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Lexington Jr. League - Friday and Saturday Evenings

Friday Evening

Thirty minutes before start time Friday evening, it looked like the rain was going to move in and make everyone take cover, but just as 12 determined young walk and trot riders came through the gate for the Walk and Trot Equitation Championship, the skies cleared and the sun came out.

Lexington’s Red Mile track is arguably one of the more difficult places in the country to show a horse but the young equitation riders not only handled the track well, they maneuvered through the big group with ease. The talent-filled class with such impressive numbers offered a great showcase to get the evening started and a glimpse of the entertaining evening to come.

The panel named Taylor Newton the winner of the big class after her win earlier in the week in the UPHA 9-10 Walk and Trot Challenge Cup under the direction of Shelley Fisher.

Cassidy Dolby followed close behind with the reserve tricolor streamers after her reserve in the 9-10 challenge cup under the direction of Tom Sworm. Belle Owen put together the top three finish in the big class.

One good class followed another and from top young equitation to a talent-filled Hackney Pleasure Pony Driving Championship with 11 entries, the evening session rolled on.

The pony divisions this season seem to have rebounded at many shows and the number of entries at many shows has seemed to be bigger than usual. The championship class on this night certainly proved that point as the country’s top ponies converged on the Red Mile track and put on a great show.

The panel awarded three number ones to Early Edition, with owner Jane Mueller driving from Gib Marcucci Stables to maintain their rank as one of the best of the best in the division.

The 2004 UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Classic Grand Champion Once Upon A Time and Anna Marie Knipp followed up their reserve in the qualifier with the reserve grand championship finish from Jimmy Miller Stables.

Surprisingly, after the big walk and trot championship, the Junior Equitation Championship had just four entries. Granted, they were four of the best young equitation riders showing today and they rode hard in both the rail work and workout portions of the class.

When the results were announced, it was Amber Lynn Lowry taking the title of grand champion under the direction of Bill and Nancy Becker of Shadow Run. Brittany McGinnis claimed the reserve prize from DeLovely Farm.

Harlem’s Santa Fe was the picture of elegance with Susan Bartlett as they turned in a strong effort to win the Amateur Fine Harness Championship for the second year in a row to continue their great season so far.

Catalytic and Susan Hollowell have been coming on strong and maintaining a top position in the division and they were named the amateur reserve grand champions in the six-entry class under the direction of Cash Lovell.

Six amateur Harness ponies came through the gate next for the Amateur Harness Pony Championship. These entries put on an entertaining class for the crowd that had continued to grow steadily as the evening progressed with the weather continuing to cooperate. Vindicator just keeps on going and going and going and he was in top form to take the victory pass for Bent Tree Farm with Karen Waldron driving. Heartland Expectation and Karen Frickey were right there and claimed the reserve title for Frickey Farms.

A herd came through the gate for the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship. With 22 horses in the class, the focus of riders became how to stay clear of the crowd and out of trouble, but they all managed to do just that. This was a class where just earning a ribbon was an accomplishment, let alone earning the win or reserve grand championship. When the results were announced, it was Liquid Thunder and Tate Bennett taking the tricolor for Cross Timbers Enterprises to follow up their win of the section two qualifier. Callaway¹s Rockaway and Chris Nalley finished as the reserve grand champions from Biggins Stables to follow up a sweep of the division at Rock Creek. CH The Bodega Bay and Tasha Rose Sandler were able to score the yellow streamers in the big class.

Seize The Moment and Ali DeGray did just that in the eight-entry Junior Exhibitor Roadster Pony Championship. They seized the opportunity to impress the panel and they did it in unanimous fashion to top a stellar group of young drivers and ponies for the win from Ruth Gimpel Stables. DeGray had only driven her mom’s pony a couple of times before Junior League but their teamwork made an impression on the panel. Jeb Boyd and Heartland Painted Creation have been coming together and getting better and better in their first season together and they were named the reserve grand champions under the direction of Steve Hanks after a strong effort.

