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April 21, 2006

I'll Bet Kim Severson Will Claim Her Fourth Rolex Kentucky CCI**** Title This Year

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April is a grand time to be in Kentucky, and the recent news that the Kentucky Horse Park has been awarded the 2010 World Equestrian Games makes it even better.

The director of the event, Jane Atkinson, has already started planning for what will be the biggest equestrian extravaganza that has ever been held on the North American continent. Few events attain the status of a "destination" event, but the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** has certainly earned a place in that select group. Rolex is in its 26th year of sponsorship, and the sport quite literally could not have done it without their support.

This year, most of the improvements to the administration and scheduling are going on behind the scenes. I often think that good administration is like Karen O'Connor's tattoo--you can't see it, but you know it's there. Janie and her crew don't leave much to chance. The traffic pattern remains the same, and I have a default setting on my computer that says, "The trade fair is bigger than ever this year."

Wear what your grandmother used to call "sensible" shoes and bring both credit cards. You'll need them.

Horse lovers are also dog lovers, but last year some of your doggies were a little naughty and left tootsie rolls in the stands. This is a no-no, and Janie has fixed it by creating "The Doggery." If you bring your dog and have a reserved seat in the grandstand, you and your dog can watch from the Doggery. (This year, remember to dispose of the evidence in an approved container.)

One of the many factors involved in running the WEG is that the Kentucky Horse Park must be set up for multi-purpose use. The cross-country course will reflect this over the next four years, starting this year with the new water complex at the Lexington Bank, which will also be used for the driving in 2010.

Make sure you allow time to walk around Mike Etherington-Smith's and Mick Costello's course, because you'll see course design and building at its highest state of development. While you walk around, make sure you respect the galloping lanes and stay to the outside of the ropes so that the horses have the best possible footing to gallop over on Saturday.

Several old friends on the course have been re-designed, and there is a new Normandy Bank in the infield that's not for the faint-hearted.

The show jumping phase in modern events exerts a terrific influence. When you give Richard Jeffery, the show jumping course designer, a setting like the Kentucky Horse Park, I can promise you he'll produce a nail-biting, cliff-hanging finish over a course that's world class.

Most of you won't be able to get to the Horse Park Wednesday for the first veterinary inspection, but by all means you should get up early Sunday morning and come to the final inspection. It's not often that you can stand this close to this many fit, perfectly groomed and fabulous equine athletes. The look of eagles will be on display Sunday morning. Don't miss it.

This year's field might be the highest quality across the board that we've seen here in a long time. I counted almost 20 horses out of the 77 entered who have a legitimate chance of finishing in the top 10.

A quality field like this produces quality competition, and the winners here will have to produce a very high standard indeed. (And I'll have to stick my neck out even farther than usual!)

Last year, I bet against Kim Severson and Winsome Adante. I won't make that mistake again. They're on form at the spring horse trials so far and should produce another one of their flawless rounds to come home the winners yet again. But this year Kim and Dan will have to jump a clean round on Sunday afternoon because she'll have Leslie Law, Phillip Dutton, William Fox-Pitt and Andrew Hoy nipping at her heels. Expectation and occasion can be a crushing burden, but once again I predict that Kim and Dan will be up to it.

FREETOWN: b. g., 15.3 hands, 11 years, New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred, by Hula Town--Give Away, owned by rider.
IMTIAZ ANEES (IND): age: 35, Sharpsburg, Ga.
In 2004, placed fourth in the CIC** at Stuart Horse Trials (N.Y.) and 12th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.). In 2005, placed eighth at Foxhall CCI*** (Ga.). In March, placed 12th in the Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.).
Imtiaz is an experienced international competitor, but Freetown is a little short of four-star mileage. Imti will aim for a steady, educational round.

BALMORAL CAVALIER: b. g., 16.3 hands, 14 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred cross, by Balmoral Boy--Wahine, owned by Mary Jane Crabtree, East Melbourne, Australia.
EMILY ANKER (AUS): age 28, Victoria, Australia.
In 2004, won the Melbourne CCI*** (Australia). In 2005, completed the Adelaide CCI**** (Australia).
Jackson Brown has a song about "the brave and crazy wings of youth." Think how Emily must feel, flying halfway around the world to ride at Rolex, on a horse that has won at the CCI*** level, and nobody knows who you are over here. Talk about no pressure. Emily is probably one of the few riders here who could walk through the trade fair and not get recognized. But I think that by Sunday afternoon, she'll have a
pretty fair fan club.

EIGHT SAINT JAMES PLACE: b. g., 16.2 hands, 15 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Mangaki--Sandy Tiger, owned by Valerie Ashker, Crozier, Va.
LAINE ASHKER: age 21, Crozier, Va.
In 2004, completed the Blenheim Petplan CCI*** (England) and placed sixth in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2005, placed eighth in an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.). In February was second in an intermediate division at Rocking Horse (Fla.).
Laine made several rookie mistakes last year, but I'm sure she has learned from them. She should jump the clear round that was within her grasp 12 months ago.

GRYFFINDOR: b. g., 16.3 hands, 12 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Country Light--Lani Molly, owned by rider.
KRISTIN BACHMAN: age 34, Marietta, Ga.
In 2005, placed fourth in the CIC*** at Galway Downs (Calif.) and third in the CIC*** at Rebecca Farm (Mont.), 15th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and 10th at Jersey Fresh CCI*** (N.J.). In March, won an advanced division at Pine Top (Ga.).
Every year at this time I hand out the "Whodat?" Trophy to the best-placed rookie. I predict that Kristin will receive the Whodat? Trophy on Sunday afternoon. Gryffindor is a terrific horse. He may be short of experience at this level, but he's not short of talent.

LIVINGSTONE: b. g., 16.3 hands, 16 years, Canadian-bred Thoroughbred cross, by Wanderkind--Dancing Proud, owned by rider and Gerry Bennett, Langley, B.C.
HAWLEY BENNETT (CAN): age 28, Langley, B.C.
In 2004, were members of the Canadian Olympic Team in Athens, placed fourth in the advanced horse trials at Copper Meadows (Calif.) and 14th in the modified division at Rolex Kentucky. In 2005, placed fifth in the CIC*** at Galway Downs (Calif.), second in the CIC*** at Rebecca Farm (Mont.), 18th at Rolex Kentucky, and 15th in the FEI World Cup Final (Sweden).
This isn't Hawley and "Hank's" first rodeo. They know their way around the Kentucky Horse Park, and they'll add another clear round here to their list of achievements.

