British star William Fox-Pitt made a strong start to the latest stage of his bid for eventing's richest prize on Friday.
The Dorset-based world number one is pursuing the Rolex Grand Slam, which offers just under £220,000 for any rider that completes consecutive Burghley, Kentucky and Badminton victories in any order.
Fox-Pitt won a record sixth Burghley crown with Parklane Hawk last September, and the combination reproduced that form on day two at Rolex Kentucky.
Their 41.3 dressage score put them clear of overnight leaders Boyd Martin and Remington XXV as a 57-strong field jostled for position prior to Saturday's cross-country test.
"It's great to be riding him here," said Fox-Pitt, who was second after Friday's action behind the American partnership of Allison Springer and Arthur.
"I just want to show that he can consolidate his form from Burghley. That was his first four-star, so it was a big question for him. I would just like him to have a very good experience here, and do as well as he can. The most important thing is that he goes well and comes out of it well.
"He is one of my horses possibly lined up for the Olympic Games in the summer, so I just want him to have a good experience and get some more miles, and what better place to do it."
American challenger Clark Montgomery moved into third aboard Loughan Glen and Karen O'Connor was fourth on her new ride Mr Medicott.
Lucy Wiegersma ended the day in eighth spot with Granntevka Prince, with Oliver Townend equal 11th on Pepper Anne, but less than 10 penalties separated the top 14 riders.
Both Wiegersma and Townend are contenders to make the five-strong Great Britain eventing team for London 2012, although only one place realistically appears available given the presence of Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Piggy French and Nicola Wilson.