The amateur park division is another one that gets bigger and deeper every year and this year, the competition at show after show has been absolutely first rate. At Lexington, the park classes offered a great example of why the Red Mile is such a challenging place to show. Fifteen teams answered the call for the Amateur Park Horse Stake and each and every rider had to be on top of their game in the good class as they faced some of the best amateur park horses in the country. When the cards were turned in, it was CH Justa Rascal and Megan McClure taking the title back to West Wind Stables to continue the great season they’ve been having so far in their first year together. Their win came after a big move up in the ribbons from the qualifier. Reserve grand champion Desert’s Supreme Lady and Margaret Biggs had an even bigger move up in the ribbons for their reserve under the direction of Jan Lukens. Bambi Childress and The Foxy Prince were top three in the stake after winning the qualifier under the direction of Grassy Run.

Ruth Gimpel continued her group’s successes at Lexington with the win in the competitive six-entry Ladies Three-Gaited Stake. Gimpel rode An Heir Of Magic, who was loaded with expression, to the tricolor title for Pixie Dust & Steel. Melinda Moore rode A Great Day’s Cummin to a big ovation from the crowd on the way to pick up the reserve tricolor for Danny Bugg and Peggy Whitley.

The top three ponies in the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship all carried the “Heartland” prefix in their name, a testament to the strength of the Heartland Hackney Farm breeding program and all three were owners of world’s titles. Mary McClean and reserve world’s champion Heartland Elise drove to the winner’s circle after a picture perfect performance for the panel to follow up their win in the 10-entry qualifier for Golden Creek. World’s champion of champions Heartland Rain Song and Jackie Stred were named the reserve grand champions from John Shea Stables.

The junior horses put on a great show to continue a stellar evening of competition in their Junior Three-Gaited Stake. Eight talented young equines worked hard for the panel and each had their share of crowd support but when the results were announced, it was Boston Legal and Renee Biggins with a unanimous decision by the panel to take the victory pass for William Shatner and Belle Reve Farm. Their win followed up their blue ribbon performance in the over 15.2 qualifier. Our Charming Lady LCC and Kent Swalla, winners of the under 15.2 qualifier, left the ring to a huge ovation from the crowd after their strong effort for M.W. Sorenson.

The junior exhibitor pleasure championship was split by age group and both splits hosted a huge number of entries that included world’s champion horses and riders in both. Nineteen horses tried hard to navigate the long straightaways and tight turns and the juvenile riders handled the pressure well and turned in two of the evening¹s most competitive classes.

Wind Cruzer and Callie Smith powered their way through the 19-entry 14 and Under Championship to take the tricolor and victory pass from Cryst-A-Kell Farm. Under the direction of Adam and Desiree Clauson, May Issue and Allison Rohloff were right on target to claim the reserve ribbon. Vegas Dreams and Victoria McCune captured the yellow streamers. Wind Cruzer and May Issue flip flopped from their results in the 14 and under section two qualifier. Vegas Dreams' third place followed up the third place in the section two qualifier.

The 15-17 riders faced a group of 18 for their show pleasure championship and like the younger age group, handled the crowd with ease and turned in a great class. The Bess Yet and Meaghan Kucera headed to the winner’s circle to add another title for the night to the Biggins count and earn the title of Lexington Grand Champion for the second year in a row. Petra’s Beyond Belief and Katie Salvi moved up from the 15-17 qualifier to be named the reserve grand champions in the deep class under the direction of Ray Krussell. Thea Ervin just teamed up with her new horse The Grand Master and in a masterful display of teamwork, trotted away with the yellow streamers under the direction of Chuck Herbert.

The amateur road horses put on an entertaining class and all seven turned it on at speed to impress the panel. The one to beat, however, turned out to be Geronimo with Danny Bugg driving to follow up their win in the amateur gentlemen’s class. Humdinger and James Rosburg retained their number two position from the qualifier to claim the reserve grand championship.

The 11-entry Ladies Five-Gaited Stake was one of the evening’s most entertaining classes with multi-titled champions competing and the ladies riding hard. Walterway’s Remember Me and Ceil Wheeler scored a unanimous decision from the panel after having won the Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding class from Nelson Green Stables and their crowd pleasing performance brought a lot of applause from the appreciative crowd. Mary Gaylord McClean and World’s Champion Ladies Five-Gaited Mare Take Me Away followed up their reserve in the ladies mare class with a strong effort for the reserve streamers in the ladies stake. Gayle Lampe had Callaway’s Born To Win in top order to take the yellow streamers back to Mike Roberts Stables.

