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American Royal - Tuesday Matinee

Who better to take the first victory pass of the UPHA/American Royal National Championship than it’s “First Lady,” Sarah Rowland. Just a junior horse, it was Ever Glades’ Summer Heir winning the Mo/Kan Fine Harness Stake for Ever Glades Farm. Sarah has shown this brilliant horse for the majority of her four-year-old campaign. By Undulata’s Nutcracker, Summer Heir is out of none other than the phenomenal World’s Grand Champion, An Heir About Her. Missy Hughes Smith trains this chestnut mare. Glendale Farms had the reserve winner in Designer’s First Impression. Co-owned with Virginia and Richard Edgar, First Impression was driven by Glendale’s Kent Swalla. First Impression is by Designed and out of Sinful Belle.

Two of Missouri’s finest went one-two in the Mo/Kan Saddle Seat Equitation class, with Abigail Mutrux coming out on top aboard Lemon Shake Up WRF. This was Abby’s sixth time winning this class, as she was also the winner every year from 2006 to 2010, not showing in it a year ago. Morgan Brison was the winner last year, finishing reserve today with Soquili’s Sir Galahad.

The Limit Hackney Pony class seems to be a favorite of Heartland Love Ya Later. By Heartland Head Of The Class and out of Heartland Marry Me, Love Ya Later has shown twice in her career, both times winning this very class with owner/breeder Darrel Kolkman.

The Park Pleasure entries were up next, with Tom Thorpe making the winning ride aboard Uptown Chatter. An entry of Claudia Gardner Sipp and her Stonewall Farm, Uptown Chatter is a wildly gifted son of Rare Perception. Tom also rode the chestnut gelding to win twice at Midwest Charity earlier this year. The Chicagoland area went one-two, with Kenny Smith riding The Shy One to reserve for Charles Goodman. Shy One is by Attache’s Royal Assets and out of Lady’s Great Day. Just a four-year-old, The Shy One was a Junior Three-Gaited Park winner at Mid-America Mane Event, St. Louis, and the All American Horse Classic.

With 12 entries on the list, the Mo/Kan Country Pleasure class was once again a well-filled affair. One of the stars on the William Woods string, The Straight Guy was the winner of this class for the second year in a row. Reserve at Lexington a year ago, The Straight Guy was put through a smart ride by Ashton Street. They were champions at Boone County earlier this year. Winner of the qualifier at the Boone County Fair, Tell Me More was reserve in this one with Paula Hildebrand. Top three finishers in their Lexington qualifier, Tell Me More and Paula are in their first season together.

This has been the year of the true tie, with it happening twice at Louisville and now just six classes into the Royal, it struck again. And this time it was in a three-horse class! The Roadster to Bike contenders all went back to the rail for additional work, with the judges mercifully calling a quick trip through the gaits in the second go. The reigning Reserve World’s Grand Champion came away with the top prize today, as Alcazar cruised down victory lane with Colby Herron at the lines for Mike Herron. Last year’s Reserve National Champion, Royal Count loves this ring. He and Rebekah Cloninger tore it up for reserve, directed by Jon Walker. The Roadster to Bike Mare World’s Champion, Belle Starr, earned a first place vote in the first go-round, settling for third in the workout with Charlie Jones. They are directed by Charlie’s sweetheart, Jan Lukens.

The Mo/Kan Three-Gaited blue ribbon went to Perieta Fox, with Kirk Osburg riding for Middendorf Farms. Directed by Mike Roberts, Perieta Fox is by Scotland’s Silver Fox and out of a Periaptor mare. Robert Stezovsky picked up reserve aboard Always Trust In Me. Trust In Me is by Designed and out of The Trust Account, by Longview’s Paladin. High Spirits Farm is listed as the owner and breeder of record for this one.

