New Zealand rider leads Rolex Kentucky after first day of dressage

jpatton1@herald-leader.comApril 25, 2013 

After the first day of dressage competition at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, veteran New Zealand equestrian Andrew Nicholson leads on Calico Joe, with a score of 40.8.

Nicholson came to Kentucky riding a string of four wins in Europe, starting with a four-star, or Olympic-level, competition at Burghley in Great Britain.

The top American rider after day one was Becky Holder, riding Can't Fire Me to a score of 44.2. Canadian Shandiss McDonald, on Rockfield Gant Juan, edged ahead of last year's champion, British rider William Fox-Pitt on Seacookie, for third with a score of 45.7.

The rider with the lowest score wins.

Fox-Pitt and Nicholson could have a great deal to win or lose this weekend. If Nicholson wins Rolex Kentucky, he will be chasing the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing at the Horse Trials Badminton in Gloucestershire, England, and $350,000 in prize money.

Most unusually, Fox-Pitt also could be chasing the Grand Slam if he wins the Rolex. Fox-Pitt won Burghley in 2011 and Rolex in 2012, but Badminton was rained out last year, denying him a chance to complete the "Triple Crown of eventing." That sets up an unprecedented possible head-to-head competition.

Rolex Kentucky dressage continues at 10 a.m. Friday. Cross-country competition on Saturday starts at 10 a.m. The jumping finals in Rolex Stadium begin at 1:15 p.m. Sunday.

Complete standings and ticket info are available at Rk3de.org.

Watch live coverage online at Usefnetwork.com/featured/Rolex3Day2013. Televised coverage will be 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday on NBC. Follow coverage on Twitter from @janetpattonhl using #rolexky.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl

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