Fox-Pitt's Burghley preparations were hampered by a troublesome journey back from Malmo and the European Eventing Championships, where he won individual bronze.
However, after placing ninth with Neuf des Coeurs on the opening day of dressage with a score of 49.0, he returned aboard Parklane Hawk to slot into fourth with 41.5.
Jonathan Paget also rode aboard a second horse to knock Ingrid Klimke off top spot with a score of 36.7 with Fox-Pitt within touching distance of Andrew Nicholson and Nereo in third.
Fox-Pitt's Olympic silver medal winning teammates from London 2012 last summer, Kristina Cook and Nicola Wilson, join him in the top ten as does Oliver Townend.
All three had to wait until the second day of the dressage to compete with Cook eighth, Wilson ninth and Townend tenth while Pippa Funnell was in the same situation and placed equal 13th.
Results on day two demoted Sarah Cohen, the highest placed Brit on day one in seventh, to 17th while Fox-Pitt is 22nd with Neuf des Coeurs with the cross-country next up.