FLEECEWORKS STARLIGHT: br. m., 16.2 hands, 9 years, Irish-bed Thoroughbred cross, by Cavalier--Fiona's Butler, owned by rider
and Elkins Wetherill, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
STUART BLACK: age 46, Bluemont, Va.
In 2004, won the CCI**s at High Prairie (Colo.) and Radnor (Pa.). Won an advanced division at Southern Pines (N.C.) in 2005 and placed eighth in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).
Stuart is a former winner here, and he'll produce a clear round with a few time faults.

BLACKOUT: blk. g., 17.1 hands, 11 years, New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred, by Omnicorp, owned by rider.
KRISTEN BOND: age 26, Ocala, Fla.
Placed 20th in the CCI**** at Rolex Kentucky in 2004 and third in the CCI*** at Fair Hill (Md.) with Stuart Black. In 2005, with Kristen, placed 13th at Fair Hill.
I haven't seen Kristen go this year, so I'm not sure how she'll do.

RAMPANT LION: gr. g., 16.3 hands, 12 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Distinctive Pro--Paula Sue, owned by rider.
CARL BOUCKAERT (BEL): age 53, Chatsworth, Ga.
In 2004, completed the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) under Wendy Lewis. Also with Wendy riding, in 2005, placed eighth in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.) and ninth in the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. With Carl aboard, completed the European Championships at Blenheim (England) and placed 11th in the Strezgom CCI*** (Germany). In March, placed 10th in the CIC*** at Fontainebleau (France).
Carl is one of the most popular competitors on the international circuit today. His business affairs keep him from training as hard as he'd like, but he has struck up a good partnership with Rampant Lion, and his experience will stand him in good stead.

BRANDENBURG'S JOSHUA: b. g., 16.2 hands, 11 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred by Gilded Rooster--Josh's Dancer, owned by Southern Edition Farm LLC, Leesburg, Va.
STEPHEN BRADLEY: age 44, Leesburg, Va.
In 2005, won the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.). In March, won an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.).
Stephen and Josh won Foxhall last year. I don't think they'll repeat that here, but Stephen has won at the CCI**** level before [at Burghley, England, in 1993], and they should win here within the next few years. They'll certainly finish in the top 10.

FROM: b. g., 16.2 hands, 13 years, Russian-bred Thoroughbred, by Mif--Floema, owned by Maria T. Land, Columbus, Ga.
STEPHEN BRADLEY: age 44, Leesburg, Va.
Placed fifth in the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in 2004. In March, completed an intermediate division at Poplar Place (Ga.).
From is not as experienced as his stablemate, Brandenburg's Joshua, and Stephen will strive for education rather than speed.

BRU MAGUIRE: b. g., 17.2 hands, 9 years, Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse, by Cavalier--Catania, owned by Acacia Brush, Pataskala, Ohio.
URSULA BRUSH: age 25, Pataskala, Ohio.
Placed fourth in an advanced division at Morven Park (Va.), second in the advanced horse trials at Wayne (Ill.) and 24th in the CCI*** at Fair Hill (Md.) in 2005. (Ursula and Acacia have also worked on arena crew in dressage at Rolex since they were very young.)
This is Ursula's first trip around a four-star, but she's well-coached and ready for the challenge of her young life. She should take a couple of the long routes and find out what life is like in the
fast lanes.

KILTARTAN: dk. b. g., 16.2 hands, 10 years, Irish-bred by Cavalier, owned by rider.
MOLLY HOOPER BULL: age 30, Scottsville, Va.
In 2004, placed 11th in the CIC*** at Over The Walls (Mass.) and ninth in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2005, placed third in an advanced division at Morven Park (Va.).
Kiltartan is a very good horse, and Molly rides well, but they have had a spotty preparation this spring. They're ready for this, but Molly has to decide that they really are up to it and ride the way I know she can ride.

WINDFALL II: blk. st., 16.2 hands, 14 years, German-bred Trakehner, by Habicht--Wundermaedel, owned by Timothy Holekamp, Columbia, Mo.
DARREN M. CHIACCHIA: age 41, Ocala, Fla.
Placed second in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and won the individual gold medal in the Pan American Championships at Fair Hill (Md.) in 2003. In 2004, won the modified division at Rolex Kentucky and was a member of the U.S. bronze-medal team at the Athens Olympics, finishing 12th individually. Won an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.), placed second in the Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.) and fourth in the Chatsworth CIC*** (Ga.) in 2005.
Darren and Windfall's preparation this spring was hampered by a broken rein at Red Hills, but they're none the worse for their experience and should start the competition close to the lead after dressage. Look for them to finish close to the top 10.

SECOND HOPE: blk. g., 16.3 hands, 14 years, German-bred Westphalian-Thoroughbred cross, by Akrtos--Romanze, owned by Tivoli Farm, Gordonsville, Va.
WILL COLEMAN: age 22, Gordonsville, Va.
In 2004, placed second in the advanced horse trials at North Georgia, seventh in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.), and 19th in the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. Placed 16th in the Luhmuhlen CCI**** (Germany) in 2005.
Will is one of our rising young stars. He won't finish in the top 10 this time, but he'll be there soon, I'm sure.

WILD DELIGHT: gr. g., 16.3 hands, 11 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, owned by Leila Clay, Needham, Mass.
ROBERT COSTELLO: age 40, Southern Pines, N.C.
Won an advanced division at Morven Park (Va.) in 2005 and placed sixth in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In March, placed third in an intermediate division at Pine Top (Ga.).
A crashing fall at Red Hills set Bobby's season back a bit, but
he's an Olympic veteran, and he'll ride an attractive, if slightly slow, round.

