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A Fine Finale for Kentucky Fall Classic Horse Show

Judge: Kim Cowart

Judges, Bluegrass Futurity: Paul Boone, Kim Cowart, Lana Gilpin

Manager: Scarlett Mattson

Assistant Manager: Chuck Walker

Entry Secretary: Beth Snider

Chairperson: Martin Teater

USEF Steward: Bill Munford

Announcer: Craig Hubbach

Ringmaster: Don Baker

Organist: Gene Wright

Photographer: Doug Shiflet

Videographer: Richfield Video

Stable Manager: Scott Snider

Farrier: James Quiram



by Claire Panke


LEXINGTON, Ky. – The mostly sunny days of early fall cast a golden glow over the Kentucky Horse Park as top stables from the Bluegrass and surrounding states converged for the 20th annual Kentucky Fall Classic. The cool October nights proved no hindrance as the show management wisely scheduled this event for relaxed, daytime showing only. The facilities can be distinctly uncomfortable during inclement weather but during weeks like that enjoyed by the 2007 edition of the show the charm and beauty of the Horse Park shone through.


Held Oct. 10-13, the show boasts, not only the American Saddlebred Horse Association Regional Championships, but also the prestigious and lucrative Bluegrass Futurity, as well as the Kentucky State Championships for academy riders. Show Manager Scarlett Mattson was pleased with the 2007 edition. “We had a great turn-out and good weather, everything went very smoothly. Of course, we would always welcome more horses, but we’re happy with the numbers and quality we did have.” The management team and UPHA Chapter 9 have enjoyed two profitable decades working together to benefit Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital.


Judge Kim Cowart had her work cut out for her. Although a few classes proved lightly supported, many more had the depth of quality one expects to find in the heart of the Saddlebred world. Close competition throughout the week resulted in several contentious championship events. Numerous national and world champion contenders added spice to the proceedings, while the outstanding young stock appearing in both divisions of the Bluegrass Futurity augured well for the future. Judge Cowart was joined by Paul Boone and Lana Gilpin to complete the panel for the futurities.




Typical of the surprises one sees at the Fall Classic, the jackpot stake for the open gaited horses proved to be a fascinating contest between three nice horses more usually seen in the amateur and junior exhibitor divisions. Larry Hodge had the former juvenile winner Tee’s Merlot in outstanding form to capture the title for Joan Hamilton. Jeffry Fetzer’s CH Data Dot Com stepped up from the amateur gentlemen’s ranks under the guidance of Wendy Winstead for the reserve.


Larry Hodge and Tee’s Merlot


The brilliant Catamaran made one of his best ever shows to be named the winner of the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship for Laurel Nelson. The lovely CH Amusing and Amy Dix Rock were hard on their heels to take the reserve. In the qualifier, Swish and Carol Hillenbrand were the formidable winners in their only appearance. Amusing again had to be content with second. Ceil Wheeler and CH Walterway’s Remember Me were the epitome of a ladies five-gaited team to capture the class. A good group of limit horses with amateur riders saw the gentlemen in the spotlight as rising star Tipsy Gypsy was called out for the blue with Gabe Deknatel up for High Hickory Farm. The appealing Thunderstorm Warning was the reserve choice for owner/rider Bruce Williams.


Catamaran and Laurel Nelson


A hard riding junior exhibitor contingent mixed it up in their two events. Memorize and Sarah Sessoms have been knocking on the door of this division all year and they finally emerged triumphant after a great performance in the exciting championship stake. Pushing them every step, Tyler Devore and Heirrison Ford garnered the reserve tricolor for the Schaeffer family. Caramac’s Big Ticket and Nathan Stein were a game third. Ali Judah and Stonecroft’s Rumor Has It showed why they are one of the division best while taking the qualifier win.


A hard riding junior exhibitor contingent mixed it up in their two events. Memorize and Sarah Sessoms have been knocking on the door of this division all year and they finally emerged triumphant after a great performance in the exciting championship stake. Pushing them every step, Tyler Devore and Heirrison Ford garnered the reserve tricolor for the Schaeffer family. Caramac’s Big Ticket and Nathan Stein were a game third. Ali Judah and Stonecroft’s Rumor Has It showed why they are one of the division best while taking the qualifier win.


Sarah Sessoms and Memorize


Bill Knight had Blythewood Farm’s Cumberland Crescent just right for the blue in the limit class, followed by Cary’s Legacy and Neil Visser for Peggy Whitley Councilman. The Nalley family’s Zipper’s & Snaps has been one of the best of the four-year-olds all season and proved so once again in a nice junior class with Steve Wheeler in the saddle. All About It was up for the reserve, piloted by master showman Don Harris. The UPHA Classic boasted several top youngsters. Don Harris had National Sweepstakes Champion Gotta Be Charmed just right to carry away the blue, with A Whole Different Story and Debby Foley settling for second. Tiffany Wheeler guided Madeira’s Gifted Lady to the win in the two-year-old class. Alexa McWilliams rode away with the blue ribbon aboard Callaway’s Exception To The Rule in the pony class.




