 18-month lease of a 2012 Range Rover HSE courtesy of Land Rover North America.

Springer test-drove the car on a lap around the Rolex Stadium during the awards ceremony. "It’s a good thing they kept someone in the car with me, or I’d have been out there doing donuts!” she said with a smile.

Martin, Karen O’Connor and William Coleman—who were placed fourth, fifth, and sixth after Cross-Country—put the pressure on the top three by each jumping faultless rounds. Jonathan Paget of New Zealand, standing third on Clifton Promise, succumbed to the pressure by lowering two jumps in the triple combination (fences 9A and 9C), dropping him to sixth. O’Connor, on Mr. Medicott, moved up to fourth (51.0), and Coleman, on Twizzel, moved up to fifth (51.3).

Fox-Pitt, 43, has now won two consecutive legs of the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam. He won the Land Rover Burghley Three-Day Event (England) last September, and if he wins the Badminton Three-Day Event (England) next week, he’ll become only the second rider to win Rolex Grand Slam. (Pippa Funnell won the Rolex Grand Slam in 2003.) Fox-Pitt’s victory also extended his lead in the HSBC FEI Classics Series.

"This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to winning the Rolex Grand Slam," Fox-Pitt said. "I’ve never managed to win two four-stars in a row, and this is wonderful, but to win three in a row is fairly unlikely."

Fox-Pitt said that he felt fortunate to collect first place. "I thought that the fence I had down was going to be a tricky fence for Parklane Hawk. He was just arguing with the bit today, and I was thinking, 'You need to look at the jump, mate.' When you have a fence down it makes a huge difference, and when the cushion is gone, panic can set in."

He added, "It was a serious show jumping track, and I’m just very lucky that Allison took that long route at the third–last fence yesterday." On Saturday’s cross-country course, Springer chose to jump the slow option on fence 27, which caused her to finish 8 seconds over the optimum time and add 3.2 time faults to her first-placed dressage score.

Springer said that she was "very, very pleased with Arthur. Four years ago, I went into show jumping in fifth place, and I stopped counting after five rails. But this time I was excited to come in the show jumping ring because I knew what I had to do, and I did it. It’s great to feel that way after all three days."

Martin put together a syndicate to import Otis Barbotiere from France in 2010, and his performance with him and Remington means that Martin, 32, now has four horses qualified for the U.S. team at this summer’s Olympics in London. "It was a huge gamble, and I’m happy this horse has confirmed what I thought of him. It’s a fantastic result for his first four-star," said Martin.

The total paid attendance for the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bridgestone, was 41,085.

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.

Further information on the 2012 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bridgestone, is available at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event website at www.rk3de.org.

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