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A Classic Night In Kansas City

by Bob Funkhouser


One of the mainstays of the Saddlebred/Hackney industry, the United Professional Horsemen’s Association (UPHA) Classic Grand Championships make Thursday night at the UPHA/American Royal a special evening year in and year out. Kansas City attracts the best of the season’s three-year-old crop and it’s not always Louisville winners taking home the biggest paychecks. Three-year-olds can change a lot in a short amount of time, and the three months between Louisville and Kansas City make for a whole new ballgame.


Fifty American Saddlebreds competed for $78,600 in prize money offered in four classes while a disappointing 19 Hackneys vied for $22,940 in cash prizes in their four classes, bringing the total payout to $101,540 for the eight Classic Grand Championships. These Classic Championships were in the Kemper Arena spotlight following the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup Finals and the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony Under Saddle Championship.


Three-year-olds wearing fine harness were the first of eight Classic Championships that evening and they set the tone for a wonderful evening of competition. Seven entries with shining credits paraded before judges Steve Crabtree, Ricky Harris and Mike Tunstall but none caught the attention of the judging panel nor the large audience quite like the powerful, yet elegant Voulez Vous. Owned by Jean and Chris Nalley of Louisville, Ky., the homebred bay daughter of Periaptor and Akasha (by CH Captive Spirit) simply took command of the ring, and with a unanimous decision left no room for the other worthy contenders. Voulez Vous started out the season in the gaited division but the Nalley/Wheeler team made the decision to move the mare to harness and she won the UPHA Classic at both the All American Classic and the Kentucky Fall Classic with Tiffany Wheeler who again drove her to victory.

Chris Nalley, Tiffany Wheeler and Jean Nalley

posed with the oh so proud Voulez Vous

following her impressive win in the UPHA

Fine Harness Classic Grand Championship.


With Voulez Vous earning $5,840 for her tricolor performance, $4,380 was awarded to Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Mare World’s Champion Callaway’s Local News for her UPHA Classic Reserve Grand Championship. Bret Day was the new driver for new owners Keith and Sally Kurz. Winner at Shelbyville as well as Louisville’s ASR Three-Year-Old Fine Harness National Futurity, Magic Fire Music was third this evening with Peter Palmer picking up the $2,190 in prize money for owner/breeder Don Rich.


Sired by CH Great Day’s Came The Son, Father McKenzie qualified for the Classic Grand Championship with a UPHA Classic win at St. Louis before Zach Duffy drove him to a fourth place finish in Kansas City. Bucardi, Kalarama’s Star Bright and Willie Brackett rounded out the ribbon winners.


The best of the pony Classics was the very first one, the 10-entry UPHA Road Pony Classic Championship with $9,200 at stake. It was also the first of a very good night for Rich Campbell and Maureen Lydon at Majestic Oaks. In fact, Majestic Oaks was first and second in this one with the student beating the teacher. Working with Campbell and Lydon this year, Holli McDowell drove Mr. and Mrs. Darrel Kolkman’s Heartland Curtain Call down victory lane for the $3,320 paycheck. Lydon was behind Gene Gallmeier’s Mr. Lucky Man for reserve honors and $2,490 in prize money. This year’s Junior World’s Champion of Champions, Mr. Lucky Man had a season filled with victory passes. Coming off the UPHA Classic win at the Alabama Charity, Regal’s Special Effort LF and May Chadick represented SGF Winning Ways Farm in top fashion to command the third place prize money of $1,245.


Also collecting paychecks in the UPHA Road Pony Classic Championship were Regal’s Goldrush LF, Velvet King, Sugarland, My Travelin Man and Kilbro’s Moment Of Attraction.

Majestic Oaks took home several of the top

prizes from the Hackney Classic Championships.

Assistant Holli McDowell (l) beat trainer Maureen

Lydon to give Majestic Oaks the first and second

place finish in the road pony division.


Following the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup Finals, four entries challenged one another for the UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Classic Championship and $5,510 that was offered in prize money. When it was all said and done there was a familiar team in the winner’s circle. The Jimmy Miller-trained I’m In Heaven, winner of the Amateur Junior Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony World’s Championship this year, struck pay dirt again. With Anna Marie Knipp again at the whip for High Spirits Farm, I’m In Heaven was the UPHA Classic Grand Champion. Having qualified for Kansas City at the Minnesota Futurity, Fortune Cookie was crowned reserve grand champion with owner Lindsey Ledo driving.


Anna Marie Knipp and caretaker Carmella Morga

were happy with I’m In Heaven’s championship

performance from the UPHA Hackney Pleasure

Driving Pony Grand Championship.


You can count on the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic to be the largest and often times a zoo and this year was certainly the case with 22 youngsters trying to make an impression. Following the rail work and stripping of the class the judges conferred and kept 10 for additional work. A new class was on and Smith Lilly and Cape Grace took full advantage of it. The daughter of (SA) Dorian Warrior’s Song and Penfolds took home the top prize money of $9,520 for owners Roger and Stephanie McMahon. It’s been a Classic kind of year for Cape Grace as she started out the year with a reserve in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic at Bonnie Blue before winning UPHA Classics at both Roanoke and All American.

Cape Grace and Smith Lilly topped the

UPHA Park Pleasure Classic Championship

for Roger and Stephanie McMahon. It was

one of several good wins for Mercer Springs

during the week.


