David Marcus, 31, of Campbellville, ON, scored two more victories to put himself firmly in contention for the Canadian Dressage Team headed to the 2012 London Olympic Games.  Marcus won both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special at CDI3* Lexington, an international dressage competition held at the Kentucky Horse Park from May 24-27 in Lexington, Kentucky.

One week earlier, at the CDI3* Canada Classic held May 17-20 in Burlington, ON, Marcus rode Deborah Kinzinger’s Chrevi’s Capital to victory in both the Grand Prix (68.681%) and the Grand Prix Special (72.356%).  History repeated itself in Lexington with Marcus winning the Grand Prix with a score of 69.02% and the Grand Prix Special with 70.578%.

Based on his results over the past two weeks, Marcus is now unofficially ranked in the top three on the Olympic qualifying leader board.  Only one competition remains in North America for athletes hoping to earn a coveted spot on the Canadian Olympic Dressage Team, the CDI3* Blainville taking place from June 14-16 in Blainville, QC.  Three horse-rider combinations plus two alternates will be named for the 2012 Olympic Games immediately following the competition, and all five will travel to Europe in preparation for Olympic competition in August.

“I am actually a bit without words!” said the American-born Marcus, who was granted Canadian citizenship on December 28, 2011, just before the December 31 Olympic deadline.  “To have just become a citizen and done my first Grand Prix in January to being on a horse that is performing at this level not just once, but consistently, makes me feel confident and a little surprised.  It was a long shot, for sure, but I couldn’t be happier with the way the season has gone.  I am ecstatic!”

In the Grand Prix held Friday, May 25, Marcus enjoyed a personal best, earning a score of 69.02% from the five-member panel of international judges.  He took the win over Pan American Games team gold medalist Pierre St. Jacques and Lucky Tiger of the United States who scored 68.70%, and fellow Canadian Diane Creech who earned 68.19% with her Olympic hopeful, Devon L.

“Chrevi’s Capital had a few uncharacteristic mistakes but, overall, I think the quality was really good,” said Marcus who is coached by six-time American Olympian, Robert Dover.  “At every show, he just keeps getting better and better.”

In the Grand Prix Special held Sunday, May 27, Marcus won with a score of 70.578% over 2008 Canadian Olympian Jacqueline Brooks who earned 69.067% riding D-Niro and Creech, who scored 68.556% with Devon L.

“Chrevi’s Capital tried really hard and put in a clean, accurate test to take the win in the Special,” said Marcus of the 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Chrevi’s Cavallo x Weinberg) that only began competing at the Olympic level of grand prix in January.  “The circumstances were not ideal – it was really, really hot here and he is coming off a CDI last weekend and a 12-hour trailer ride to Kentucky, but we needed to come here to fulfill my criteria for the team.  I can’t complain, though; it worked out well and now we can go home and enjoy a break for a little bit.”

The CDI3* Lexington competition was held in the Rolex Stadium, the same venue used for the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games, held every four years.  Competing in an international venue with an electric atmosphere was ideal preparation for this summer’s Olympic Games.

“It was great to be able to compete in the Rolex Stadium,” said Marcus, noting that he has trained several students in the venue during the annual North American Junior and Young Riders’ Championship.  “I’ve coached in that stadium quite a bit, but I haven’t brought my own horses here before.  It was great to come to Kentucky and compete in a world-class venue on world-class footing.  The management was great and the venue was great.  We couldn’t have asked for more.”

In Saturday night’s Grand Prix Freestyle, Marcus rode his other grand prix mount, Don Kontes, to a third place finish with a score of 68.13%.  Also owned by Kinzinger, the 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding is just returning to competition, having undergone colic surgery last September.  Like his stable mate Chrevi’s Capital, Don Kontes only began competing at the grand prix earlier this year.

“He performed very maturely at night in a big venue with a lot of spectators,” noted Marcus, who performed an Asian-themed musical freestyle featuring music from ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,’ ‘House of Flying Daggers,’ and ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ designed by Australian grand prix competitor, Nicholas Fyffe.  “It was our first time performing that freestyle; it’s really beautiful music, with a balance of masculine and feminine.  It needs a bit of tweaking for the next time and we have to settle into it a little bit but, overall, I thought it was a very classy performance.  He is still very green, and I couldn’t have asked for more.  I am very happy with my horse.”

Marcus will now return to his training base in Campbellville, ON, where he operates David Marcus Dressage.  Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Marcus has lived in Canada since he began attending McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, at the age of 18.  He made his Canadian Dressage Team debut riding in the CDIO3* Wellington Dressage Nations’ Cup in Florida in April.

For more information, please visit http://www.davidmarcusdressage.com/.