Tamie Smith (USA) was dubbed Equiratings pre-competition favorite at the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event in Lexington. After Saturday’s cross country, she’s the overnight favorite too.

Lady Luck rode with Smith and Mai Baum as they tackled the Derek Di Grazia’s designed course. Riding bold direct routes they added zero faults to their dressage score of 24.2 to move into pole position.

“[Mai Baum] is just such a fighter, he has a huge heart. He is a little bit what dreams are made of,” said Smith.

“I think I got a little lucky with Tom [McEwen] being new to his horse [JL Dublin].”

Smith now has a 66% chance of winning and 88% chance of a podium finish, according the Equiratings Prediction Centre. If she and Mai Baum can leave all the poles in place on Sunday, it’ll be the biggest win of her career. The American Olympian has 50 international wins and a team silver at the World Championships to her record, but has yet to win a five-star (Equiratings).

Luck did not ride with Friday’s overnight leader, Yasmin Ingham (GBR) and Banzai du Loir. After a lengthy hold on course where they waited for the signal to begin, the reigning World Champions had an uncharacteristic run out early on at fence 6, the Park Question. It was a fence Ingham singled out prior to their run and one that, unfortunately, proved their undoing. They now hold 21st position going into the final round.

McEwen and JL Dublin added 5.2 time penalties to their score, maintaining their hold on second place overnight.

“I’ve never really had the test of [JL Dublin],” McEwen said of their new partnership.

“Dubs” was previously campaigned by fellow Brit Nicola Wilson. McEwen and the 12-year-old Holsteiner had only limited preparation prior to contesting the Kentucky CCI5*-L due to inclement weather in England. But he stuck to the plan and continues to credit Wilson’s work with the horse.

“I thought the course was magnificent. It was presented beautifully and rode well, at least for me.” Equiratings has Tom at a 30% win chance. 

USA’s Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C moved up from fifth to third, adding only 1.6 time penalties to their score. “I just sort of planned to make the time with him and see how he was tackling the course…I was totally thrilled with him,” she remarked. “He got a little strong on me at the end so that’s where I think the time faults crept in.”

Germany’s threat is one removed as Alina Dibowski retired on course. But Sandra Auffarth (GER) and Viamant du Matz stays in the hunt as she holds fourth place. 

USA holds fifth and sixth with Phillip Dutton and Z and Will Coleman and Off The Record respectively.

Second horse inspection commences at 7:30 am EST Sunday morning and 5* show jumping begins at 2:00 pm EST in reverse order of placing.

Feature image: Tamie Smith and Mai Baum. ©Atalya Boytner