After much anticipation, the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event released the draw list for this year's event, slated for April 25-28 in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Kentucky Horse Park. Here's a sneak peek of the some of the riders who'll be competing this year.
Last year's winners, British rider Oliver Townend and Angela Hislop's 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Cooley Master Class (Ramiro B x The Swallow), are planning a return to the bluegrass state for another crack at the title.
A trip across the Atlantic for a piece of the $420,000 prize money is incentive for other European riders as well. Piggy French and Jayne McGivern's 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse Quarrycrest Echo (Clover Echo x Royal China), who were part of last year's gold medal winning team at the World Equestrian Games, will also represent Great Britain. They pair also finished 10th individually at WEG.
Kiwi rider Tim Price, who's based out of England along with his wife Jonelle (also an accomplished eventer in her own right), will be back in Kentucky. Interestingly, the pair were the first husband-and-wife pair to be named to the same Olympic team. Price will be partnering with Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and his own 13-year-old British Sport Horse gelding Xavier Faer (Catherston Liberator x Faerie Dazzler). Two years ago, they placed 18th in the CCI4* Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), and placed 3rd in the CCI4* Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR).
Marcelo Tosi of Brazil is also making the trip to the U.S. with his 2018 WEG partner Glenfly. U.S.-based Nilson Moreira da Silva and Magnum's Martini will also be representing Brazil. Mexico's first CCI5* eventer Daniela Moguel is entered with Cecelia, with whom she completed WEG last year.
Five Canadians are slated to compete: Hawley Bennett-Awad (on Jollybo), Lisa-Marie Fergusson (on Honor Me), Waylon Roberts (on Lancaster), Jessica Phoenix (on Bogue Sound) and Colleen Loach (on Qorry Blue D'Argouges). Each of these riders (with the exception of Roberts) represented Canada at last year's WEG.
Two-time Adelaide CCI5*-L winners Hazel Shannon and Willingapark Clifford, a 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Terrence Snow, are the sole Aussies flying in for the event. Three other U.S.-based Australians are competing: Clayton Fredericks (with FE Ophelia), Ryan Wood (with Woodstock Bennett) and Dom Schramm (Bolytair B). This will be Schramm's first CCI5* appearance.
Other CCI5* rookies include: Ariel Grald (on Leamore Master Plan), Matt Flynn (on Wizzerd), Chris Talley (on Unmarked Bills) and Frankie Thierot Stutes (on Chatwin). Stutes' Chatwin was the only horse in the world to win two CCI4*-L's last year (Rebecca Farm in July and Fair Hill International in October).
Three other riders each have three horses entered. Boyd Martin has CCI5* newbies Ray Price and Long Island T, along with his WEG partner Tsetserleg. Caroline Martin plans to bring Danger Mouse, Islandwood Captain Jack and the more experienced The Apprentice. Lauren Kieffer has entered CCI5* veterans Vermiculus (whom she competed at WEG last year) and Landmark Monte Carlo, along with rising star Paramount Importance.
Buck Davidson has four horses entered, which he will narrow down to three before the start of the event: Carlevo, Copper Beech, Jak My Style and Park Trader. Three of the horses completed Kentucky last year, with the exception of Jak My Style, who would be competing in his first CCI5* this year.
Veteran rider Phillip Dutton has entered Z, an 11-year-old Zangershiede gelding (by Asca) and owned by Tom Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones and Caroline Moran. Dutton and Z were also part of last year's WEG team and finished 13th individually. Dutton is also the last U.S. rider to win Kentucky, back in 2008 with Connaught.
Other ones to watch include: Olympic gold medalist Leslie Law who returns to the CCI5* level after nearly a decade. Doug Payne has been on fire with Vandiver this year. Hannah Sue Burnett and her longtime partner Harbour Pilot, who finished in the top 10 at CCI4* Luhmuhlen International (GER) two years ago, are back in the spotlight. WEG team member Will Coleman and Tight Lines are also headed back to Lexington, hoping to best their 12th place finish there last year. Fan favorite Sharon White returns with her own Cooley On Show, solid contenders after their 8th place finish in 2018.
Eventing fans will be disappointed to miss a few familiar faces this year. Michael Jung and his three-time-in-a-row Kentucky champion fischerRocana FST will not be making the trip from Germany this year. Kim Severson's Cooley Cross Border and Elisa Wallace's Simply Priceless are both sidelined with minor injuries.
At last year's 40th anniversary of the event, over 80,000 spectators enjoyed the action throughout the week. As if eventing isn't exciting enough, for the second year in a row, fans will be treated to an elite show jumping competition as well, as the park hosts the $225,000 Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix, which pulls in some of the top U.S. jumper riders.
Though the entries officially closed on March 26th, we could see a couple more entries in the coming days, along with scratches in the next few weeks.