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An Exciting Weekend for the Kentucky Spring Premier



by Merritt Pryor

LEXINGTON, Ky. - As with many Saddlebred shows, the entries for the Kentucky Spring Premier have been declining for the past few years. After last year’s decline, the show management made the decision to try something new. The schedule in 2007 was one that would accommodate those wanting to attend the annual Kentucky Derby as no classes were held on Saturday evening. This year the schedule changed so the open championships were held on Friday evening, academy classes were on Saturday morning and the amateurs’ championships concluded the show on Saturday evening. While many around the show grounds questioned this decision, it was a change that management felt they needed to try in hopes of boosting numbers. The turn out for the Friday evening classes was good and the competition was strong. Saturday, before the evening session began, a Kentucky Derby party was held on the concourse. A big screen television was set up so those attending could view the race without going back home or to their hotels. The food served was fantastic and everyone got their stomachs full before the amateurs entered the ring for their championships.

Although the numbers were approximately the same as last year, management made a conscious effort to bring more trainers and exhibitors to the show. They offered incentives to the farm that brought the most entries to the show from outside the state of Kentucky as well as to the farm that brought the most from Kentucky. Even with the incentives and the fact that the horse show is held in the middle of horse country, the numbers didn’t get as much of a boost as hoped.


Mary Gaylord McClean rode According To Lynn to the winner's circle in the Five-Gaited Stake.

As the rain began to slack off Friday evening, the competition did everything but. Even with only two making the gate call for the Open Five-Gaited Championship, it was quite a show to see. Mary Gaylord McClean never took a wrong step with her exciting mare According To Lynn and rode away with the tricolor. Tammy DeVore rode hard every step of the way aboard Martha Pope’s entry, Thunderstorm Warning.

Rosemarie Fernandez was thrilled with Heather Digiannantonio’s win aboard I’m Royalty Too in the Ladies Five-Gaited class. Tammy DeVore racked away with the red streamers with Jewelfire.

Saturday evening, Jennifer Pitt closed out the 19th annual Kentucky Spring Premier with her win in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship aboard Hammond Song. This team also garnered the blue ribbon in the limit qualifier. The amateur qualifier belonged to Amy Dix Rock and CH Amusing. Ali Judah rode away with reserve with Stonecroft Rumor Has It.


Sarah Sessoms was met by trainer Nelson Green after she garnered the blue ribbon in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited class with Memorize.

One of the most talked about classes of the show was the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited qualifier and championship. Sarah Sessoms spent last season getting together with the 2006 Five-Gaited National Champion Memorize and all of their hard work and effort paid off. This team dominated the ring in both the qualifier and championship. Cory Vetter made a tough run with She’s Fancy Free as he finished in reserve in both classes.
The young horse and novice horse classes were some of the highlights of the show. Tre Lee took home top honors with Bullet Concrete Material, Inc.’s entry, Just Heavenly, in the novice horse class. Chris Brannan made a strong showing for reserve aboard Happy Again.


Sarah Byers met Amy Dix Rock after her winning performance aboard Take It From The Top in the Junior Five-Gaited class.

Amy Dix Rock rode her homebred and raised entry Take It From The Top to the top in the junior horse class. The young gelding is by Top Spool and out of Rock’s flashy walk/trot mare, CH My Front Page Lady. Not only was Take It From The Top something to watch, but Melissa Moore had Carnival In Rio in top form to ride away with reserve. James Wallen took home the win with Go Play in the UPHA class.


Tre Lee guided A Silver Charm to the winner's circle in the Three-Gaited Stake for owner Pidgeon Roost Farm.

Tre Lee directed the Pidgeon Roost Farm’s entry, A Silver Charm, to the win in the Three-Gaited Stake class. Reserve was awarded to Tiffany Wheeler and Kalarama’s Personality Plus.

Under the direction of Nelson Green, Cindy Maloney had an outstanding class aboard Heir By Design to garner the blue streamers. Rosemarie Fernandez rode CH Pas De Deux to the reserve.

In their debut together, Shawn Stachowski had two winning rides aboard Finest Material under the direction of Melissa Moore. The team took home a blue in the amateur qualifier and the tricolor in the championship. Carla Ritzie and Matinee Starlet finished in reserve in both classes. Patrice Watson aboard Lemon Shake Up WRF rounded out the top three in the championship after winning the limit class.

Ellie Headlee made two victory passes with My Elegance On Parade in the junior exhibitor classes while Samantha Rolfes came in reserve with Sam’s Candygram.


Kristen Bagdasarian sped away with the blue streamers aboard Lady Hawke in the Roadster Under Saddle class.

Kristen Bagdasarian topped the novice class with Simbara’s Bountiful for owner Kathleen Bagdasarian. Reserve was awarded to Rob Byers and After Eight.

The Three-Gaited Pony class was filled with three exciting entries. Lindsey Shields topped the competition with Manhattan’s Irish Cream. Mr. Heirastotle and Chandler Ratcliff took home reserve in their debut. Mitchell Tunstall and I See Daylight rounded out the top three.