Fresh from the stake win at All American Classic, The Starwalker sported a special presence to claim the tricolor in the Jackpot Stake for Melissa Moore with Tre Lee in the irons.


The amateur and ladies classes were filled with quality. The brilliant duo of New York’s Perfect Gift and Elizabeth Thomas were crowned amateur champions after their convincing win in the qualifier. After a strong win in the ladies class, Kalarama’s Twister and Cindy Hettinger Carcione settled for the reserve in the stake. CH Caramac’s Norma Rae and Stacy Bare took the red ribbon in the ladies. Carolyn Stuart’s winning Callaway’s Blue Waltz fits her new division perfectly, taking the limit amateur with Erin Obenauf aboard. Up for second was the appealing team of Linda Lowry and My Original Sin.


The junior exhibitor division saw the colorful Bad Moon Rising and Lindsey Shields score top marks in both the qualifier and championship. Jackie Schut and Like A Rocket turned in two strong performances to be reserve winners.


Bad Moon Rising and Lindsey Shields


In the three gaited pony division Ashley Biggins gave Lost Token a super ride to capture the top prize over Callaway’s Viscount and Katherine Randall.


Rob Byers and Lemon Shake Up WRF marched to the blue in the limit class over Laurel Hill’s Pennies From Heaven and Martha Murdock. Can’t Resist and Chad Cole were irresistible in the junior class. The UPHA Classic was another showcase for the three-year-olds as Tracy James and Always Remembered proved the best over Simply Bella and Stephanie Sedlacko. John and Dorothy Lenore had another good homebred youngster in Lenore’s Holler & Whine, winner of the two-year-old event under the direction of Steve Wheeler. One Summer Night and Don Brides were a good reserve.




The Park Jackpot Stake saw Melinda Moore give the lofty motioned Pernickety! a bold ride to take the tricolor. Crowd favorites, the brilliantly expressive Buena Vista and Wyatt DeHart were undeniable in the limit event, with Tiffany Wheeler and That Silver Tongued Devil picking up the second position. DeHart had another park winner in the junior class with Marlstone Farm’s Stonecroft All That Jazz. The amateur park events saw some of the very best in that division battling head to head for top honors. Tall and elegant, Pistolero was impressive for Mary Jane Peebles to capture the championship. The explosive CH Tax Man and Peggy Councilman were reserve. In the qualifier, Tax Man couldn’t be denied with Pistolero taking the second spot.


Fine Harness


Colorful and sporting a high, four cornered trot, multi-champion Gothic Revival was the jackpot stake champion for Joan Adler. The ladies/amateur event saw the confirmation of Dances On Air and Sharla Deuschle as one of the best in the division as they took the blue over the top team of Coco Loco and Candace Meili.


The Wheeler juggernaut of top young stock emerged again in a good UPHA class as Voulez Vous was piloted to the win by Tiffany Wheeler for Chris and Jean Nalley. The elegant Callaway’s Local News and Jim Stachowski had to be content with reserve. Ed Millet was on the lines for Captive Soul’s winning performance in the junior class. Renee Zubrod drove Just Meant To Be to the reserve. Rob Tanner and Big Girl’s Toy took top prize in the two-year-old open for owner Grace Arnold. Clem Lee and Princess Camilla stepped up to the red ribbon.




Three speedsters came through the gate for the jackpot stake. Mike Felty had Fed Ex cranked to the max for Melrose LLC to capture the top prize with PTO and Danny Bug a close reserve for Melinda Moore. Rum’s Last Shot and Jennifer Robertson powered to the amateur title over Sundale Image and Lanny Judd. The limit was a romp for Rob Tanner and Show Me The Money, as Skylar Image and Tyler Nunley sped to the reserve. The under saddle event sported five determined contenders. Suzanne Hubbard perfectly teamed Barbara Watt’s Despite It All to the win while an impressive Quill and Holli McDowell had to settle for the red ribbon.