Duncannon The Grand Coy was the unanimous winner of the Limit Harness Pony class, with Juan Rios at the lines for Toni Nastali. Canadian-bred, he came to the American Royal rather than the Royal Winter Fair, where he was a winner a year ago. He is now four for four on the season, with wins at Wisconsin Futurity and Mid-America Mane Event as well. Champion at both Blue Ridge and St. Louis, Backstage Pass was reserve here for Andy Freseth and owner Susan James. Backstage Pass is by Seventh Heaven and out of a Mark Of Excellence mare.

The absolutely exquisite black mare, CH Dark Fantasia, was the pick in the Western Country Pleasure class. She and Michelle Beyer were reserve in this one a year ago, moving up to the top spot this time around. They did come back to take the tricolor in the championship a year ago, leading to this year’s campaign that has included a reserve grand championship in the Shatner Finals. They are trained by Saul Simental. The highly decorated CH I’m Goin’ Out Tonight was reserve here with Erin German riding for Marjory Brown and Nealia McCracken. Erin was also aboard for a Reserve World’s Championship this year in Freedom Hall. Erin is the daughter of North Wind’s Mark McCracken.

It was a repeat winner in the Mo/Kan Five-Gaited Pleasure class, as Morgan Brison rode to a nice win aboard Soquili’s Southern Comfort. An entry of Bob and Tonya Brison, Southern Comfort is by Undulata’s Nutcracker like many of the Soquili products. The liver chestnut gelding with plenty of white is out of Callaway’s Bravura. The always popular CH Quidditch was reserve with owner and trainer Janet Thompson up. Quidditch and Thompson have been teamed up since 2005. They were reserve in this class a year ago as well, having won it in 2010.

Robert Gardiner was the unanimous winner for High Spirits Farm in the Mo/Kan Three-Gaited Park class. He piloted The Red Hot Kid to a winning ride. Just a four-year-old, Red Hot Kid was the Park Champion at St. Louis in September. He is by VHF The Licorice Drop Kid and out of a Sultan’s Royalty mare. Fairview Farms showed back to back, as they also had one in this class. Bob Brison was up for reserve in this one with Good Fellows Park. Also owned by Bob and Tonya Brison, Good Fellows Park is by Callaway’s Guy Park and out of a CH Top Spool mare. This was also the order of finish in both of the Three-Gaited Park classes at St. Louis.

It was another unanimous victory in Open Three-Gaited Over 15.2, as CH Glenview’s Excelalante made a fantastic show with Kenny Smith riding for Charles Goodman. Kenny was also aboard for a win in the Three-Gaited Jackpot Stake at St. Louis this year. The celebrated dark bay gelding is by Designed and out of the phenomenally gifted is sometimes fractious harness mare, Tra La La. He is completing his eight-year-old campaign here at the Royal. Scott Matton made another good show with Hillcroft Rare Fortune, claiming reserve for Connie MacQueen. They have been winners together at Mid-America Mane Event, Wisconsin Futurity, ASAW Summerfun, and Des Moines already this year.

To Be Or Not To Be was not a question, as Debbie Foley drove the speedster to the Limit Road Pony blue for Beth Jones. This liver chestnut was a sight on the green shavings of Kemper Arena this afternoon. Regal’s Amigo LF and Juan Rios were the reserve winners for Toni Nastali. The Majestic Oaks trained entry was the 14-17 Road Pony World’s Champion earlier this year with Kirstie Buerkley.

Robert Gardiner was a force in the Mo/Kan classes, winning the final class of the session with Callaway’s Blaire. A year ago, they were winners in the Open Three-Gaited Park class, but Blaire has gone back to racking this fall, taking a nice reserve at St. Louis for High Spirits Farm. She now has added a blue ribbon go in this Mo/Kan Five-Gaited class. By Callaway’s Main Man, she is out of Callaway’s Someone Special, by Callaway’s Blue Norther. Ylang Ylang was reserve with Mandy Martin riding for Ever Glades Farm and trainer Missy Hughes, who is in a walking boot this week. This was the first show of the season for the big bay mare.

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