TROY: b. g., 16.1 hands, 12 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, owned by Penelope Wilson, Malvern, Pa.
SARAH COUSINS: age 42, West Grove, Pa.
Won the advanced at Plantation Field (Pa.) and completed the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) in 2004. In 2005, placed fourth in the advanced at Plantation Field and completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).
Sarah should be able to finish close to her dressage score here, and she'll be back next year with a vengeance.

HYPERLITE: b. g., 16.0 hands, 11 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Daily Review--Guilty Miss, owned by Wendy Lewis, Medford, N.J.
BRUCE "BuCK" DAVIDSON JR.: age 30, Ringoes, N.J.
In CCI***s in 2005, placed 12th at the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.), seventh at Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) and second at Jersey Fresh CCI*** (N.J.).

IDALGO: b. g., 16.2 hands, 10 years, French-bred Selle Francais, owned by Cassandra Segal and Janis Smith, Pottersville, N.J. and Coatesville, Pa.
BRUCE "BuCK" DAVIDSON JR.: age 30, Ringoes, N.J.
In 2004, placed fourth in an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.) and second at Millbrook (N.Y.). Placed third in the CIC** at Stuart Horse Trials (N.Y.) and eighth in the Foxhall CCI*** (Ga.).

PRIVATE TREATY: b. g., 16.1 hands, 10 years, Irish-bred, by Cavalier, owned by rider and Luke Allen, Oxford, Pa.
BRUCE "BuCK" DAVIDSON JR.: age 30, Ringoes, N.J.
In 2004, won the advanced horse trials at Millbrook (N.Y.), placed 11th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and eighth in the CIC*** at Over The Walls (Mass.). In 2005, placed third in an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.) and 11th at the Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.).
I always say something rude about the rider formerly known as Buck because it makes him mad, and he rides better when he's mad. But, of course, he's going to have to ride better this year, isn't he?

JAM: gr. m., 16.1 hands, 10 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Snar--Honey, owned by rider.
BRUCE DAVIDSON SR.: age 56, Unionville, Pa.
Placed 12th in the 2005 Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In February, won an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.) and placed eighth in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
Jam is a real goer, and she'll benefit from being ridden by a legend. Her disdainful attitude toward dressage is improving, but it will still keep her out of the top 10. Once she starts jumping, she will be fine.

LITTLE TRICKY: ch. g., 16.2 hands, 15 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Babamist--Bay Legs, owned by rider, Joan Heymann-Bergman and Debbie Furnas, Covington, La. and Unionville, Pa.
BRUCE DAVIDSON SR.: age 56, Unionville, Pa.
Placed seventh in the 2004 Rolex Kentucky CCI****. In 2005, placed 11th at the advanced level in the Millbrook (N.Y.) Horse Trials and fourth at Wit's End (Canada). In February, placed 11th in an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.).
Tricky is one of my personal favorites. I still maintain that Bruce and Little Tricky's cross-country round here during the monsoon of 2002 was one of the two or three best eventing rounds I have ever witnessed.

NICKI HENLEY: b. g., 16.1 hands, 10 years, Irish-bred Thoroughbred, owned by Willow Bend LLC, Round Hill, Va.
MARA DEAN: age 32, Round Hill, Va.
Placed third in an advanced division at Morven Park (Va.) in 2005 and 27th in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In March, placed sixth in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
Although she's a 1996 Olympic veteran, it's gratifying to see Mara continuing to improve. Nicki Henley is a fabulous horse, but he can get a bit strong, and she may have a few time faults. However, the selectors will be watching this pair carefully with an eye toward the World Equestrian Games this summer.

GAZELLE DE LA BRASSERIE: br. m., 16.1 hands, 12 years, Swiss-bred Belgian Warmblood, by Karacondo--Oree de la Brasserie, owned by Michel Pellaux, Morat, Switzerland.
KARIN DONCKERS (BEL): age 34, Minerhout, Belgium.
In 2005, placed 11th in the CIC*** at Fontainebleau (France), won the CIC***s at Ede (the Netherlands) and Pau (France) and the CCI*** at Strezgom (Germany).
I haven't seen this combination go, but they have an outstanding record. Karin is a veteran, and I expect this competition to present no problem for them.

AMAZING ODYSSEY: dk. br., g., 16.2 hands, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred cross, by Amazing Bust--Ard Glare, owned by August Vettorino, Ridgefield, Conn.
PHILLIP DUTTON (AUS): age 42, West Grove, Pa.
Won the CCI*** at Jersey Fresh (N.J.) in 2005 and placed 10th in the Burghley Land Rover CCI**** (England).
Phillip will turn in another of his typical smooth, fast, flawless performances cross-country. But Amazing Odyssey's dressage is still under construction for this level. Phillip has a wall full of Olympic medals, but he has never won a CCI****, and he has yet to win an individual medal. Don't think this hasn't crossed his mind.

THE FOREMAN: b. g., 16.1 hands, 10 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Across The Field--Four Flora, owned by Ann Jones, Coatesville, Pa.
PHILLIP DUTTON (AUS): age 42, West Grove, Pa.
Won the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in 2004. In 2005, placed second at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and the Burghley Land Rover CCI**** (England). In March, won the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
Phillip is not exactly talkative. If he had a mouthful of nickels, he wouldn't give you change for a quarter. Still, Chip has had a good season, and what little Phillip has said indicates he expects the horse to go well. He has been second in his last two four-star outings. It speaks volumes about the quality of the competition here that I don't expect him to win. But certainly look for him in the top five.

ANTIGUA: b. g., 16.0 hands, 17 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, by Match Winner--The Great Mistake, owned by Matt and Kerry Faudree, Midland, Texas.
WILL FAUDREE: age 24, Southern Pines, N.C.
In 2005, completed the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton CCI**** (England), won the advanced division of the American Eventing Championships (N.C.) and placed second in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).
Will and Antigua are one of our best young combinations. They'll finish close enough to the top 10 to get the selectors' attention.

