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Thursday Evening

            After a day a rest and/or meetings and luncheons, action resumed in Freedom Hall with the first round of championships for 2017.

            An important step towards the fall Finals, the World’s Champion of Champions Senior Saddle Seat Equitation event opened up the evening session with most of the top riders from across the country being represented here tonight on the green shavings. Eight riders were asked to perform the individual workout following railwork and delivering a tricolor performance for Lillian Shivley and Mark Turner at DesMar Stables was none other than Victoria Walz. A highly decorated rider in both the American Saddlebred and Morgan worlds, Walz was on the money again tonight. Another young lady with a wealth of talent landed reserve honors and that was Milestone Stables’ Malika Keglowitsch.

            Three junior championships were offered tonight with the gaited division being the evening’s closer. There are going to be some lucky amateurs and junior exhibitors next year as many of these young stars will move on to those divisions. Owning the ring just like they did in the junior stallion/gelding qualifier, Mike Tunstall and Phor The Love Of Pete were outstanding to top that strong field of championship contenders for Richard and Diane Gilbert. Neil Visser and Grey Ridge Wildcat made the round of honor in the Junior Fine Harness Championship for Terri Dolan, adding to this youngsters accolades. This was also their second victory pass of the week. Still riding a high from CH Honey Badger’s win last night, the Matt Shiflet Stables crew had another celebration as Whitney Shiflet came back to take World’s Champion of Champions Junior Three-Gaited honors with Hi Fling for Shahid and Kelli Sultan.

            The three-year-olds were also in the spotlight tonight and Mike Tunstall had a winner there as well. Riding for Waterford Farms LLC, Tunstall piloted Kashmur to the mare title. There was added entertainment in the stallion/gelding section where Merrill Murry and Lionel Ferreira took off racking for another round when the rest of the class retired to the in-gate to await the awarding the prizes. The crowd loved it and the two veteran horsemen gave each other a high five and big smiles at the end of their extra pass. However, it was T.J. Santaferra who was called to the winner’s circle once the cards were tabulated. He was riding Alliance Stud’s I’m Berry Tart for the Stachowski Farm training team. Jim Stachowski added another world’s title for the team tonight. His came in the three-year-old walk-trot section with the gifted Callaway’s Ivanka.

            There were a couple of repeat world’s champions of champions tonight. In fact, CH Our Brilliant Belle earned her fifth blanket of roses from the Ladies Fine Harness Championship. This was Mary Gise’s second time to drive to the winner’s circle in the Louisville championship as trainer Lynda Freseth provided the other three drives. In the amateur championship with a ring full of good ones, Susan Bartlett and Tempt Me came back to wear the roses for the second consecutive year under the direction of Chuck Herbert.

            Also winners for the second time in as many years, Jennie Garlington and Pass With Care did just that in a huge Adult Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship to give Kalarama Farm yet another world’s champion of champions.

            A new group of road horses will be hitting the open and amateur ranks next year as the USTA Roadster To Bike Classic was all kind of exciting tonight. When the dust had settled, James Nichols and the Melissa Moore-trained Genesis made their way to the winner’s circle for Covered Bridge Farm. In the other event for speed tonight it was Steve Crabtree and Rumor Has It going for the doctor to win the World’s Champion of Champions Roadster To Wagon honors for Wesley Slobody. As in the qualifier, Crabtree’s own entry, Scatman Du, was the reserve world’s champion of champions with Raymond Shively in the wagon.

            All in all, it was a great night for Crabtree as he was also inducted into the American Road Horse and Pony Association Hall of Fame along with Joe Pate Johnston. The annual Audrey Gutridge Award was also presented tonight with Nancy Becker receiving the prestigious honor.

            While new champions were crowned tonight we also said farewell to a veteran of many Freedom Hall battles and world’s champion titles. The Allen Bosworth family and Evan and Mary Orr presented CH Sunken Treasure for the last time before he enjoys a life of retirement at High Caliber Stables. One of six riders to win world’s titles aboard the little horse that could, McGee Bosworth gave her buddy one last twirl around Freedom Hall with the entire High Caliber in center ring for the official retirement ceremony.

            The end is in sight with the 8 & Under Walk and Trot Equitation Championship kicking off tomorrow morning’s session at

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