After winning a gold medal at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010, German rider Michael Jung returned to the Kentucky Horse Park to finish not just first but also third overall at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. The competition ended Sunday with the stadium jumping phase.
The only difference for Jung was the horse.
His previous gold medal winner, Sam, had eight jumping faults and came in third. His mare Fischerrocana went earlier in the day, but with a double clear round she shot up the standings.
New Zealand rider Tim Price was in first place after cross-country but dropped to second after Wesko knocked down one rail.
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Jung said he was more relaxed after his clear round on Fischerrocana, the horse he rode first. Because she needs more speed over fences, Jung said, he rode his other horse, Sam, too much the same.
"I did not really concentrate on him," Jung said. "I think that was the mistake."
Price said he tried to put the pressure aside when he came in the stadium as the last rider of the day.
"You just put that to one side and focus on what you've got to do," Price said afterward. "I just tried to harness that as an advantage. ... I just rode a slightly bad line, but other than that I think the pressure of the situation helped" Wesko.
Last year's winner, Great Britain's William Fox-Pitt and Bay My Hero, was fourth, and previous Rolex winner Phillip Dutton of the United States, riding Fernhill Cubalawn, was fifth. Both riders had clear rounds.
The stadium jumping course was a tough one, and only a handful of horses jumped with no time or jumping faults.
Sunday's weather was a huge improvement over Saturday's rain, and the Rolex Stadium was sold out under blue skies. About 23,000 people showed up for the jumping Sunday, with a crowd total of 75,533 over the weekend.
In sad news, however, another rider, Emily Cammock of New Zealand, announced Sunday that she had to euthanize her horse, Dambala, after he injured a suspensory ligament on the cross-country course. The pair had gone clear on the course, but she later withdrew from competition.