Although the numbers in the park division were down, the competition remained strong. Suzanne Hubbard topped the open class with Winsdown New Vision for owner Kaitlin Whatley. Stephanie Sedlacko took home reserve aboard Ridgefield’s Legend.

The amateur qualifier went to She’s Pretty Special and Lisa McMackin. Reserve went to the championship winner of Josephine Mayo and Gift Of Dreams.

Melissa Moore had the winning entry in the junior class with Brookhill’s Passion Punch for owner Adam Bowden. Reserve was awarded to Simply Bella and Stephanie Sedlacko.

Sally Grieme garnered the tricolor in the Fine Harness Championship with Escriva. Kim Crumpler drove the horse to the reserve in the junior/novice class for owner Salvi/Nickyco, Inc. John Conatser drove away with the reserve in the championship with Fritz and Candace Meili’s entry, Coco Loco. Making his debut, Cherished King trotted away with the blue streamers in the Junior/Novice Fine Harness class with Mary Gaylord McClean at the lines.

The Roadster To Bike Championship was an exciting one. Four speedsters hit the ring, all going for the tricolor. After the class was tied, the winning entry was awarded to Fed Ex and Mike Felty. Melissa Moore finished with the reserve ribbon with Gambler for Leatherwood Farm.

Jennifer Robertson earned the blue streamers in the Amateur Roadster To Bike with Rum’s Last Shot. Despite a blown tire, the horse and driver never seemed out of sorts when they jogged out with their ribbon.

Kristen Bagdasarian took the reins from her sister, Stevie, to earn top honors in the Roadster Under Saddle class with Lady Hawke. Shane Sallee sped away with reserve with Kim Crabtree’s entry, Little Richard.

Four ponies sped into the ring to compete in the Road Pony Stake. Keeping their winning streak in tact were Juan Rios and Heartland Victory Maker. The pony is owned by Toni Nastali and is under the direction of Majestic Oaks. Connie Smith directed Beth Jones’s pony, Heartland Sundust to the reserve.

The amateur drivers took center stage with their road ponies when Buckwheat and Ann Fitzpatrick came home with the blue ribbon. Little Big Man and Ken Malek were in top form to race away with the red ribbon.

Megan Todd had Pure Country in top form to take home the blue in the AHHS Youth Medallion Road Pony class. Melbourne’s Classic Headlines took home the reserve with Chad Terry on the lines. Melbourne’s Classic Headlines made another trip into the arena, this time under saddle with Alex Terry. The team looked great when they were called to the winner’s circle. Reserve in the under saddle class was Samantha Johnson and Romeo’s Top Secret LF.

Randy Harper had Frickey Farms, Inc.’s long tailed pony, Regal’s Pride LF in top form to take home the blue ribbon in the Open Harness Pony class. The Majestic Oaks trained team of Juliet McDonald and The Remington took home reserve.

Sandra Surber continued her winning season with Heartland Candidate in the Open Hackney Pony class. Beth Jones took home the red ribbon with Austin Powers.

Heartland Entitled and Sandra Surber made two trips into the winner’s circle in the hackney pleasure driving division. Reserve in both the qualifier and championship were Heartland Triple Crown and Heidi Bowie.


Ali Judah and Divine Renaissance swept the five-gaited pleasure division.

Ali Judah debuted Divine Renaissance in the five-gaited pleasure division and it was a change that was well received. The team looked great in Ali’s first show out of the junior exhibitor ranks and the horse’s first show in the pleasure division. The team took home top honors in both the championship and qualifier. Reserve in the championship went to Oom Pah Pah and Kelly Mount. This team also picked up the reserve in the novice class. Rachel Kelly took home the reserve in the qualifier with Roseridge’s All Mine. Bunny Crane took home the championship ribbon in the Novice Five-Gaited Pleasure class with Admiral’s Courageous Fox.

James Wallen had Heart Of Steel in top form to sweep the open park pleasure division. Suzanne Hubbard took home reserve in the championship with Captain Kaos while Brooke Jacobs rode away with reserve in the qualifier with Recoup.

The Junior Park Pleasure class went to Patrice Watson’s entry Sole Heir with Heather Digiannantonio in the irons. Jannie Giles finished in reserve with Stonecroft Skylark. Tre Lee had the Golden Creek Farms’s entry Casting Call, who is by Top Spool and out of The New York Times mare, Broadway Babe ERB, looking great to take the blue ribbon in their debut performance. Wyatt DeHart finished with the reserve with My Cheatin’ Heart.

Amy Dix Rock swept the adult show pleasure division with That’s Exactly Right. Under the direction of Rob and Sarah Byers, the team looked fantastic. Andrea Bittker earned the reserve ribbon in the championship with First For Victory, while Gabe Deknatel took home reserve in the qualifier with Proof Perfect in their only appearance.


Katherine Randall had two picture perfect rides aboard CH Ninety Eight Degrees in the junior exhibitor show pleasure division.