3 MAGIC BEANS: b. g., 17.0 hands, 16 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Hidden Capitol--Express Card, owned by rider.
NINA FOUT: age 45, Middleburg, Va.
Members of the U.S. bronze-medal Olympic team in Sydney in 2000. Placed 14th in the CCI**** at Badminton (England) in 2003 and 17th in the CCI**** at Burghley (England) in 2004. Placed sixth in the advanced horse trials at Plantation Field (Pa.) in 2005 and seventh in an advanced division at Pine Top (Ga.) in March.
Beanie is another one of my personal favorites. He has a luminous eye and the look of eagles. He is the archetype of a classic-format horse, and the 21st century doesn't suit him. Two years ago, lacking the soporific effect of 15 miles of roads and tracks and steeplechase, Beanie tried to gallop through the third fence. This, from a horse who had never had a cross-country jumping fault. He seems to have sobered up from his intoxication, and Nina should enjoy her experience a great deal more this year.

COUP DE COEUR: dk. br. g., 16.2 hands, 12 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Joli Coeur--Dark Image, owned by Keith Scott, North Chapel, W. Sussex, England.
IDALGO: ch. g., 17.0 hands, 10 years, French-bred, by Qerdode Paulstra, owned by Studio and TV Hire, George and Jane Apter, Beaconsfield, Buck., England.
MR. DUMBLEDORE: b. g., 16.2 hands, 10 years, Australian-bred, owned by David and Margie Hall and Jeremy and Judith Skinner, Saffron Walden, Essex and Buntingford, Hert., England.
WILLIAM FOX-PITT (GBR): age 37, Newton, Dorset, England.
In 2005, completed the CCI*** at Bramham (England), placed third in the CNC*** at Gatcombe (England) and second in the CCI*** in Kreuth (Germany).
I haven't seen Birthday Night, Idalgo or Mr. Dumbledore go, but Coup de Coeur went well with Leslie Law last year. I'm not sure if William can produce the same tune on him, but I expect them to finish in the top five. William is one of the best riders in the world. Watch him carefully this weekend, because he'll be giving free riding lessons to anyone who wants to improve.

ESKER RIADA: b. g., 17.1 hands, 14 years, Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse, by Vivaldi--Portavoo Belle, owned by Thomas and Carolyn Cadier, Athens, Ga.
WERNER GEVEN (NED): age 45, Columbus, N.C.
Placed ninth in an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.) in 2005 and 21st in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In February, placed third
in the advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.) and in March, placed 11th in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
Werner is a newcomer to this level with this horse, and he'll be looking for a steady, workmanlike round that he and Esker Riada can build on.

TIMBER SPIRIT: ch. g., 16.2 hands, 11 years, Irish-bred Thoroughbred, by Abergwiffy, owned by rider and Anthony Grant, Toronto, Ont.
LESLEY GRANT (CAN): age 31, Mt. Albert, Ont.
Placed fourth in the advanced horse trials at Millbrook (N.Y.) in 2004; placed 12th in the CIC*** at Over The Walls (Mass.) and completed the Foxhall CCI*** (Ga.). In 2005, placed 20th in the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. In February, placed ninth in an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.).
Lesley has shown terrific improvement over the past 12 months and should finish cross-country just outside the time. She and Timber Spirit are up to the challenge, but they cannot yet match the intensity of the competition here.

IDES OF MARCH: b. g., 14 years, Thoroughbred, owned by rider.
MARY GRANTHAM: age 26, Arlington, Va.
Completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in 2003. In 2004, completed the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.) and the CCI*** at Fair Hill.
Mary's preparation has been set back by an ankle injury, and she's just recently off her crutches. But she's an excellent horsewoman with a good horse, and that's a prescription for success here.

BALLADEER TED: ch. g., 16.3 hands, 12 years, Irish-bred Thoroughbred cross, by Miser Lord--Aidas Girl, owned by Connewirrico Sport Horses, Orangeville, Ont.
PETER GRAY (CAN): age 49, Orangeville, Ont.
Placed eighth in the advanced horse trials at Morven Park (Va.) and fourth at Checkmate (Canada) and Wits End (Canada) in 2004. Last year, finished 21st in the Rolex Kentucky CCI****.
Peter is one of the most experienced riders here, with one of the most talented horses, but he cannot put all three phases together yet. I hope this is the weekend that it all comes together for them.

MAGICAL: gr. g., 16.2 hands, 10 years, Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse, by Cavalier Royale--Grange Susy, owned by rider.
PETER GREEN: age 57, Bluemont, Va.
In 2005, placed third at Morven Park (Va.), 19th in the Jersey Fresh CCI*** (N.J.), and completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).
Peter asked for his round to be timed with a sundial, but the judges disallowed his request. A clear round with time faults will keep him out of the top 10.

FRENCH TWIST: ch. g., 16.2 hands, 15 years, Thoroughbred-Belgian Warmblood, owned by rider.
JESSICA HEIDEMANN: age 25, Bellingham, Wash.
Placed third in the advanced division at Rebecca Farm (Mont.) and second at Jackson Hole (Wyo.) in 2003, plus a fifth-placed finish in the Foxhall CCI*** (Ga.). In 2004, placed seventh in the CIC*** at Chatsworth (Ga.) and 13th at Rolex Kentucky CCI****.
I haven't seen this pair go this year, but based on their past record, they should do well.

DAMIEN: b. g., 16.1 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred-Dutch Warmblood, by Dynamite Cap--Dorza, owned by Mari and Roger Secrist, Vass, N.C.
HOLLY HEPP: age 33, Southern Pines, N.C.
Placed sixth in the advanced at Millbrook (N.Y.), ninth in the advanced at the American Eventing Championships (N.C.), and won an advanced division at Morven Park (Va.) in 2005, finishing the year with a 17th-placed finish in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.).
Holly has struck up a wonderfully sympathetic partnership with Damien. But she'll start the cross-country with an average dressage score, and these days that's a margin that cannot be overcome, no matter how talented the horse and rider.

BAD BOY BILLY: b. g., 16.2 hands, 13 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Fiesta Star--Ieem, owned by Rebecca Broussard, Whitefish, Mont.
RALPH L. HILL: age 53, Ocala, Fla.
In 2005, placed ninth in the advanced at Poplar Place (Ga.) and seventh at Red Hills (Fla.).
Ralph was going well here last year until an unfortunate tumble at the Double Brushes. However, Ralph and Billy came to no harm, and Ralph has used the intervening 12 months to make enormous improvements in Billy's dressage. They're poised to break through to the next level this year. Ralph is a long-time favorite here and usually sings his way around the cross-country course. Some years his song selection has been "What A Friend We Have In Jesus." This year it will be "Bad Boys."

