William Fox-Pitt (GBR) Wins His Third Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

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William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero
William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero

 

In what has become almost an expected ending at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt show jumped a clear round to clinch the win. He also won the event in 2010 and 2012, and is now tied with Kim Severson (USA) for a record three wins each in North America’s only four-star event, the highest level in the sport of eventing.

Lauren Kieffer and Veronica
Lauren Kieffer and Veronica

 

It looked like Lauren Kieffer (USA) was in with a good chance to win after jumping a perfect, clear round under tremendous pressure aboard her relatively new ride Veronica. But when Fox-Pitt failed to pull a rail it guaranteed him the win (and another new Rolex watch!).

Yesterday’s third-placed rider, Phillip Dutton (USA) aboard Mr. Medicott, withdrew the horse before Sunday’s final horse inspection, so unfortunately he did not get to finish out the show. This opened the way for many other horses and riders in close contention, however.

In the end, a clear round by Buck Davidson (USA) aboard Ballynoe Castle RM, who finished fourth here as a pair last year, leapfrogged up the leaderboard over several combinations that had rails down to come in third.

Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM
Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM

 

Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville
Fourth-place finishers Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville

 

Regardless of how easy winning seems for him, Fox-Pitt insists that isn’t the case. “Each win is very special for its own merits; you still can’t believe when it happens. The odds are so stacked against you in our sport.”

At 11 years old, the Irish Sport Horse gelding Bay My Hero is one of Fox-Pitt’s youngest and least experienced horses. However, he had no problem proving himself worthy of a four-star win. “I’ve had Bay My Hero since he was 5; he’s part of the team and family. We have a great bond, and he’s a real character. We all love him at home and he knows he’s the best!”

Marilyn Little and RF Smoke on the Water
Fifth-place finishers Marilyn Little and RF Smoke on the Water

 

Kieffer, who rode at Rolex once before on her Anglo-Arabian Snooze Alarm in 2010, really stepped up to the plate this year with an ultra professional ride in all three phases. “It took a lot of mental focus to try and stay cool,” she said of being in second place during her show jumping round. “I tried to ride like it was any other show.”

Her mount, the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Veronica, is one she’s known for a long time. “She was imported when she was 5, and they brought her to me to sell, but I broke my arm. So Karen [O’Connor] rode her for me and liked her so much she bought her!” After O’Connor’s recent riding accident sidelined her indefinitely from eventing, Kieffer took over the ride once again.

Marilyn Little and RF Demeter
Sixth-place finishers Marilyn Little and RF Demeter

 

Asked about the mare’s personality, Kieffer said, “We call her ‘Piranica’ sometimes. She’s not a cuddler! But I’ll take her like that any day.”

Ballynoe Castle RM had something of a comeback story this year. Last year, the 14-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding had his first injury in all his years of eventing, a bone bruise, and started back to work in November. “I started early with him to give us some extra time just in case, and then he got pneumonia a few months ago,” said Davidson. Thankfully he recovered exceptionally well from the medical double-whammy and finished the best of Buck’s three mounts at this year’s event.

Jan Byyny and Inmidair
Seventh-place finishers Jan Byyny and Inmidair

 

Another fantastic year of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is in the books … until next year!

For individual ride replays, go to www.usefnetwork.com.

Visit www.rk3de.org for full results. Read all the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and Kentucky Reining Cup news at HorseChannel.com/Rolex2014.

2014 ROLEX KENTUCKY THREE-DAY EVENT: FINAL TOP 10

  1. William Fox-Pitt (GBR)/ Bay My Hero–44.0
  2. Lauren Kieffer (USA)/ Veronica–46.7
  3. Bruce (Buck) Davidson Jr. (USA)/ Ballynoe Castle RM–51.7
  4. Sinead Halpin (USA)/ Manoir de Carneville–51.7
  5. Marilyn Little (USA)/ RF Smoke on the Water–52.5
  6. Marilyn Little (USA)/ RF Demeter–55.3
  7. Jan Byyny (USA)/ Inmidair–56.7
  8. Phillip Dutton (USA)/ Trading Aces–57.5
  9. William Fox-Pitt (GBR)/ Seacookie TSF–59.1
  10. Selena O’Hanlon (CAN)/ Foxwood High–59.4

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Holly Caccamise
Holly Caccamise has been with Horse Illustrated and Young Rider since 2007, and in August 2019, she took over as head editor. She’s been instrumental in the production of both magazines and helped Horse Illustrated win a 2018 American Horse Publications Media Award in the General Excellence Self-Supported Publication (circulation 15,000 and over) category. Before getting involved in the editorial side of print media, she worked as an award-winning ad copywriter for Thoroughbred Times magazine. Caccamise has her MS in Animal Science from the University of Kentucky, where she studied equine nutrition and exercise physiology, and her Bachelor’s from UCLA in Biology. Caccamise has also worked as a research assistant, horse camp counselor teaching riding and vaulting, and as a top-level show groom in the eventing world, where she continues to compete her horse, Artie, at the lower levels.

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