Holder And Courageous Comet Remain on top at the
2008 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

Lexington, KY - April 26 2008 –

Becky Holder made it very clear that she was not relinquishing her grasp on the top spot at the 2008 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event as she flew around the cross-country course with Courageous Comet.

“He was foot perfect.” said Holder after her round. “He was just absolutely on his game for every minute of it.”

The 13-year-old Thoroughbred gelding flashed the turn of foot that made him a success on the race track and cruised comfortably through the Kentucky Horse Park. Holder's round wasn't without event, she was held on the course before fence eight after Dornin North fell with Lion Display at the footbridge. Both horse and rider were absolutely fine.

“My watch malfunctioned after the hold, so the biggest thing was is that I didn't know what my time was,” said Holder who celebrated her 39th birthday on Thursday. “My watch said 15 seconds and wouldn't stop beeping through the footbridge and the sunken road. I gave up on the watch finally because it wouldn't stop beeping at me so I smashed it with my fist and just said 'forget it - let him gallop between the fences and then slow down and just jump every jump.' And that's what I did.”

Holder, from Mendota Heights, MN riding for her husband Tom who owns 'Comet' kept the same composure that picked up the winning dressage mark on Thursday. Holder and Comet go into show jumping on a score of 39.3.

Becky Holder & Courageous Comet
Photo: Michelle C. Dunn

Phillip Dutton, who had been in third place with Bruce Duchossios' Connaught after the dressage cruised around the course two seconds over the optimum time. The 15-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding gave every fence plenty of air, and moved into second place on a score of 41.7, giving Holder very little breathing room going into the final phase.

“He jumped great, he jumped so high and tried so hard at every single jump,” said Dutton, who was second here last year (winning the USEF National CCI**** Championship in the process) with this same horse. “He really excelled today.”

Duchossios was on hand to witness the horse's spectacular jumping display.

“I've been to Rolex with a lot of Bruce's horses and this is the first time he has been able to come and watch so that is very exciting,” said Dutton.

Phillip & Connaught
Photo: Michelle C. Dunn

Dutton also lies tied for seventh with Acorn Hill Farm's Woodburn.

Stephen Bradley rode Charlotte Harris' From right before Dutton and enjoyed a solid effort from the 15-year-old Russian Thoroughbred gelding. The pair picked up 5.2 time faults on their trip around the course which was designed by Mike Etherington-Smith. They are on a score of 47.8.

“I'm unbelievably pleased with the way that he jumped,” said Bradley who lives in Leesburg, VA. “I'm a little disappointed about picking up a few time faults, but he got a little tired at the end of the course. I'm working on his fitness program so that next time we can go a bit quicker.”

Bradley's only hairy moment came at the final water jump - the four beautifully carved ducks caught people out all day.

“We jumped in but I had a hard time making the turn and he was slightly off the second one,” said Bradley. “He landed real shallow and did two strides in 18 feet. Aside from that, even after he got tired he put out 110 percent and I was thrilled.”

Bradley and his other mount Brandenburg's Joshua, who is owned by Southern Edition Farm, sits 10th going into show jumping.

Missy Ransehousen on Critical Decision and Alison Springer and Arthur jumped up the leaderboard on the strength of their double clears into fourth and fifth respectively.

There were 25 clear rounds, 13 of which were within the optimum time of 11 minutes.

Laine Ashker, who cruised around on her first horse Mazetto early in the day, fell with her second horse, Frodo Baggins at the fifth fence. Ashker was conscious, talking and moving her extremities when she was transported from the venue to the University of Kentucky Hospital. She is currently under the care of the emergency and trauma services staff.

Frodo Baggins was attended to immediately by a team of veterinarians, he was stabilized, sedated and transported to the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Further tests showed that Frodo Baggins had sustained a fracture at the base of his skull as well as a serious lung injury. The prognosis was very poor. A representative for the Ashker family concurred that euthanasia was the most humane option for the horse.

The show jumping gets underway on Sunday at 1 p.m. The final horse inspection starts the morning off at 8.30 a.m.


For full results, go to www.rk3de.org.




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