Articles: Press Release
Olympic Champion David O’Connor Wins Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event,
Presented By Bayer
Marty Bauman, (508) 698-6810, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lexington, KY—May 2, 2001—David O’Connor of The Plains, VA, won the 2001
Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bayer.
The Sydney Olympic champion gave a world-class performance with the
15-year-old Giltedge, owned by Jacqueline Mars. The pair led the dressage
following the first of two days of dressage competition with a penalty score
of 37.0, and stood in second position once all 53 competitors had completed
the dressage phase.
“I think it’s tougher than Sydney in a lot of ways,” said O’Connor, 39,
prior to riding the challenging cross-country course set by 2000 Olympic
course designer, Michael Etherington-Smith of Great Britain. “There are a
lot of questions where, if you don’t have something quite right, if you’re
not quite on your game, you are going to pay the price. It’s not one where
you’re going to be able to save it if something goes wrong.”
On the cross-country phase, O’Connor jumped cleanly with Giltedge but missed
the time allowed of 12:07 by four seconds to incur 1.6 time penalties. The
extra penalties brought his two-day total to 38.6 penalties and dropped him
to third position behind two New Zealand riders, Andrew Nicholson (34.4) and
Bryce Newman (37.8).
In the final phase of stadium jumping, O’Connor and Giltedge gave a clear
jumping effort to put the pressure on the leaders. Both Nicholson and
Newman failed to match O’Connor’s faultless performance, moving O’Connor
into the top position in a dramatic climax.
With the win in North America’s only Olympic-level Three-Day Event came
$50,000 US and a Rolex timepiece. O’Connor also captured the U.S.
Equestrian Team (USET) Four Star Eventing Championship and was awarded the
USET’s Pinnacle Trophy, which is maintained at the USET headquarters in
Gladstone, NJ. It also marked O’Connor’s 3rd win at the Rolex Kentucky
Three-Day Event although his first two in 1990 and 1995 came when the event
was contested at the three star level.
Placing second in the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event was Australia’s Phillip
Dutton with the 13-year-old Simply Red, owned by Gil Phillips and Carl
Bouckaert. The two-time Olympic team Gold Medalist had a final score of
41.2 penalties to claim the Carimati Cup, awarded to the highest-placed
In addition to the win on his team Bronze Medal mount, O’Connor also took
third position with his Sydney Individual Gold Medal partner, Custom Made, a
16-year-old Irish thoroughbred gelding, with a final score of 47.6 penalty
Five-time Olympic veteran Bruce Davidson, Sr. of Unionville, PA, and Olympic
Team Silver Medalist Ian Stark of Great Britain tied for fourth position
with a three-phase score of 48.0 penalties. Davidson, riding the
American-bred Little Tricky, finished the cross-country phase closer to the
optimum time to break the tie and earn fourth place. Stark and Arakai were
awarded fifth position.
The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, Presented by Bayer, celebrated its first
live European broadcast on Sunday, April 29, on EuroSport. In the United
States, ESPN aired the event Sunday, May 6, from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. EDT.
With the win, O’Connor begins his cycle in the $250,000 Rolex Grand Slam of
Eventing where $250,000 is awarded to any rider who can win the Rolex
Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley Three-Day Events consecutively.
The four days of competition attracted 84,077 spectators who took in the
four star event, one of only four in the world held on an annual basis. In
addition to Olympic-level equestrian competition, the large Trade Fair
boasted over 150 exhibitors offering a wide variety of products, equine and
The horses and riders weren’t the only ones jumping obstacles at the Rolex
Kentucky Three-Day Event. The U.S. Dog Agility Association Regional
Championships saw trained dogs vying to qualify for the Animal Planet/USDAA
Grand Prix of Dog Agility World Championships, Dog Agility Masters Team
Championships and the $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase as they cleared
hurdles, scaled ramps and ran through tunnels, all against the clock.
The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event also hosted the United States Pony Clubs
Prince Philip Cup, showcasing the team spirit and horsemanship of Pony Club
members from across the country as they competed in Mounted Games.