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U.S. Riders Win Both Divisions at The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Bayer

by Ben Sledge | Apr 26, 2004, 12:00 AM

(NBC, OLN, CNBC To Air Coverage May 2nd, 9th and 16th )

At this weekend’s Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event presented by Bayer, Kim Severson of Scottsville, VA, won the CCI**** (four-star) Championship and Darren Chiacchia, of Springville, NY, won the new Bayer Modified Four-Star Three-Day Event. The Rolex CCI**** included a strong field of international competitors from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Greece and New Zealand. It is the first time the modified format has been run in international competition and it is a new format that will be used in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The Modified Event was open to U.S. citizens and riders residing in North America who with the horse have already met the qualifying requirements for the Olympic Games. Some riders competed in both divisions on different horses.

NBC-TV will broadcast a 90-minute recap show on the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** event on Sunday, May 2 at 1:30 p.m. EST. The Outdoor Life Network (OLN) will broadcast a two-hour program on the Bayer Modified Four-Star Three-Day Event on Sunday, May 9 and Sunday, May 16 starting at 5:00 p.m EST. In addition, CNBC in Europe will air the Rolex CCI***. CNBC Europe reaches about 85 million homes in over 40 countries.

What a Difference a Year Makes

Just a year ago Kim Severson was sidelined with a broken leg suffered in a fall a week before the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, one the world’s four four-star three-day events, “I was in so much pain at this time last year it really didn’t bother me that I wasn’t there.” Kim and her mount, Winsome Adante, were to have come back last year to defend their 2002 title. This past fall, the horse affectionately known as “Dan,” was rushed to a veterinary hospital for emergency colic surgery, a procedure which is performed on the intestinal tract.

And what a difference a year makes. Despite the torrential rain during the technical dressage test on the first day, the heavy footing on the demanding cross country course on the second day, and a nail-biting finish over a challenging stadium jumping course that saw few clear rounds on the third day, Severson and Dan returned to the Rolex event to prevail once again as champions. Neither rain, nor colic, nor broken limbs were to stop the pair from reclaiming the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** title this year.

“I’m happy for the horse. He had a very hard year last year. This one was definitely very emotional for me, luckily in a good way,” she said after the competition.

Severson led from the beginning. She posted the lowest score in the dressage phase and then went cleanly, without any time penalties, in the cross country. The tension mounted when her closest competitor, Phillip Dutton of Australia, attacked the stadium jumping course just before her and went clear, but his score of 43.0 versus her score of 37.0 still left Severson room to pull down one rail and still win.

Cool, calm and collected, they went double clear, with no time penalties and no jumping faults. The crowd erupted into a standing ovation which continued while Kim was interviewed by NBC-TV for the 90-minute broadcast of the competition on May 2. Dutton on Nova Top placed second, Abigail Lufkin of the U.S. rode Kildonan Tug to third, and William Fox-Pitt of Great Britain rode Ballincoola to a fourth place finish.

Winsome Adante is owned by the Plain Dealing Farm, Inc. of Parent, VA.

Chiacchia and Windfall 2 Win Modified Event

A second division, unlike any previous three-day eventing format, was run in Kentucky this weekend. Called the Bayer Modified Four-Star, it matches the new format to be used at the Olympic Games in Athens this coming August. “It’s important for our Olympic hopefuls to get experience in this new style of competition which does not include the traditional road and tracks and steeplechases phases. We learned a great deal from this weekend’s competition which will help us prepare for Athens.” said Jim Wolf, Director of Eventing and Games Preparation for the USEF.

The winner of the Modified division was Darren Chiacchia and the brilliant black Trakehner stallion, Windfall 2. The pair have had an excellent year to date, and won the Individual Gold medal at the Pan American Games last October in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They were second going into Sunday’s Stadium Jumping but gave the leader Nathalie Bouckaert a comfortable margin of 6.6 points when they knocked down a rail. Bourckaert and her horse West Farthing were last to go, but when West Farthing unexpectedly refused the first fence on the course then dropped two rails, the pair dropped down to seventh in the standings and afforded Chiacchia the title. “We have all been there, I felt for her,” said Chiacchia. “There isn’t a rider that hasn’t.”

Phillip Dutton of Australia was again second, this time on Hannigan, and John Williams of the U.S., riding Carrick, was third. American Amy Tryon on My Beau was in fourth.

Windfall 2 is owned by Tim Holekamp of Columbia, MO.

A good performance at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is important to all the competitors because the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) selectors for the Olympic team are watching very closely. In mid-June, the “short list” will be announced. It consists of 15 horse and rider combinations from which a final team of five plus one alternate will be selected.