The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bayer, returns to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington April 22-25, 2004 - April 15, 2004 -- Eventing's biggest names are expected to compete at America's most prestigious equestrian competition -- the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bayer -- which returns to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, April 22-25, 2004.
The Event will host many of the world's best 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.
Husband-and-wife Olympians, David and Karen O'Connor of The Plains, VA, both past Rolex Kentucky champions, return for this year's event. David won the first Olympic Gold Medal for the United States since 1984 when he clinched the Individual Eventing Championship on Custom Made at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney with the best score in Olympic history. He also rode Giltedge in Sydney, helping the U.S. capture the Team Bronze Medal and also won the Team Silver Medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Karen was David's teammate on both those medal-winning teams.
Other top U.S. riders entered to compete include five-time Olympian and six-time Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event champion Bruce O. Davidson, Sr. of Unionville, PA; Olympians Stephen S. Bradley of Leesburg, VA; Julie Richards of Newnan, GA; Jil Walton of Walnut, CA; Robert Costello of Southern Pines, NC; and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Team Bronze Medalists Linden Wiesman of Bluemont, VA and Nina Fout of Middleburg, VA.
Other leading U.S. riders entered include both Team and Individual medalists from the 2003 Pan American Eventing Championship headed by Individual Gold Medalist Darren Chiacchia of Springville, NY, along with Team Gold Medalists Will Faudree of Midland, TX, Jan Thompson of Purcellville, VA, who was the Individual Bronze Medalist along with Individual Silver Medalist Karen O'Connor, and Stephen Bradley.
Additionally, 2002 World Equestrian Games Team Gold Medalists Amy Tryon of Redmond, WA, John Williams of Middleburg, VA, Kim Severson of Scottsville, VA, who won the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI**** in 2002, and David O'Connor are all entered as well. Also competing is the Individual Bronze Medalist from the first FEI World Cup, Gina Miles of Creston, CA.
International stars are also expected to compete including Olympic veterans Stuart Black of Canada, Heidi Antikatzidis of Greece, two-time Team Gold Medalist Philip Dutton of Australia, 2002 FEI Global Leading Rider William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain who placed third at Rolex Kentucky in 2003 and Polly Stockton of Great Britain who was second at Rolex Kentucky last year..
This year's Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event will host two separate divisions. The CCI****, Kentucky's hallmark competition with $190,000 in prize money, is a qualifying competition for the 2004 Olympic Games and includes the 7th competition for the USET Foundation Pinnacle Cup, signifying the zenith in Eventing competition. The U.S. Equestrian Federation requested that Rolex Kentucky host a special competition for competitors who had already qualified for the Olympic Games. It was decided that it would be a Modified Four Star, which is in part patterned after the format to be used for the Athens Olympic Games. Recognized only by the U.S. Equestrian Federation, this division is "Open to U.S. Citizens and Riders residing in North America who as a combination with the entered Horse have qualified for the Olympic Games as per FEI rules and have been approved by their National Federation for entry." It will be the first time ever that horses and riders will run the shortened distance prescribed for Athens.
The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of only four CCI**** events in the world and is the only one held in the Western Hemisphere. The other Four Star events are the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and the Burghley Horse Trials in Great Britain and Adelaide in Australia.
The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is also part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing that awards $250,000 to any rider who can win, in succession, Rolex Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley.
Tickets for the 2004 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event may be purchased at the Rolex Kentucky Ticket Booths at the Kentucky Horse Park beginning April 22. To keep abreast of scores and Event activities, go to the Rolex Kentucky website, www.rk3de.org. To be placed on a mailing list to receive the 2005 Ticket Brochure, please contact Equestrian Events, Inc., P.O. Box 12110, Lexington, KY 40580-2110, (859) 254-8123, (859) 254-5116 (fax), firstname.lastname@example.org.