COURAGEOUS COMET: gr. g., 16.2 hands, 10 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Comet Shine--Rosenelli, owned by Tom Holder, Mendota Heights, Minn.
BECKY HOLDER: age 37, Mendota Heights, Minn.
Placed second in the advanced horse trials at Wayne (Ill.) in 2004 and won advanced divisions at Richland Park (Mich.) and Poplar Place (Ga.). In 2005, won advanced divisions at Pine Top (Ga.) and Poplar Place (Ga.). In February, won an intermediate division at Pine Top. In March, placed fourth in advanced at Pine Top (Ga.) and Southern Pines (N.C.).
Becky and Courageous Comet are another combination that the selectors will be watching carefully. They haven't broken through yet, but the talent is there, and Becky now has the chance to make her dreams become a reality.

DIRECT MERGER: b. g., 16.1 hands, 10 years, Irish-bred Thoroughbred, owned by rider.
JONATHAN HOLLING: age 29, Ocala, Fla.
In March, placed third in the advanced horse trials at Pine Top (Ga.).
This horse is a powerful jumper, but he probably can not make the time over a four-star course, which will leave him with a clean round yet outside the top placings.

LION KING II: ch. g., 17.0 hands, 12 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Shaab--Granny Smith, owned by Jennifer Holling, Ocala, Fla.
JONATHAN HOLLING: age 29, Ocala, Fla.
Placed 11th in the Foxhall CCI*** (Ga.) and 17th in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in 2002. In 2003, placed 19th in the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. In March, placed 2nd in the Red Hills CIC*** (Fla.).
Last year I told Jonathan that they were ready for their breakout season. But he didn't listen. Professional athletes talk about "controlling their destiny." Jonathan has the opportunity; now he must seize it. Are you listening, Jonathan?

MASTER MONARCH: b. g., 16.1 hands, 15 years, British-bred, by Just A Monarch, owned by Tom Attwood and Richard Constant, England.
ANDREW HOY (AUS): age 47, Minchinhampton, England.
Placed third in the CCI**** at Badminton (England) in 2005 and in March won the CIC*** at Fontainebleau (France).
Andrew is the most technically proficient rider in the world today. I thought he was very unlucky to fall here last year [on Moonfleet], and he'll ship into the Kentucky Horse Park with something to prove. When a rider with an individual Olympic silver medal and multiple team gold medals shows up feeling that he has something to prove, look out. Bet the farm on a top-five placing.

YEOMANS POINT: dk. b. g., 17.0 hands, 13 years, New Zealand-bred, owned by Craig Gore and Thaya Morgan-Phoenix, Gold Coast, Australia.
ANDREW HOY (AUS): age 47, Minchinhampton, England.
Placed seventh in the CNC*** at Chatsworth (England) and sixth in the CIC*** at Luhmuhlen (Germany) in 2004. Placed eighth in the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in 2005 and in March placed ninth in the CIC*** at Fontainebleau (France).
Andrew was in the top 10 last year with this horse, and I have every expectation that he'll go well again this year.

SHEAR L'EAU: gr. g., 16.3 hands, 14 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Stan The Man--Starry Night, owned by Shearwater Insurance Syndicate (Jeremy Lawton and Steven Greene), Waltham Cross, Hert., England.
LESLIE LAW (GBR): age 41, Ocala, Fla.
Individual gold-medal winners in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Won an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.) in February and placed third in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
It says something for the sport in this country that the reigning Olympic gold medalist moves here because he feels the opportunities are better. Leslie has had a good season, and I predict that he'll give Kim Severson a run for her money, finishing heartbreakingly close behind her.

ABOVE N BEYOND: ch. g., 16.0 hands, 11 years, Canadian-bred Thoroughbred, by Colonel Stevens--Sasudio, owned by rider.
TIFFANI LOUDON-MEETZE: age 30, Blythewood, S.C.
Placed third in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) in 2004. Placed second in an advanced division at Pine Top (Ga.).
Tiffani is a former three-star winner here, but I don't expect her to recapture that with this horse yet. She's nothing if not competitive, though, and she'll be having a go at it on Saturday.

ALL'S FAIR: b. g., 16.0 hands, 14 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Krisinsky--Ragdale, owned by rider.
ASHLEY MACVAUGH: age 35, South Hamilton, Mass.
In 2004, placed 20th in the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and 36th in the Burghley CCI**** (England). In March, won the open intermediate at
Rocking Horse (Fla.).
Ashley has had a good season and with no fuss or muss has been preparing her horse to go well here. She should finish just outside the top 10.

YING YANG YO: br. g., 16.0 hands, 10 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, by Mr. Investor--Magical Gift, owned by rider.
BOYD MARTIN (AUS): age 26, West Grove, Pa.
Placed second in the CCI*** at Werribee (Australia) in 2005.
Boyd is yet another in a seemingly endless string of talented Australian horsemen. He'll be slightly taken aback at the level of competition here, but I expect he'll rise to the occasion. This is a combination for the future.

McKINLAIGH: lt. ch. g., 17.2 hands, 12 years, Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse, by Highland King--Kileumney Hostell, owned by Thom Schulz, Creston, Calif.
GINA MILES: age 32, Creston, Calif.
In 2004, won the advanced at Copper Meadows (Calif.), placed fourth in the CIC*** at Galway Downs (Calif.), second at Rebecca Farm (Mont.) and ninth in the Rolex Kentucky CCI****.
Big Mac is a giant of a horse with prodigious scope and movement. When Gina can package all this, she's a formidable competitor at this level. Their form this spring suggests that she's going to have to call on her international experience in order to regain both a place in the upper standings and a team place to the WEG this summer.

