It’s the difference between Tim Price and Michael Jung at the top of the Rolex Kentucky leaderboard after cross-country. That 1 second over the optimum time is what gave Jung 0.4 time penalties with La Biosthetique Sam FBW, and it’s what put him into second just behind his co-leader after dressage, Price on Wesko. Does Jung feel sad about that second?
“No,” he said. “Well, OK, maybe a little bit. But I’m very happy with my round. ‘Sam’ had a longer break last year, the last competition was in Aachen [Germany, at the CIC***], and this was the first very big competition in a while, and he felt very good and gave me a good feeling. He’s 15 now, but you feel he’s a young man. He’s very strong and galloping very easily.”
As for Tim Price, his life was complicated by the fact that he was held for more than eight minutes while officials worked on fixing the double of corners at 21AB after Mackenna Shea and Landioso fell there. He still came in at 11:02, close to the optimum of 11:06, but in the end his proximity to that optimum didn’t matter for the lead.
“I wished I’d stayed at school longer to work out that math,” he said. “I had to throw away the plan I had in mind to stay as close to the [optimum] time as possible and instead just focus on being within the time. That was the best I could do in the situation—and try and use the break. It was longer than was beneficial. But you have to make do with what you’ve got, so that was fine.”
Olympic and World Games gold medalist Jung was one of the last to head out with Sam this afternoon, though he also had an earlier double-clear trip on FischerRocana FST.
“Today was not so easy because of the weather,” he said after his first round. “The ground was a little bit slippery, and she started to get a little bit shy in the beginning, on fence 4, and a little more on the coffin [at 9], but then she knew the ground, and she went better and better. I had to fight a bit more than normal, but she did a really great job and was galloping absolutely fantastic at the end.”
The day’s forecasted heavy rains started falling before the start of cross-country this morning, and the footing in the galloping lanes and at the fences deteriorated through the late morning and early afternoon. Out of the six double clears, five of them came from horses who started in the first half of the field. Of the 71 starters, 46 horses finished.
British rider William Fox-Pitt, who was third after dressage on last year’s Rolex winner Bay My Hero, is now fourth after gathering 8.4 time faults. But Fox-Pitt even debated not running the gelding.
“I’m delighted with him,” said Fox-Pitt of “Moonie.” “I’ve been worried about the ground today. I was going at the end of the day, and the ground had really deteriorated. He’s not a Thoroughbred horse; he’s not got the scopiest gallop. I knew it was going to be hard work. He was really working hard all the way. His jumping’s not bad. He’s a trier, a real trier. Hopefully he’s OK tonight and suffered no ill effects.”
Boyd Martin moved up from 12th to sixth as the highest-placed U.S. rider with his trip on Master Frisky. Martin was last to set out on today’s course.
“He’s a very, very green horse; he only did his first CIC*** last September, but he’s a real trier, and I was just thrilled with him—that he kept going, because the ground was tiring,” said Martin. “He’s a bit of an awkward jumper, and there were a couple jumps where he was twisting and turning a bit.
“The [show jumping] isn’t that reliable, so I’ll be crossing my fingers,” he added.
U.S. rider Colleen Rutledge’s day included a double-clear trip with her longtime partner Shiraz, who was first out of the box today, and he’s 14th. She also picked up just 12 penalties with her four-star first-timer Covert Rights, who’d been fifth after dressage, and that gelding is 10th heading into show jumping.
“Being his first four-star and being the conditions it is, I’m so incredibly pleased with him,” said Rutledge. “He’s 9, and this is really and truly a huge step up. I went out saying if at any point he felt over-faced I’d pull him up, and he answered every question out there with a, ‘Yes, ma’am, absolutely, ma’am, why wouldn’t I, ma’am?’ ”
Thanks to time that was closest to optimum of any U.S. rider, Will Coleman is driving home a new Land Rover Discovery Sport. He earned a 24-month lease on the vehicle after winning the Land Rover Best Ride Of The Day. His mount, OBOS O’Reilly, is another four-star first timer.
“I’ll probably get to look at the Land Rover here,” he joked, “and then I think my wife [Katie Coleman] is going to drive it.”
Laine Ashker, who was seventh after dressage, dropped down to 36th with a stop at the last element of the coffin, fence 9, and 35.2 time penalties. Ten riders retired their horses on course.
Who Fell Where?
Shea and Landioso fell at 21, and the horse was vanned off the course.
Both Liz Halliday-Sharp on Fernhill By Night and James Allison on Tivoli fell at 18, the Land Rover Hollow. Canada’s Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance fell at 22, the Footbridge.
Jimmie Schramm and Bellamy parted ways at fence 24, the Fox’s Den.
Elinoir McPhail came off at the final element of the coffin, 9B. Kate Chadderton’s Collection Pass fell into the ditch at fence 11, but he galloped off immediately.
Sally Cousins tipped off Tsunami when the mare twisted while jumping the B element of the Head of the Lake, fence 13. Rachel McDonough met a similar fate after her horse jumped the B portion of 16, the Mounds. She held on for several seconds before tumbling off.
Werner Geven fell off his second mount of the day, Vilas County, at fence 11, the ditch-and-brush.
New Zealander Emily Cammock’s mount Dambala finished with no jumping penalties, but was loaded into an ambulance at the finish. According to her Facebook page, Dambala re-injured an old suspensory and she is withdrawing the horse from competition.
According to the the press office, all horses are resting comfortably back at the barn.
(Want more details about what happened where on course? Check out our play-by-play of the action.) Full scores are on the Rolex Kentucky website. Check out all the Chronicle’s Rolex Kentucky coverage here.