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Wednesday Evening Wow



            From the time the first class of the evening, the Ladies Three-Gaited Over 15.2 Stake, entered the ring until the last horse left the ring, the victory pass of the Five-Gaited Gelding Stake, this was a high charged evening with world’s champion titleholders dominating class after class. The shortened session allowed for the American Saddlebred Museum’s annual party/fundraiser following the show, however, the evening wasn’t short on thrilling moments.

            The most thrilling, at least for the Matt Shiflet Stables and the Athanasuleas family, was the evening’s finale where CH Honey Badger made a triumphant return to the ring following a 2016 injury. “Just getting him down the ramp and into the ring was success for us,” said a teary eyed Shiflet. “Winning it was unreal.”

            Shiflet tossed his hat up into the crowd as he made his way down to the winner’s circle with the high-powered gelding. The crowd cheered and cheered and what a picture it was when Shiflet dismounted in the winner’s circle and put his young son Clayton in the saddle.

            In other five-gaited action last year’s Junior Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions Vegas Moon put a big smile on owner/rider Mary Gaylord McClean’s face as they shot down the straightaways to take the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare Stake. Earlier in the evening the defending Ladies Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions, Kiss My Cuervo, delivered again for Jessica DeHart and owner Lisa Balcerak to take their second straight ladies gelding title.

            Tonight’s schedule had several open qualifiers for Saturday night world’s grand championships. The first of the evening was World’s Grand Champion Road Pony Twin Willow’s McDreamy and Ali DeGray setting up their return to the big dance with a victory pass in the Road Pony 50” & Under class. The other part of her Majestic Oaks one-two punch, world’s grand champion Craycroft Matador took care of business in the Hackney Pony Stallion/Gelding Stake.

Smith Lilly looks like he’s going to be busy on Saturday night as he won the Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding Stake with Grace Arnold’s We Must Be Nuts and then came back with her world’s grand champion Tango’s Token Kiss to win the Three-Gaited Over 15.2 Stake. A.J. Bruwer threw his hat into Saturday night’s picture with his winning drive in the Fine Harness Mare Stake with Vicki Reed’s beautiful black mare, Kalarama’s New York Lady.

Jeff McClean and Handsome Harry should be back on Saturday night for Golden Creek Farms. In fact, Golden Creek had the top two winners in the Harness Pony Stallion/Gelding Stake with McClean driving Handsome Harry to the winner’s circle and Abel Vega taking reserve with Mr. Naples.

Two of the most accomplished ladies in the business currently showing, Barbara Goodman Manilow and Misdee Wrigley Miller, also made Wednesday night victory passes. Theirs came in the three-gaited division. Manilow guided the Skyline Stables-trained I’m Still Dreamin, last year’s ladies amateur world’s champion of champions, to tonight’s Ladies Three-Gaited 15.2 & Under Stake. Miller was aboard the defending Ladies Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions CH HS Baby Steps to win the evening’s opening event, the Ladies Three-Gaited Over 15.2 Stake for Kalarama Farm.

Susan Swope is quickly becoming a speed demon as she won her second roadster under saddle class of the week, this one being the open class with her newest partner Street Legal GRS.

            The long-awaited day of rest greets everyone on Thursday, allowing time for numerous meetings and the  Saddlebred Rescue Luncheon.

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