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The Big Dance



         The night of nights for the American Saddlebred, Hackney and roadster world did not disappoint. Stake night of the 114th World’s Championship Horse Show was all that it was billed to be with 11 classes offered for seven world’s grand championships and four world’s champion of champions titles.

         Tonight started with a 14-horse Ladies Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions competition and as Hall of Fame trainer Bill Wise said, “That was one of the greatest three-gaited classes I’ve ever seen.” There was no room for error as this was a great group of park trotting walk-trot horses led by the now three times ladies world’s champion of champions CH HS Baby Steps and Misdee Wrigley Miller. The all-star cast of remaining ribbon winners included On Higher Ground, I’m Still Dreamin’, CH Undulata’s Susan McGee, Spanky McFarland, El Chapo, Nuttin’ Innocent, and Ana Katerina.

         Winning her second career world’s grand championship, the first in the long-tail division, Holli Hayes was behind Charlotte Wrather’s Mississippi Queen to lead the parade of champions in another highly competitive Saturday night class. Abel Vega represented Golden Creek Farms driving Mr. Naples to the reserve world’s grand champion honors. Kathy Barlow was in third with the Kolkman’s Heartland Bejeweled.

         For the second consecutive year, B-52 and Debbie Foley had the green shavings flying in the turns to garner the World’s Grand Champion Roadster To Bike honors for Scott Hagan. Again, this was one of the deepest bike stakes we’ve seen in some time. Tammy DeVore and last year’s amateur world’s champion of champions, Game Changer, were the reserve world’s grand champions tonight for Helen Rich. Raymond Shively was third with Judy McNeish’s Nothing Else Matters.

         For the second consecutive year, Barbara Goodman Manilow and Espresso Noir wore the roses as the Amateur Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions for trainers Kenny and Donna Smith. Again, this was an all-star cast for Saturday night with Carson Nation, CH Platinum Moon, Hello Bombshell, Nutorious, Northern Asset, Kalarama’s Blue Mac, and CH The Mighty Mouse in the remaining ribbons.

         Seven entries made the gate call for the Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship and tonight it was amateur Elisabeth Goth defeating the professionals with her high headed Here Comes The Boom. The Neil Visser trained star bested a field of veteran campaigners that included We Must Be Nuts, Samuri Lady, Kalarama’s New York Lady, Rose Arbor Destiny, Real Steel, and True Fortune.

         From Junior Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions to Ladies Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions, Vegas Moon joined a long list of ladies titleholders shown by Mary Gaylord McClean going back to CH Bandstand, CH Popular Time, CH Santana Lass, and CH Lynn Williams. The audience also gave a big shout out to last year’s world’s champion of champions Kiss My Cuervo and Jessica DeHart in reserve. Always a factor in ladies events, Kim Cowart was third with CH The Cat Walk.

         Three world’s grand champions were a part of the lineup for this year’s Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship, which featured nine contenders. It was an action-packed class with several making passes worthy of the roses but in the end it was the oh-so-impressive Tango’s Token Kiss delivering his second world’s grand championship for Smith Lilly and owner Grace Arnold. Scott Hagan was the lone amateur in the class but he stuck right with HS Daydream’s Heads Up to command reserve world’s grand champion honors under the direction of Debbie Foley. Steve Wheeler and former world’s grand champion CH Macadamia were third for the Glasscock family.

         For the fifth year in a row and third with Ali DeGray, Twin Willow’s McDreamy wore the roses for the World’s Grand Champion Road Pony honors. Jeff McClean and Prime Time’s Choice LF were right there for the reserve world’s grand championship after winning their qualifier.

         Many wondered which way Elisabeth Goth would go with CH Fox Grape’s The Tiger Lily and when the gates opened for the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship there was no question. She and the big-doing mare were stars from start to finish to give Visser Stables the championship title ahead of 2016 national champions CH Memories Of Cabo and Ali DeGray. David Rudder and newcomer Questionable Conversation finished in the top three.

         Sixteen-year-old Heartland High Tech looked like a four-year-old on his way to the winner’s circle of the Hackney Pony World’s Grand Championship with Ali DeGray, giving DeGray the title for three consecutive years, the first two with Craycroft Matador. Majestic Oaks was first and second tonight as Holli Hayes drove Heartland Infinity to the reserve world’s grand championship for Sandra Surber.

         A three-horse workout in the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship was the first workout of the entire week but it was a barn burner. The stud stake winner, the gelding winner and the reserve stallion all went back to the rail in search of the highest honors in the land.

         When it was all over, the reigning world’s grand champions, Top Of The Mark and Tre´ Lee made a return visit to the winner’s circle for owner/breeder Mary Gaylord McClean’s Golden Creek Farms. One of the best feel good stories of the week was CH Honey Badger’s return to the show ring and the crowd showed their love to the game gelding as Matt Shiflet rode the hair off of him for reserve grand champion honors for Chris and Andrea Athanasuleas. Tammy DeVore was aboard Helen Rich’s popular stallion Kalarama’s Ultimate Choice to take the top three in this year’s finale.

         Look for the most complete coverage of the World’s Championship Horse Show in Saddle Horse Report’s September 11th issue and complete results and judges’ cards here at www.saddlehorsereport.com.

        

 

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