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Kim Severson and Winsome Adante Claim Second Victory inRolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI****

Kim Severson & Winsome Andante
©Marc Manning www.rk3de.org
Kim Severson and Winsome Adante led the field from start to finish to claim victory in the 2004 CCI**** Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bayer, held April 22-25, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
The winner in 2002, a broken leg prevented Severson from defending her title last year, but Three-Day Eventing fans were thrilled to see the 30-year-old Virginia native return to the winner’s circle. Severson of Keene, VA, took the early lead on Friday with a dressage performance that garnered a score of 37 penalty points from the international panel of judges. Throughout the next two phases, cross-country and stadium jumping, Severson and Winsome Adante were perfection personified, adding nothing to their opening score to claim their second Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event at the four-star level. Riding Over The Limit, Severson also won the three-star division of the event in 1999, the final year the CCI*** was held.

“I feel more connected with Winsome Adante than I have in the past, he feels stronger and more together,” said Severson who earned $60,000 US in prize money as well as a Rolex timepiece to add to her collection.

The three previous riders all posted clear rounds to put the pressure firmly on Severson’s shoulders, but neither she nor the 11-year-old English thoroughbred gelding owned by Plain Dealing Farm, Inc., let it interfere with their game plan. Having contributed to the Team Gold Medal effort at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, Severson is now hoping to be selected for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, but is cautious about her chances.

“We’ve been in this position before where it has looked good and we didn’t get to go, so it’s way to soon to tell,” commented Severson.

Phillip Dutton of Australia and Nova Top finished as the runner-ups and were awarded the Carimati Cup as the highest-placed foreign combination. Dutton was one of seven riders to complete course designer Michael Etherington-Smith’s without penalty, a feat he repeated on Sunday over the stadium jumping test set by Richard Jeffery to finish on his dressage score of 43 penalty points.

“He’s an interesting horse,” reflected Dutton of the 13-year-old English thoroughbred gelding owned by Shannon Stinson. “Someone asked me this morning if I ever thought I would get this far with him and I’m not sure that I did. His dressage is getting a lot better, he’s turned out to be a cross-country machine and in show jumping he just tries so hard.”

Abigail Lufkin of Middleburg, VA, enjoyed a successful return to the sport following a four-year hiatus while she completed her graduate studies in California. Like Severson and Dutton, Lufkin also added nothing to her dressage score of 45.8 penalty points riding Kildonan Tug, an 11-year-old Australian thoroughbred gelding.
“One of the things I like best about this sport is that you experience such a range of emotion,” noted Lufkin, 33. “You have the nerves and you have the adrenaline, and you also care how your friends are doing and feel for them if they have a bad day.”

William Fox-Pitt finished fourth with a score of 47.4 riding Ballincolla, the same position as in 2002 when he made his Rolex Kentucky debut aboard Stunning although he did one better in 2003, finishing third aboard Moon Man. Rounding out the top five was Julie Richards of Douglas, GA, riding Lufkin’s former mount, Jacob Two Two.

Offering $190,000 in prize money, the CCI**** Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event was a qualifying competition for the 2004 Olympic Games as well as the seventh competition for the USET Foundation Pinnacle Cup.
In addition to the CCI**** division, this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event also hosted a Modified Four Star Three-Day Event that was, in part, patterned after the format to be used for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Open only to U.S. Citizens and Foreign Riders residing in North America who have already qualified for the Olympic Games under FEI rules, the Bayer Modified Four Star division marks the first time ever that horses and riders had the opportunity to run the shortened distance prescribed for Athens.

In a dramatic finish, overnight leader Nathalie Bouckaert was the final competitor out on course riding West Farthing. Coming to the very first fence on the stadium jumping course, the 11-year-old English thoroughbred gelding put on the brakes, resulting in four penalties for the refusal. Once underway, Bouckaert of Chatsworth, GA, picked up an additional eight jumping penalties as well as six time faults to drop down to seventh position with a three-day total score of 56.6.

Her misfortune was to Darren Chiacchia’s benefit as the Pan American Champion moved into top spot to secure victory riding Windfall II, an 11-year-old black Trakehner stallion. Despite having the final fence on course down to incur four penalties, Chiacchia’s winning score of 45.2 had him well in front and secures his place as one the United States’ top hopefuls for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

“I think that Windfall has answered all of the questions, but it still up to the Selectors and until it is in print, anything can happen!” noted Chiacchia of Springville, NY. “He’s positioned himself well, and proven that he is a horse that you can count on in all three phases.”

Once again, victory was just out of Dutton’s reach. One of four penalty-free stadium jumping performances catapulted the two-time Olympic Team Gold Medallist into second place with Hannigan, a 13-year-old Irish thoroughbred gelding, also formerly ridden by Lukfin.

“It’s good to move up the rankings when you can, but I was truly sorry for Nathalie,” commented Dutton. “I’ve known both Hannigan and Nova Top for quite a while and when I get in the saddle, I know what they will do.”
While Dutton continues to ride for his native Australia, he is based in West Grove, PA, and Australian Olympic Selectors were on hand to observe his performance. As for his hopes, Dutton commented, “They play their cards close to their chest, but if luck is on our side, I hope to be in Athens.”

Finishing in third position was John Williams of Middleburg, VA, and his handsome 12-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding, Carrick. Sitting sixth after dressage, Williams slowly but steadily found himself improving in the standings over the three days, helped by a clear cross-country performance. Williams and Carrick were instrumental in the Team Gold Medal victory at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain.

Two dropped rails in the final stadium jumping phase moved Amy Tryon of Redmond, WA, down to fourth position with her long-time partner My Beau, a 14-year-old Canadian thoroughbred gelding, while 2003 Pan American Championship Team Gold Medalist Stephen Bradley of Leesburg, VA, and the Russian thoroughbred, From, rounded out the top five with a final three-day score of 54 penalty points.

NBC-TV will present a 90-minute telecast of the 2004 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, presented by Bayer, on Sunday, May 2, from 1:30-3:00 p.m. EDT. In addition, the Cross Country portion of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event will air on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) on Sunday, May 9 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. EDT and will re-air on Friday, May 14 from 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. EDT. The Stadium Jumping portion of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, which will include a Cross-Country recap, will air on OLN on Sunday, May 16 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT and will re-air on Friday, May 21 from 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m. EDT. The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event also will be broadcast in Europe on CNBC Europe, which will air coverage on Sunday, May 2 at 10:00 pm (Central European Time).

The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of only four CCI**** events held in the world. The three other 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 Rolex Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley in succession.
In addition to the exciting equestrian action, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event featured an international trade fair with more than 125 merchants, the United States Pony Clubs Prince Philip Cup and a variety of other fun family activities and entertaining attractions.

For full information on the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, presented by Bayer, please visit the official Rolex Kentucky website at www.rk3de.org.

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