EL PRIMERO: b. g., 15.2 hands, 11 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Dr. Dan Eyes--Classic Allure, owned by rider.
SARA MITTLEIDER: age 20, Kuna, Idaho.
Placed second in the CCI** at Galway Downs (Calif.) in 2003. In 2004, placed ninth in the advanced division of the American Eventing Championships (N.C.), third in the advanced horse trials at Jackson Hole (Wyo.), won the advanced at Rebecca Farm (Mont.), and placed 13th in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2005, placed third in the CIC*** at Galway Downs (Calif.) and 18th at Rolex Kentucky.
Sara had a really educational round here last year and will be looking to improve on that performance.

JENGA: b. g., 16.1 hands, 13 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Brigadier Linden--Glebes Scallywag, owned by rider.
BONNIE MOSSER: age 43, Coatesville, Pa.
In 2004, won the advanced division at Menfelt (Md.) and the CIC*** at Over The Walls (Mass.). In 2005, won the CIC*** at Poplar Place (Ga.).
When Bonnie won the Foxhall CCI*** in 2002, I thought she and Jenga were well on their way to stardom. They've had some training setbacks since then, but they're back and seemingly better than ever. There is a great deal of pressure on her this weekend, and the selectors hope she's up to it. I'm sure of it.

DUNRATHS ALTO: dk. br., g., 17.2 hands, 15 years, Irish-bred, by No Alto--Ballarin Lady, owned by rider.
LAUREN O'BRIEN: age 40, Southern Pines, N.C.
Completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in 2004. Placed seventh in the advanced division of the American Eventing Championships (N.C.)
in 2005.
This pair of veterans has had a good spring season, but they've been giving up time faults on cross-country that they cannot afford here if Lauren wants to place well.

UPSTAGE: b. g., 15.1 hands, 15 years, New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred, by Touching Wood--Golly D'Ore, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Thompson, Malvern, Pa.
KAREN O'CONNOR: age 48, The Plains, Va.
In 2003, placed sixth in the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and 27th in the the Burghley CCI**** (England). In 2004, placed 12th in the modified division at Rolex Kentucky. Placed third in the advanced division of the American Eventing Championships (N.C.) in 2005, won the open intermediate at the Kentucky Classic, and placed 10th in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In February, placed fifth in an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.) and seventh in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
Of all the horses I've seen go this spring, "Woody" is one of the most improved. Karen was well placed last year with this horse, and she arrives with a clear idea of what's at stake here. There are quite a few younger combinations jostling for a place on the World Championship team, but my prediction is that Karen isn't ready to step aside yet. She'll be pleased with a top-10 placing. Don't forget to ask her about her tattoo.

WEST FARTHING: dk. b. g., 17.0 hands, 13 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Tripple Sweet--April Foley, owned by rider.
NATHALIE BOUCKAERT POLLARD: age 25, Chatsworth, Ga.
Placed third in the Foxhall CCI*** (Ga.) in 2003 and eighth in the CCI*** Pan American Championships at Fair Hill (Md.). Placed
seventh in the modified division at Rolex Kentucky in 2004, and in 2005 they won the Fair Hill CCI***.
This is probably the only horse here this weekend that can finish ahead of Winsome Adante in dressage. In the past, Nathalie has had difficulty putting three good days together. Thus her success in winning Fair Hill last fall was a welcome sign of overall improvement. A definite top-10 placing is in their immediate future, along with a sigh of relief from the selectors.

HOLY GALLANT: b. g., 15.3 hands, 15 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Gallant Best--Holy Testerosa, owned by rider.
LINDSAY POZARYCKI: age 27, Duvall, Wash.
Completed the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in 2003. Placed seventh in the advanced at Twin Rivers (Calif.) in 2005 and ninth there in March of this year.
I haven't seen Lindsay go this spring.

NAPALM: gr. g., 16.3 hands, 10 years, Irish-bred, by The Joker, owned by rider, Kelly Plitz and Tracey G. Newman, Port Perry, Ont.
IAN ROBERTS (CAN): age 47, Port Perry, Ont.
Completed the CCI** at Bromont (Canada), placed fifth in an advanced division at Pine Top (Ga.) and 22nd in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in 2005. In March, placed fifth in an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.) and 20th in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
This is quite a talented horse, but he is Irish, and that says it all. Having said that, Ian has from time to time turned in some superlative rides at Rolex. But their results this weekend are very much in Ian's hands, literally and figuratively. If Ian is smooth and quiet, all will be well. If his hands look like the Texas chainsaw massacre, well.

WAIKURA: b. g., 16.1 hands, 15 years, New Zealand-bred New Zealand Sport Horse, owned by rider and Gustav Quast, Caledon, Ont.
GARRY ROQUE (CAN): age 46, Caledon, Ont.
In 2005, placed eighth in the advanced horse trials at Wits End (Canada) and completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In February, placed sixth in an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.).
I coached this pair at the Athens Olympics, and one could not ask for a more genuine effort from horse or rider. Waikura is built for comfort, not for speed, and the time limit here is probably just outside his capabilities.

WINDSWEPT: gr. g., 11 years, U.S.-bred Connemara-Thoroughbred, by Grange FinnSparrow--Cartel, owned by Don J. Good, New Hamburg, Ont.
PENNY ROWLAND (CAN): age 50, Orangeville, Ont.
Placed 19th in the 2004 Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2005, placed second in the advanced at Richland Park (Mich.) and 20th in the Fair Hill CCI***. Placed seventh in an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.) in February.
Penny has gone well here in the past, but she's had a bit of a hit-or-miss preparation this spring. She'll have to bring all of her experience to bear to produce the sort of round here that she's produced in the past.

EDWARD 16: b. g., New Zealand-bred, owned by Christine Strube, Germany.
KAI RUDER (GER)
In 2005, placed 13th in the CIC*** at Strenefeld (Germany) and Slizegan (Germany). Placed 11th in the FEI World Cup Final at Malmo (Sweden) and completed the CCI*** at Boekelo (the Netherlands).
I have not seen Kai go, but my observation is that no one ships a horse from Europe without an expectation of going well here. The Germans are one good horse-rider combination away from a medal at the WEG, and Kai and Edward 16 just might be what the German selectors are looking for.

TUMBLE DRY: dk. b. g., 15.3 hands, 18 years, U.S.-bred, by Cinteelo--Be Good Ava, owned by rider.
JENNA SCHILDMIER: age 22, Greenfield, Ind.
Placed third in the advanced horse trials at Plantation Fields (Pa.) in 2004 and 26th in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In March, placed 18th in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
I haven't seen Jenna go this spring.

