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Fox-Pitt takes eventing lead at Equestrian Games

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CAEN, France (AP) Shawn Flarida led an American sweep of the podium in reining at the World Equestrian Games on Saturday.

Flarida, also a 2002 world champion, produced an outstanding performance aboard Spooks Gotta Whiz to finish with a score of 233.5 points and take the gold medal.

Andrea Fappani took second place on Custom Cash Advance with 229 points, followed by Mandy McCutcheon with 227 points.

Meanwhile, William Fox-Pitt of Britain took the overall lead in the eventing competition with a clean ride in the cross-country portion.

Fox-Pitt, a runner-up at the 2010 games in Lexington, Kentucky, was second after Friday's dressage test. He will go into Sunday's show jumping portion with a small lead over Germans Sandra Auffarth and Michael Jung, second and third respectively, and New Zealanders Jonelle Price and Andrew Nicholson.

Zara Phillips, the 2006 world champion and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, was in 15th place.

''He was strong,'' Fox-Pitt said of his horse, Chilli Morning. ''He always is because he's a feisty and opinionated horse. As he's a stallion, I didn't know how long he'd dig deep for me, but he did the whole way. He's never been asked these questions before or over such a demanding track and ground, but he was amazing.''

Eventing is an Olympic discipline made up of three portions: dressage, cross country and show jumping.

In the team competition, Germany was 8.9 points clear of Britain. Australia was a distant third while New Zealand and the United States fell out of contention.

Cross country is a timed test in which each rider must jump over obtacles in natural terrain with water and ditches increasing the technical difficulty. No rider finished under the target time of 10 minutes, 30 seconds at the 5,982-meter course of Le Pin National Stud.

''This is the worst ground I've ever ridden on,'' Nicholson said. ''It makes wet spring going in England look nice.''

Harry Meade of Britain had a clean ride but his horse, Wild Lone, died shortly after completing the cross country. The cause of death of the 13-year-old gelding had not yet been determined.

The World Equestrian Games end on Sept. 7.