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Equine Obituary - CH Callaway's Copyright



Another champion of the tanbark left us this month with the passing of the beloved CH Callaway’s Copyright at the age of 21. Quirks and all, the son of Supreme Heir and Callaway’s Claudette (BHF) was one-of-a-kind in the truest sense of the term. He was indeed an exclusive, from his freakish athletic ability to his “my-way” attitude to his God-given it factor. 

In 2006, Copyright joined the immortal CH My My and CH Wing Commander as the only American Saddlebreds to win their respective world’s grand championships for six consecutive years. One of 10 world’s grand champions bred and raised by Callaway Hills, who co-owns the record with the legendary Van Lennup family’s Dodge Stables/Castleton Farm, Copyright had the lineage to be a harness great, although that’s not what his first trainer had originally intended. The dam of his sire (Supreme Heir) was none other than World’s Grand Champion Fine Harness CH Supreme Airs (BHF). On the bottom side, World’s Grand Champion Fine Harness CH Kate Shriver (BHF) is the dam of CH Will Shriver, the sire of Copy’s dam, Callaway’s Claudette, herself a nice walk-trot horse.

 “As a baby in the field he was cute, but he didn’t stand out as anything special. In fact, his full brother, Callaway’s Sunday Edit, was much nicer at that stage,” recalled his first trainer Bob Brison in an earlier Year In Review dedication to the gelding. “His mother, Callaway’s Claudette, was an extreme motion mare but lacked hocks. She was pretty nice but her lack of hocks kept her from being a really good one. Her two Supreme Heir babies were totally different. Sunday Edit was much more timid, while Copy was into everything. You’d come to the barn in the morning and Sunday Edit was in perfect order. Copy would have hay and shavings from one end of him to the other. He looked like he had a party in his stall.

 “Copy was a stud for a while and he ran a few stall cleaners out so we decided we better geld him, but it didn’t change him a lot. Whatever he did he did in a big way. When he stepped out of the stall he was ready.”

Brison took Copy to the World’s Championship Horse Show for the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited Stake but made a tactical error in his training program that week.

“I had another colt I was going to take instead of him, but at the last minute decided to take Copy,” said Brison. “I thought I was being smart and I worked him all week when it was quiet and no one was around. He was working really well. When we hit the ring for the class and he heard the announcer’s voice he started shaking. I didn’t have much control after that. It was exciting and scary. About the time I’d get him back he would get big and the crowd would go crazy, setting him off again. You could feel you had an amazing horse underneath you.”

One judge tied them first and the other two had them out of the money and Brison didn’t blame them. “They didn’t have a choice,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to be around some pretty nice horses and he’s right up there at the top. He was a great athlete and he tried so hard. That was a lot of fun to deal with. What separated him from the good ones was his ‘want to.’ No matter what you did, he wanted to do it in a big way.”

Copy’s barely touching the ground debut stirred the thoughts of several in the audience that day and at the ensuing Callaway Hills Production Sale held at TSE Tattersalls in Lexington that fall, he was purchased by Peter and Lynn Via of Fox Grape Farms. Copy topped the sale, which also included eventual stars like Callaway’s Weatherman and Callaway’s Abigail Adams.

Larry Hodge was his new trainer and Copy was moved to the harness division where in 1999 he won the first of 14 world’s titles, the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding blue. “When my husband, Peter, saw Copy in that class he said, ‘that’s what this colt was meant to do. He was born to be a harness horse,’” said the late Lynn Via in that 2006 Year In Review dedication story.

Larry Hodge added to Lynn’s comment in that story. “I first saw him when I went to Callaway Hills to look at colts and I recommended the Vias buy him. He was one of the most talented young horses I’ve ever seen. They were riding him at the time but we decided to go harness with him. He turned out to be better suited for harness.

“The thing I remember most about Copy was that he never had a bad day. He was a super training horse. No matter what you did, he was good. He’s the most willing and naturally talented horse I’ve ever had. He wanted to please.”

In 35 career harness classes Copy only met two defeats and both came in 2001, his five-year-old season. The first came at River Ridge at the hands of another Fox Grape Farms entry, Kalarama’s New Sensation and Jim Koller. The second was Louisville’s Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding qualifier at the hands of the defending world’s grand champion CH Radiant Success, driven by Nelson Green.

