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On the individual side, it was defending Olympic champs Michael Jung and Sam who performed in their typical, flawless fashion to add zero penalties to their score and secure gold. France’s Astier had six faults on his jumping round, but stayed in silver medal position.
The U.S. team didn’t have the Olympic outing they’d hoped for—Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen retired on course yesterday, and Veronica and Lauren Kieffer were eliminated after a fall on the cross-country course. With only two horse-and-rider pairs remaining, the U.S. was already out of medal contention before the end of the day yesterday; three scores are required to make team standings.
Boyd Martin and the off-track Thoroughbred Blackfoot Mystery had a good individual qualifying round this morning, knocking down two rails on what appeared to be a very challenging stadium course. But “Red” looked to have run out of energy during the final round this afternoon, and the pair added 12 faults to their score, finishing 16th overall.
Team captain and veteran Olympian Phillip Dutton with the talented Mighty Nice remained as the last chance for a finish on the podium for the U.S. Their final round was quick and careful, but one rail left them in fourth place with the top riders yet to go. When Australia’s Christopher Burton and Santano II knocked down two rails, Dutton moved up to bronze medal position and stayed there, giving the U.S. something to celebrate after a tumultuous event.
Stay tuned for more news and exclusive photos from Horse Illustrated’s correspondents in Rio. Equestrian competition resumes tomorrow with dressage set to begin at 9:00 a.m. ET.