Defeating 20 other entries, Bouffant finished off a great season in reserve with Todd Miles aboard for the McGinnis family’s Fish Creek Stables. Winner of this year’s ASR National Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure World’s Championship, this was Bouffant’s first defeat with Miles riding, yet still earned $7,140 for the reserve finish. Making several passes worthy of a top prize, Worthy Big Budget was the third place finisher with Renee Biggins riding for the partnership of Felty/Biggins.


It was truly a championship caliber class as the remaining ribbon winners had all won titles on their regional circuits. They included Seaforth’s Heiristotle, Just Like That, Hillcroft Indigo Jim and Major Buck.


Rodney Hicks was the call judge in each of the Hackney Classics and it didn’t take long to decide the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic Championship as only two entries made the gate call. Continuing to establish a most impressive record, World’s Grand Champion Hackney Pony Lord Ovation repeated as the unanimous UPHA Hackney Pony Classic Grand Champion. Larry Bacon has directed the career of Art and Gaye Birtcher’s multi-titled star. The Junior Hackney Pony Reserve World’s Champion of Champions Heartland Moonglow made another big-time show for the reserve money. Mike Barlow provided the drive for Kay Marschel.


There were eight entries in the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic Championship; a class that still has people debating the longtime discussion of how much conformation judging can hurt. There are so many opinions out there and even with USEF judging guidelines the industry doesn’t seem to be close to agreement of how to handle the lordosis fault, particularly with degrees of it.


When the cards were tallied the talented More Than Enough and Todd Miles were called to the winner’s circle for Lynda Norman. The Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Reserve World’s Champion also had wins from J.D. Massey, Indy Charity and Mercer County to finish a most successful year that included a $6,080 paycheck from Kansas City. Defeating More Than Enough at Louisville, I’m McDreamy had one first place vote and a large ovation to take home the Reserve Classic Championship for trainer Kim Cowart and owner Jacqueline Ware.

Jackie Ware couldn’t have been prouder of her

I’m McDreamy, the popular UPHA Three-Gaited

Classic Reserve Grand Champion with Kim

Cowart. The world’s champion combination

put on a crowd-pleasing performance.


Adding great depth to the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic Championship, the popular team of Always Remembered and Tracy James finished third ahead of Stonecroft Nightlight and Jim Lowry. Stonecroft Nightlight would go on to win the open three-year-old class for Lowry and owners Graham/Kinderknecht. Enchanting Hour, Golden Market, Walterway’s Valedictorian and Spurwing’s High N Mighty were also awarded ribbons.

Todd Miles and Reserve World’s Champion

More Than Enough rode from the ring as the

UPHA Three-Gaited Classic Grand Champions

for Lynda Norman. This finished off a strong

year for the winning combination.


An exhibitor/trainer in the UPHA Classic Championships for many years now, Dr. Alan Raun came through with another winning performance. Dr. Raun piloted Heartland Undeniable to the UPHA Harness Pony Classic Championship for his own Reedannland. Showing for T.J. and Juliet McDonald, Maureen Lydon had The Remington cranking every step of the way to receive reserve honors and second place money of $1,620. Manitou and Gary Haugen were the third place team.

Dr. Alan Raun has won his share of UPHA

Classic Championships over the years and

he added another one this year with the

cob-tail champion Heartland Undeniable.


The 2007 UPHA Classics Program came to a close with the 13-horse Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Classic Championship. A total of $20,200 was paid out with the top check of $7,360 going to the leg-waving Ylang Ylang who had two of the three first place votes. Bob Brison debuted the daughter of Forty-Second Street ERB and Galafragilistic to win the UPHA Classic at Midwest Charity for B & T Vonderschmitt LLC and she has done nothing but get stronger. Sired by Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of a daughter of Broodmare Hall of Fame inductee Callaway’s Carousel, Callaway’s Carnival In Rio stepped up with a crowd-pleasing performance to earn a first place vote and reserve grand champion honors. Billy Jarrell had lots of support for his reserve ride aboard his mother, Betty Jarrell’s, entry. Still putting it all together, A Whole Different Story was a good third for Debbie Foley and Silver Brook Stables.

Billy Jarrell, Alexandra Wille-Irmiter, Betty Jarrell

and Nelson Green were all smiles following Billy’s

reserve ride in the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic

Championship with Callaway’s Carnival In Rio. He

later sold the young star to Sally and Joe Jackson

with Donna Moore as their agent.


Stravinsky and Todd Graham led the parade of remaining ribbon winners including The Daily Lottery and Mark Turner, Legacy’s Super Idol and Clark Clouse, Mosette and Mike Roberts and Temptress Too with Tiffany Wheeler.


Brison and Ylang Ylang shot down the Kemper Arena straightaway one last time to close the curtain on a night showcasing the future of the show horse industry. Many of these ribbon winners will be around for years to come but now the trainers are back in the barn getting high hopes for the UPHA Classic contenders of 2008.


Following Ylang Ylang’s UPHA Five-Gaited Classic

Championship the Fairview Farm group and friends

celebrated. Included in the group were Bob Brison,

Ylang Ylang’s owner Theresa Vonderschmitt,Valery
 Kron, Morgan Brison, Kent Swalla and Tanya Brison.

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