A record 91 horses have been entered for this year's event that returns to Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, April 23-26, breaking last year's record of 82. The field includes 75 riders from nine countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, The Netherlands and USA.
In addition to 2012 Olympic teammates Fox-Pitt and Phillips, the list of entries includes Michael Jung of Germany who won individual Gold medals at both the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park. All entries have their sights set on the Rolex title. This year's prize money has been increased to $300,000 - with $100,000 going to the winner along with a Rolex watch. This year's event is also an official selection trial for the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and will help determine which US event riders will be chosen to compete at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, next July.
British rider Zara Phillips, granddaughter of the Queen, will be making her debut appearance at "Rolex Kentucky", and has entered High Kingdom, the horse on whom she won a Team Silver medal for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and also at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games in France. Joining her is her London teammate and four-time Olympian William Fox-Pitt, who has claimed the Rolex title three times previously (2014, 2012, 2010) and has three horses entered including Bay My Hero, the horse on whom he claimed victory with last year. Nicola Wilson, also a member of the 2012 British Olympic team, has two horses entered including her 2014 World Equestrian Games horse Annie Clover.
Although he competed at the Kentucky Horse Park during the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, Michael Jung is another newcomer to Rolex Kentucky. He has entered La Biosthetique - Sam FBW, the horse with whom he won double gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and also the World Championship title when the World Equestrian Games were held at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2010.
U.S. rider Phillip Dutton, a five-time Olympian with two Gold medals to his name, will be looking to reclaim the Rolex Kentucky title that he won in 2008 with one of the three horses that he has entered. He heads a strong U.S. contingent that will be seeking to win the Rolex title for the U.S. for the first time since Dutton's win in 2008.
"Rolex Kentucky" is one of the world's most prestigious equestrian competitions, and is one of only six Four-Star Three-Day Events in the world and the only one in the Western Hemisphere. It is a part of the FEI Classics Series, which unites the top four-star international Eventing competitions from around the world, and also gives competitors 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.
The Dubarry of Ireland Nations Team Challenge will be featured again this year, awarding $20,000 in prize money while helping national teams prepare for the team competition at the Pan American Games this summer. The winning nation will be the nation with the fewest penalties after adding together the final scores of the three highest-placed individuals from that nation. The prize money will be split among the top four teams.
Held in conjunction with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the $120,000 Kentucky Reining Cup, the crown jewel of the annual FEI Reining schedule, which also features The Adequan/USEF Open Reining National Championship. The Championship will be an FEI-recognized CRI3* event held in two rounds over two days, April 24-25. The Kentucky Reining Cup will also include the World Freestyle Championship which will award the title of "World Champion" in Freestyle Reining, as well as $20,000 prize money that will mark the largest purse for a Reining Freestyle anywhere in the world.
Known to fans as "The Best Weekend all Year," the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event offers something for everyone: the highest-level of equestrian competitors, tailgating, music, shopping, bourbon tastings, and, new this year, a 5K and a Commemorative Maker's Mark Bottle Fundraising Auction and Reception. Visitors also receive general admission to the Kentucky Horse Park, America's only theme park dedicated to horses.
Horses and Hope, a breast cancer initiative of the Office of Kentucky's First Lady and the Kentucky Cancer Program (KCP), has been named the Official Charity of the 2015 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover and will be the recipient of the proceeds from the Maker's Mark Commemorative Bottle Auction and Reception. Tickets to this fundraising event are $200 per individual or $300 per couple. A voucher worth $100 will be included with each individual or couple ticket purchased. That voucher can be used during the bottle auction. Tickets will not be available at the door. Limit of one bottle per ticket. Call (859) 254-8123 to order tickets.