Katherine Randall has really come together with CH Ninety Eight Degrees. Under the direction of Blue Willow, this team dominated the junior exhibitor show pleasure division, winning both the qualifier and championship. Ben Ferreby had a comeback ride in the championship to take the reserve ribbon while Kelly Hill earned the reserve in the qualifier with Worth Big Budget. First For Victory was called out first in the novice class with Andrea Bittker in the irons.

Although Kathy Capsuto Walker and Supreme Spotlight were the only pair in the ring for the Show Pleasure Driving Championship, they put on a good performance. This team also earned the blue ribbon in the qualifier. Ann Fitzpatrick drove CH Harlem Heat for owner Lib Jones to the reserve in the qualifier.


Cyd Simmons rode High Times Crescendo to the winner's circle in the Adult Country Pleasure qualifier and championship.

The adult country pleasure division was dominated by Cyd Simmons and High Times Crescendo for owner and trainer Tammy DeVore. Kim Hayes showed Showboat’s Boogey Man for owner Mary Sue Walker to the reserve in the championship after they rode away with the blue streamers in the novice qualifier. Hula Popper and Meg Allen rode away with the reserve in the qualifier.

It was an exciting weekend for Katie Prows Lapera. Not only did she sweep the junior exhibitor country pleasure division with the four-year-old Bibbidi Blackidi Boo, but as soon as she won her championship, she jumped off the horse and headed to the prom. Trainers Joe Elam and Julie Kaufman were thrilled with her debut on the young horse. Mollie Kregor made a strong showing in the championship with The Petite Princess for the reserve ribbon. Tyler DeVore catch rode James and Judy Skinner’s entry Callaway’s Maverick for the reserve in the qualifier.

Donna Smith drove her flashy Heiritmatic to the winner’s circle in the Country Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier. Reserve in both classes went back to Kim Crumpler’s tack room with Sally Grieme and Enzo.

Beth Oliver had a fantastic weekend with Kansas City. Not only did the team earn top ribbons in the western qualifier and championship, they took home top honors in the hunter class as well. Susan Hoskins jogged Royal Crest’s Dancing On Stones to the reserve in the championship while Arlys Solien took home reserve in the qualifier with Gunsmith.

The equitation division was light on the entries but the riders rode hard and looked stunning. Katie Kraska was beautiful when she rode to the winner’s circle in the Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Reserve in the championship went to the Pleasure Equitation winner Chelsey Stone. Amberly Hines rode away with reserve in the UPHA Challenge Cup Class while Faith Brickzen took home the blue ribbon in the 10 & Under UPHA Challenge Cup.

Rob Wilson rode Ashley Wilson’s entry, Blade, to the win in the Morgan Park Saddle Class. James Wallen came in reserve with Liz Connor’s flashy entry, WS Sporting Gift.


Jacqueline Clapp was met at the out-gate by Sammi Hazen after she won the Morgan Open Park Harness class with HVK Constantinoble.

Jacqueline Clapp drove HVK Constantinoble to the Morgan Park Harness win.

Wyatt DeHart made a comeback ride in the Morgan English Pleasure Championship aboard CBMF Audacious for PlayMor Farm, LLC after taking home the reserve in the qualifier. James Wallen picked up reserve in the championship after winning the qualifier with WS Grandesire.

Tanner Coy Cosby took home the blue streamers in the Morgan Amateur English Pleasure class with Lady Chablis. She also finished in reserve in the junior exhibitor class behind Mollie Kregor and Cingate Shoot The Moon for Dennis Fancsali under the direction of Stan Bodnar.

Stan Bodnar dominated the Morgan Please Driving division with What’s My Line for owners Epona Morgan, LLC. Sammi Hazen was right behind to pick up the reserve in the qualifier and championship with Spiceolife Right Answer. Cathy Hazen drove Stonecroft Byzantine to the winner’s circle in the amateur pleasure driving class.

It was a one-two finish for PlayMor Farm in the western pleasure division. Jennifer Hazen took home the tricolor and blue with Canabar Nickelback and Cathy Hazen rode away with the reserve ribbons aboard Star Of Midnight. Other wins for PlayMor Farm included Star Of Midnight in the amateur western class and EN Excess NKS in the hunter division.

Jannie Giles trotted Leo to the winner’s circle in the Friesian Walk/Trot Saddle Seat Pleasure class. Denessa Harper expertly guided Tjebbe to the reserve for Frickey Farms, Inc.

Alex Nelson had two winning rides aboard Arend F in the amateur Friesian division. Lynn Wangerin was right behind Nelson in both classes finishing with the red streamers with Marilyn Macfarlane’s entry, Arend T.

Jennifer Hazen rode her Friesian, Joshua Of The Friesian Connection, to the win in the OTAB Western Pleasure Open class.

Saturday morning was dedicated to the up and coming riders of the Saddlebred, Hackney and Morgan industry, the academy riders. Elizabeth Burton, Patti Williams, Carrie Brown, Megan Sherwood, Jeff Sherwood, Sandy McCarter, Christine Dean, Lexi Bergman, Mac Baker, Emma Gearon, Erynn Bergman, Kelsey Martin and Tyler Walker all made victory passes during the session.

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