And suddenly, we are here. One of the few silver linings this year is that with extremely limited options and an Olympic qualifier on the line, we have a record 78 combinations who will come down centerline today to the ground jury of Gretchen Butts (USA), Robert Stevenson (USA), and Helen Brettell (GBR). This is the most horses to start at a 4-L or a 5-L in North America in at least a decade, beating the Kentucky 2015 CCI5-L (then CCI4) which had 75 starters. The next closes 4-L was the 2015 Fair Hill CCI4-L (then CCI3*) which saw 60 pairs present to the ground jury. It’s rare to see such a concentrated field in America due to riders either travelling overseas or picking and choosing among available events here. While there’s a lot to be said for providing options and varying venues to pairs, it’s extremely exciting to get to watch such a competitive field this weekend.
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Article written by: Maggie Deatrick