CAVALDI: b. g., 16.1 hands, 11 years, Irish-bred Irish Sport Horse, by Cavalier Royale--Catell, owned by rider and Bill and Janet Schmolze, Whitehouse Station, N.J.
KRISTIN SCHMOLZE: age 23, Whitehouse Station, N.J.
Placed third in an advanced division at Morven Park (Va.) in 2004. In 2005, placed fifth in an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.), eighth in the CIC*** at Chatsworth (Ga.) and 12th at Rolex Kentucky.
Kristen and Cavaldi are another one of those combinations who cannot seem to put three good days together. It's hard to go to a competition and produce a personal best, but Kristen needs this kind of effort if she's going to impress the selectors here.

ROYAL VENTURE: dk. b. g., 16.1 hands, 16 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, owned by Plain Dealing Farm Inc., Scottsville, Va.
KIM SEVERSON: age 32, Scottsville, Va.
Placed fourth in the CCI**** at Luhmuhlen (Germany) in 2005.
Along with Upstage, "Vennie" is one of the horses who's shown the most improvement recently. On the one hand, this must be demoralizing to some of the younger riders desperately trying to do well here and earn a place on the team. On the other hand, it's a compelling lesson in the nature of true horsemanship that riders as accomplished as Kim and Karen are unremittingly committed to excellence. Vennie won't
beat out his stablemate, but Kim should have two horses in the top 10 this year.

WINSOME ADANTE: b. g., 16.0 hands, 13 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Saunter--Justwith Genoa, owned by Plain Dealing Farm, Inc., Scottsville, Va.
KIM SEVERSON: age 32, Scottsville, Va.
Won the CCI**** at Rolex Kentucky in 2002 and the Mandatory Outing at Over the Walls (Mass.) on the way to an individual
sixth-placed finish in the 2002 World Eventing Championships as a member of the gold-medal team. Won the CCI**** at Rolex Kentucky on their way to a U.S. team bronze medal and individual silver medal at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. Became the first three-time winner and first back-to-back winners of the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in 2005.
I must say I wasn't surprised that Dan fell at the Burghley CCI**** (England) last fall. He jumped the last half of the course here last spring in such a disdainful fashion that I went from wonderment to awe to concern, all in the space of 8 minutes. I expect Kim and Dan to win this year, but they will be pushed to do it, and any misstep will be enough to let one of these other stars step into the
winner's circle.

CALL ME CLIFTON: b. g., 16.2 hands, 10 years, New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred, by Imperial Seal, owned by Frances Stead, Whitford, New Zealand.
DONNA SMITH (NZL): age 26, The Plains, Va.
In 2004, completed the CIC*** at Chatsworth (Ga.) and Rolex Kentucky.
Donna has had to work so hard to get to this level that she forgets to relax and trust her horse. Like many of the less experienced com-
binations here, Donna has a difficult time putting three good days together. But she is up to it if she'll allow her horse to help her.

TOM QUIGLEY: b. g., 16.2 hands, 14 years, Irish-bred Thoroughbred, by Edmund Burke--Dorara Princess, owned by Anne Henson, York, N. Yorkshire, England.
POLLY STOCKTON (GBR): age 32, Malpas, Cheshire, England.
Placed 14th in the CIC*** at Thirlestane Castle (England), 20th in the European Championships at Blenheim (England), and 12th in the Luhmuhlen CCI**** (Germany).
I haven't seen Polly go on this horse, but after narrowly missing selection for the British team in 2004, Polly has something to prove, and she wouldn't put her horse on the plane if she didn't think she could prove it with him.

NO IT TISSANT: gr. g., 16.3 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Admiral's Flag--Yes Tis, owned by rider.
LYNN SYMANSKY: age 23, Vienna, Va.
In advanced horse trials in 2005, placed 10th at Five Points (N.C.), seventh at Fair Hill (Md.), fifth at Plantation Field (Pa.) and fourth at Poplar Place (Ga.) and completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In February, placed seventh in an advanced division at Rocking Horse (Fla.) and 19th in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
I'm delighted that Lynn and "Fergus" made it here. They're only four years late. If Fergus had any respect for dressage, Lynn would be a finalist for the Whodat? Award. But he doesn't, so she isn't. Still, Fergus is a fabulous jumper, and I predict that Lynn will have the time of her life here at Rolex.

PARIS: br. g., 16.2 hands, 9 years, French-bred Selle Francais, owned by Christine Stiller, Charlotte, Vt.
KELLI TEMPLE (CAN): age 45, Round Hill, Va.
Won an advanced division at Pine Top (Ga.) in 2005 and placed second in the Foxhall CCI** (Ga.) and ninth in the Blair Castle CCI*** (England).
Kelli has had a good season and should go well here. This is a nice horse, with the ability to score well in the dressage. If Kelli puts three good days together in a row, they'll earn a place on the Canadian team for the WEG.

TASK FORCE: b. g., 16.1 hands, 15 years, Australian-bred Thoroughbred, by Blue Vein--Chicola Craft, owned by J.C. Chester, Washington, D.C.
JAN THOMPSON: age 38, Purcellville, Va.
In 2003, completed the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and placed 14th in the Blenheim CCI*** (England). In 2004, placed sixth in the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. Last year, placed sixth at Rolex Kentucky and seventh in the FEI World Cup Final (Sweden).
Jan has an excellent record with this horse, and I predict a top-10 finish for her and a place on the WEG team this summer.

WATERFRONT: ch. g., 16.1 hands, 11 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Kuwait Beach--Irish Whisper, owned by Dr. and Mrs. Richard Byyny, Boulder, Colo.
JAN THOMPSON: age 38, Purcellville, Va.
Placed fourth in the advanced at Red Hills (Fla.) in 2005 and second in the Foxhall CCI*** (Ga.).
I haven't seen this horse go this year, but I suspect he's here for education rather than competition.