John T. Jones had taken over Copy’s training that year, becoming the gelding’s third and final trainer. After taking second in the stallion/gelding qualifier they returned to the ring on Saturday night, August 25, 2001, winning their first of six consecutive world’s grand championships, never to know defeat again. Their nemesis, Kalarama’s New Sensation was the reserve world’s grand champion that night, followed by Radiant Success in third. The rest of the classes included Albelarm Sorcerer with Tom Ferrebee, The Edge with Melissa Moore and It’s Hammertime with Tom Lee.

When the harness was hung up for the final time you could count on one hand the number of votes that were less than first place during his career. During that run he defeated the very best, including CH Radiant Success, CH A Sweet Treat, CH Kalarama’s New Sensation, CH Along Came A Spider, Gone Platinum and Dorian’s Warrior’s Song, among others.

As any professional trainer will tell you, there is great appreciation for those horses who give you their all, day in and day out over a number of years. And those same trainers will tell you they had very little to do with the success of those horses.

“You didn’t train Copy, you just managed him,” explained John T. Jones. “He was the same every single day. Every day was a horse show for Copy. He was good and then he was great, but he never had a bad day. At home I could hook him by myself, but no way at the horse show.

“He had some funny quirks like going nuts anytime a horse that was stabled next to him left the stall. I used to have to make a deal with who ever was stabled behind Copy at Louisville that when that horse left the stall they would put another one in it or I could bring one over to put in. At home I had to cut slats in the wall so he could see the horse next doors.

“We wanted to go to more shows than we did but he had some feet problems so that cut back our schedule with him. We did go to a few different places like Devon where people would come by and say how appreciative they were to get to see a horse of his caliber. I wish we could have done more of that. I always wanted to take him to Lexington because I thought he would be a lot of fun on that straightaway but with his feet we just couldn’t take the chance. Peter Via told me one day, ‘if you want to take him there in that heat on that hard track and knock him out for Louisville, sure, go right ahead.’”

If he hadn’t had those issues the legend could have shown numerous times a year as there was no bottom to his heart or mind. He was born to be a show horse and he loved every minute of it. As Owen reminded us, he was “happy, happy, happy.”

“One year at Louisville we were getting ready to show him and the class before was the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship. You had to time it just right with Copy as he wouldn’t stand around. When you hooked, you had to go. I had planned to go out when that class was reversed and about to line up. Just as we got him hooked they cast a shoe in that gaited class and it was five minutes getting it back on. Then there was a workout that went on forever. I’m having to work Copy this whole time because you couldn’t bring him back once you started. He worked three classes before we ever went in and he still won. There was still more horse. He had so many qualities, but most of it was in his heart.”

“He was wonderful,” remembered Owen Weaver. “It was really, really fun to have a horse of that caliber but with it came a lot of pressure. We wanted to do what was best for him, which was let Copy be Copy. He loved performing and he was like that every day of his life, even in retirement. He was the happiest, most fun-loving horse I’ve ever known.

“Copy was still a wild child in retirement but everybody and every thing was his friend. He would fall in love with the barn cat, the horse next door to him; he just had personality deluxe. Most of all I’m going to miss all that life and kindness. He loved his people and he loved mischief. He was like Dennis The Menace on steroids.”

Copy wasn’t the easiest horse to take on the road, often tearing up stalls and everything around them. Weaver recalled, “Poor Tre´ [Lee] and Johnny [Jones] they would jokingly ask, ‘do we have to take Copy?’ My mother convinced Johnny to take him to Roanoke one year and he took the tack room ceiling off and had another curtain twirling it over his head. Then he started torturing all the horses that were next to him by bumping their hay bags with his nose, trying to flip them into his stall. Johnny said, ‘I don’t know if we can make it through the week.’”

Life was a party for CH Callaway’s Copyright and we were all lucky to be invited along. For his many fans he never let us down with incredible performance after incredible performance. For those who were actually a part of his family, there was never a bad day as long as the horse whose personality was three times bigger than his frame was nearby.

 

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