Hackney Ponies/Horses


In the road pony division, Rob and Julianne Wilson’s multi-winning Ranger took yet another tricolor in championship. Wings Of A Hawk with Juan Rios was the top pony in the qualifier, with Pure Country and Andrew Hawes driving up for second. JBS Amadeus, one of the top contenders in the division, captured the amateur championship for Debbie Gabbert over Kentucky Hot Brown and Melissa Oaks. In the amateur qualifier it was Kilbro’s Articulate speeding away with the blue over Kentucky Hot Brown. Lanny Judd was on the lines as Riding Shotgun stepped to the blue in the wagon class. The road pony medallion was a good win for the appropriately named Catch Me If You Can and Lauren Mathewson. Kilbro’s Must Be Dreamin’ and Casey Bray picked up the red ribbon. In the under saddle division it was Pure Country and Samantha Johnson driving away with the top slot over Miss Fuente and Mitchell Tunstall.


Rob Wilson and Ranger


Juliet McDonald and The Remington were the harness pony open winners. The competitive hackney open event was another victory for the gifted Heartland Candidate and Maureen Lydon on the lines for Sandra Surber. Second to the winners were Heidi Bowie and Heartland Triple Crown. A big pleasure pony class was won by High Life Pride and Patrick Hall for Karen Lee, followed by Heartland Triple Crown. Two harness classes for Hackney horses saw Shelburne take the blue for Karen Waldron in the first class with Rudolph The Second and Tami Webb capturing the second class for Elisabeth Chelberg.


The Fall Classic again hosted the AHHS Hackney Horse Futurity. The weanling division saw the tasty Boxford Lasting Impression, handled by Pat Kennedy, nab the top honors in the field of four for Thomas Caisse. Second went to Heartland Decadence for Darrel Kolkman. In the yearling division Woodbridge Denver took the blue for Kolkman, while Carolyn and Larry Sluiter’s Chambord’s Red Night was first in the two-year-old in hand. The pleasure driving futurity was a beautiful class to watch as EQL Trademark, owned by Dinwiddie and Elizabeth Lampton got the nod over EQL Taj Mahal and Kristen Gallagher.


EQL Trademark and Elizabeth Lampton


Show Pleasure


Not surprisingly, the show pleasure division was top to bottom the largest and most hotly contended series in the show, with both established teams and new pairings vying for the top prizes.


The five-gaited pleasure contingent has been strong all season and proved to be competitive here as well. Jacquie Nance and Under Oath prevailed over a great group of contenders in the championship after securing the novice win earlier in the week. Gotta Be Gold and Joann Griffin turned in a good performance to be named reserve champions. Chris Broder and Child Of The Times took the red ribbon in the qualifier while Undulata’s Confidential and Tate Bennett filled the same slot in the novice.


No less challenging, the three-gaited ranks were filled with world and national champions. In the adult finale Nicolle Beltz Tolliver had CH Lightnin’ Lil in another gear as they sailed to the championship. Coe London and Wrapped In Rainbows WRF took reserve after a sharp performance earlier in the week to secure top honors in the novice class. The adult qualifying class was arguably called “best in show” as the fabulous CH Just Special was given a perfect ride by Carol Hillenbrand to edge a pressing CH Lightnin’ Lil for the win.


Linda Beltz and Nicolle Beltz Tolliver


The new combo of Katherine Randall and CH Ninety Eight Degrees were stunning together as they rode to a pair of victories in a tough junior exhibitor championship and 15-17 qualifier. I Mean To Show and Raeanne Stengel marched to reserve in both events. The 14 and under saw Gotta Lotta Love and Marian Turner get the nod with Diamond Dividend and Caitlynn Ramsey capturing the red ribbon.


CH Ninety Eight Degrees and Katherine Randall


Kendall Fields was on the lines of CH Rose To The Occasion to take top honors in the good pleasure driving championship and qualifier. He’s The Real Deal and a happy Kayla Mears drove to the reserve championship, while Harlem’s Odyssey and Ali Layman took the red ribbon in the preliminary.


Bright and cocky, the adorable Highpoint’s Grandee moved into the top slot in open park pleasure for owner Shannon Hafer. The impressive Gangster was reserve with Steve Wheeler for the Nalley family.


Highpoint’s Grandee and Shannon Hafer


That’s Exactly Right has been unstoppable all season and Fall Classic proved no exception as this top contender took the junior class for Amy Dix Rock over Sassy Dawn and Sarah Crane. Brookhill’s Cool As Ice and Jackie Tanner were sharp to capture the UPHA Classic over Steve Wheeler aboard Linda Lowry’s Crocodile Rock.


Country Pleasure


Polished and impressive, League Of Nations and Carol Hillenbrand reigned supreme in the large adult and championship country pleasure events. The colorful Callaway’s Winning Number and Christine Broder were sharp to claim reserve in both events. The junior exhibitors mixed it up in their classes. Phi Phalutin’ and Amy Hein did everything right to take the victory in the championship, with qualifier winners Sing My Song in for a strong reserve. Melinda Wilson and Thingamajig took the red in the preliminary. The novice was a blue ribbon ride for Megan Hensler and Hillcroft Her Highness with South Street and Nicolle Beltz Tolliver settling for the red.