POGGIO II: b. g., 16.0 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Polynesian Flyer--Waves Club, owned by rider and Mark Hart, Portland, Ore.
AMY TRYON: age 36, Duvall, Wash.
Placed 11th at Rolex Kentucky in 2004 and were members of the U.S. bronze-medal Olympic team, finishing sixth individually. Won the advanced horse trials at Twin Rivers (Calif.) in 2005. In 2006, placed third in an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.).
I'm still laughing at the horrified looks on Mark Phillips' and George Morris' faces when Poggio jumped two clear show jumping rounds at the Olympics in Athens. Unorthodox does not begin to describe him. Still, Amy is one of the most sympathetic of horsewomen, and she trusts Poggio to do his job. They were a bit unlucky with a run-out here last year, and I'm sure Amy is determined to improve on that.

WOODSTOCK: br. g., 16.2 hands, 12 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Candy's Gold--Narmira, owned by The Woodstock Group, Duvall, Wash.
AMY TRYON: age 36, Duvall, Wash.
In 2005, placed second in an advanced division at Southern Pines (N.C.). In March, placed 12th in the advanced horse trials at Poplar Place (Ga.) and won at Twin Rivers (Calif.).
The selectors must be rubbing their hands--a veteran rider with a talented new horse. Amy will not press Woodstock to the limit on Saturday afternoon, and he'll gallop across the finish line with a look on his face that says, "Hey, I can do this."

NORTHERN SPY: b. g., 16.3 hands, 13 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by All Fair--Lavender Fair VII, owned by rider.
HEIDI J. WHITE: age 40, Aiken, S.C.
Placed eighth at Rolex Kentucky in 2004 and completed the Burghley CCI**** (England). In 2005, placed fifth in the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.), 10th in the Badminton CCI**** (England) and 10th in the World Cup Final (Sweden). In March, placed fifth in the CIC*** at Red Hills.
Most of the attention that Heidi and Northern Spy have received has been focused on the horse. This isn't wrong, because Northern Spy is one of the best event horses in the world today. But what gets overlooked is Heidi's determination to improve, her unflagging work ethic, and her uncanny horsewoman's intuition. This pair will finish close enough to the top 10 to satisfy the selectors.

KIPLING: b. g., 16.1 hands, 13 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Cutlass Reality--Hill To Climb, owned by rider and Robyn Whitlock, Lafayette, Calif.
LAUREN WHITLOCK: age 21, Lafayette, Calif.
Completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in 2004. In 2005, won the advanced horse trials at Twin Rivers (Calif.) and finished 31st in the FEI World Cup Final (Sweden). In March, placed third in the advanced horse trials at Twin Rivers.
I haven't seen this pair go this year. They've placed well on the West Coast this spring, but typically, riders traveling from West to East have been startled by the intensity of competition here. A nice horse and rider combination for the future.

OCOTILLO: b. g., 17.0 hands, 15 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Roxbury Park--Miss Paula, owned by Team Ocotillo LLC Wieschhoff, Lexington, Ky.
CATHY WIESCHHOFF: age 47, Lexington, Ky.
In 2004, placed 16th in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and 15th in the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2005, completed the CIC*** at North Georgia, placed 17th at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** and won the advanced horse trials at Wayne (Ill.). In March, placed eighth in an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.).
You'll be able to follow Cathy's progress around the course as she's a hometown favorite with a built-in cheering section. Ocotillo's dressage is improving but hasn't yet reached a level where they can compete with the best in the business. Still, Cathy's experience will see them safely around.

SLOOPY: b. g., 16.1 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Two Davids--Nearly Sloopy, owned by rider, Robert Boeckman and Mary Delton, Honeoye Falls, N.Y.
JOHN WILLIAMS: age 41, Southern Pines, N.C.
Placed 18th in the Burghley CCI**** (England) in 2004. In 2005, placed sixth in the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.). In March, placed second
in advanced divisions at Pine Top (Ga.) and Southern Pines (N.C.).
I firmly expect John and Sloopy to jump around well, but Sloopy lacks the polish of John's Olympic mount, Carrick. In the 21st century, you have to be excellent in all three phases if you want to be rich and famous. I hope John proves me wrong.

MYSTERY MAN II: b. g., 17.1 hands, 13 years, British-bred Thoroughbred, by Autumn Mystery--Amandama, owned by rider.
CLARISSA WILMERDING: age 38, Far Hills, N.J.
Completed the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in 2004. In 2005, placed 17th in the Jersey Fresh CCI*** (N.J.). In March, placed eighth in an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.).
This pair is new to the Kentucky Horse Park, but they've had a solid spring and are ready for the challenge. Clarissa's hardest task will be believing that she can do this and letting her wonderful horse do his job.

MAHOGANY CHIEF: b. g., 16.1 hands, 14 years, U.S.-bred Thoroughbred, by Jitterbug Chief--Bell Clipper, owned by rider and Emeline Loughlin, Newnan, Ga.
EMMA WINTER (GBR): age 32, Newnan, Ga.
In 2003, placed fifth in the advanced horse trials at Poplar Place (Ga.) and completed the Foxhall Cup CCI*** (Ga.) and the Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.). In 2004, placed eighth in the advanced horse trials at Pine Top (Ga.) and 14th in the Foxhall Cup CCI***. In 2005, placed 15th at Rolex Kentucky and completed the Burghley CCI**** (England). In March, completed the CIC*** at Red Hills (Fla.).
Mahogany Chief's nickname should be "The Professor." He's unfailingly accurate in his jumping, and Emma should finish with a clear round just outside the time.

KINGPIN: ch. g., 16.1 hands, 10 years, Irish Sport Horse, owned by rider and Kingpin Syndicate, Newnan, Ga.
MIKE WINTER (CAN): age 31, Newnan, Ga.
In 2005, in open intermediate horse trials, placed third at Surefire Farm (Va.) and won at Champagne Run (Ky.), and placed seventh in an advanced division at Poplar Place (Ga.). In CCI***s, placed 15th at Blair Castle (Scotland) and seventh at Foxhall (Ga.).
Not only has Mike found a worthy successor to his Olympic horse, Balista, but he's also found a horse that suits the short format. Kingpin isn't ready to win at this level, but he needs to be here so that Mike can further his education. This is another combination for the future.
 
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