The handsome Heirithmatic notched up yet another tricolor with Heidi Bowie on the lines for Orlando and Donna Smith. Moe Anson had a great drive with Ms Greta Garbo to capture the reserve. Cheryl Rhoton drove Sweet Intention to the win in the pleasure driving class over Hit Man’s Special Delivery and Eddie Lewis for Moonship Productions LLC.


Under the direction of master horseman Rob Tanner, Chelsea Ruxer was letter perfect aboard Samuel Charles to capture divisional honors in the western championship.


Rob and Jackie Tanner greeted Chelsea

Ruxer and Samuel Charles after their win.


The top four-year-old Harry Spotter finished his season with a reserve for Paul Rice. The beautiful Performing Nightly and Matthew Wood jogged off with first prize in the western qualifier with second going to Gunsmith and Arlys Sollen. Qualifying for the 2008 Shatner finals was pretty Yellow Rose Starafar and Susann Strayer. Emily Grey and Joan Todd, one of the hunter division’s top teams, rode off with both the qualifier and championship. The Midnight Heir was reserve in both events for Rebecca Reed.


Emily Grey and Joan Todd




While the older rider, trimmed equitation division apparently disappeared for 2007, the walk-trot and pleasure equitation ranks remained strong. The walk and trot championship and UPHA Challenge Cup 10 & Under were full of promising young equestrians. Instructed by Rob and Sarah Byers, Trey Watson proved to be the best of the best in both classes aboard Preferred Prince. Morgan Billig was a sharp second in each event.


Trey Watson and CH Preferred Prince


The UPHA Challenge Cup was captured by Jamie Weisbach, with the second going to Kaitlynn Ramsey. The pleasure equitation age group and championship were swept by Caroline Jonsson in a pair of smooth rides. Making it a Zubrod stables exacta, Jamie Weisbach rode to reserve in the championship, with Cheyenne Mabey claiming the red ribbon in the age group.


Friday evening and part of Saturday was devoted to academy riders and the Academy Kentucky State Championships. If not quite as overflowing as 2006, this year still boasted a large and enthusiastic academy group, from adults to walk and trot.


Bluegrass Futurity


Under the guidance of Melissa Moore, the innovative Bluegrass Futurity has emerged as one of the most important prize programs in the industry. Along with the All American Cup, Wisconsin Futurity and other limited breeders’ stakes, the Bluegrass Futurity offers tremendous incentive with its attractive purses, encouraging the breeding of Saddlebreds. Moore can be proud of the fact that she was among the first to redefine and capitalize on the original stallion fee auction funded model. The level of quality in both the weanling and two-year-old classes is proof of the seriousness with which breeders regard the event. The weanling class in particular enjoyed strong support.


Seventeen beautiful and bright-eyed babies contended for the weanling crown on Thursday afternoon. Among this outstanding group, six to eight top contenders soon separated themselves from the crowd. The tension mounted as the winners were called in reverse order. Dena Lopez and the pretty Belle Of Royalty were called out third, which left only the aptly named fillies Not Your Average Girl, led by Brian Reimer, and She’s Wonderful Tonight, handled by Jon Wallace, remaining in the arena. In the end it was Georgia challengers Not Your Average Girl and Reimer for Five Hill Farm taking the reserve championship. That left the elegant She’s Wonderful Tonight and Wallace in the top spot for the Hanson’s Penny Lane Farm of Kentucky. Even sweeter, this lovely filly is by Amy and Dale’s stallion Ultimatum. Disappointment over having to miss the All American Cup turned into joy over winning this great class. The Hansons, along with colt trainer Jon Wallace and trainer James Nichols, were justifiably proud of their home bred, raised and trained champion.


The alumni took the spotlight earlier in the show session as the two-year-old division of the Bluegrass Futurity drew several top young harness horses. The handsome bay high stepper Mooi Mooi took the top prize back to Indiana for Tony and Linda Boxdorfer’s Four Willows Farm. Melinda Moore filled in for trainer Melissa Moore (who was judging the Morgan Grand Nationals that week) to drive this nice colt, which had promised much throughout the season, finally blossoming when it counted most. Bret Day had the top contender Last Class sharp to take reserve champion honors for the Fischer Sisters LLC. Former American Cup champion With Bells On was third for Joan Lurie and owners Clyde and Sally Nolan, with Tom Galbreath’s Mozzarella and Dena Lopez completing the impressive turnout.


This concludes the highlights from Kentucky Fall Classic. Complete results can be seen and searched by clicking here.

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