The Junior Fine Harness Stake was a terrific class as well and offered a glimpse of the great young horses coming up through the ranks with nine high stepping youngsters. Sugar Pine has been a consistent and an elegant performer with Carter Cox since she came out at Louisville as a yearling and since she won the ASHA Fine Harness Two-Year-Old Sweepstakes in 2003. She came through the gate looking bold and confident and the panel was in complete agreement that number 36 would head to the winner’s circle in the deep, talent-filled class for Mary McLellan Williams. George Knight presented yet another nice young horse to top honors when Hello Boys was named reserve grand champion for Barbara McCune.

Five ponies competed in the Amateur Roadster Pony Championship. The panel had agreed on the top two places in the qualifier. Jane Mueller and My Party Manners have been strong competitors in the amateur division since they teamed up and they followed up their qualifier win by being named the Amateur Roadster Pony Grand Champions. Georgia Blevins and Dun-Haven Awesome Image have also been having an incredible run together and they retained their reserve status from the qualifier to take the reserve grand championship title under the direction of Rich Campbell and Maureen Lydon.

The Junior Five-Gaited Stake closed out the evening in fine fashion with a strong group of young gaited horses working hard to impress the panel and the crowd at all five gaits. After such a great night of competition, the crowd was really enthusiastic and they cheered on their favorites as they racked and trotted in each direction. When the panel named their ribbon winners, applause erupted as each name was called. Tre Lee and A Silver Charm took the tricolor prize for Barbie and Brad Bacon after a powerful performance together and a warm reception from the crowd. Multi-titled Heirrison Ford and Don Harris had their share of crowd support as they left the ring with the reserve tricolor. Mary Orr and Vickie Byrd’s Attache’s Crown Royal have been accumulating fans all season and they received a huge ovation from the crowd as they picked up the yellow ribbon to close out a great night of competition.

Saturday Night

Eleven equitation riders came through the gate to start things off for the final evening of championship competition in the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. Clear skies once again prevailed and a large crowd gathered to watch what promised to be a great night of competition to close out an action packed week at the Red Mile. All 11 riders turned in poised and polished rides on the rail and when they lined up, six were asked to perform the workout for the panel. The talent and depth in the championship class was excellent and the big field included world's title holders and possible soon to be world's champions as the road to Louisville gets shorter and shorter.

Alexandra Flynn, Michelle Krentz, Jessica Moctezuma, Mandy Martin, Shana Jo Brown, Emily Garten, Tara Grom and Jacqueline Beck, after performing the workout, lined up to await the decision from the judges. When the cards were turned in, it was Alexandra Flynn taking the title and victory pass with a unanimous decision. Michelle Krentz was named the reserve grand champion from Knollwood. Moctezuma, Martin, Brown, Garten, Grom and Beck claimed the remaining ribbons in that order. An emotional Flynn, accompanied by DeLovely instructor Lillian Shively, was interviewed after the class and as attention turned to the Jumbotron, dedicated the class to her mother and told the interviewer, her first equitation championship victory at the Red Mile meant "everything" to her.

Four roadster ponies headed to the ring for their Roadster Pony Championship and their class was one of several that left people talking. Georgia Blevins just teamed up with Free Willy after she and Dr. Jerry Blevins purchased him a couple weeks ago but when he hit third gear after the reverse, they looked as if they'd been together for years. Free Willy emerged as one of the night’s big stars for the unanimous win under the direction of Rich Campbell and Maureen Lydon. Mastercraft's Captivator and Ed Frickey turned in a solid performance and captured the reserve grand championship title for Frickey Farms.

The Amateur Five-Gaited Stake showcased eight teams working hard in an effort to capture the tricolor and title of grand champion. Memories Paragon and Ceil Wheeler were unstoppable on their way to the winner's circle under the direction of Nelson Green to continue the great season they've been having. Amusing and Amy Dix Rock have been to the winner's circle many times in their career together and they were also at top of their game to garner the reserve title from Premier. I'm A Treat and Mary Gaylord McClean have also been one of the division's consistently top performers and they finished in the top three in the competitive class.

The junior exhibitors in the three-gaited division have faced deep water all season and Lexington was no different. The older age group of 15-17 riders had their work cut out for them in their stake class and nobody gave an inch. Nicola van der Walt has proved herself to be an accomplished rider from the first time she showed aboard a borrowed horse at Louisville several years ago. Since then she and Nelmar Tango 4 Ever have teamed up and visited the winner's circle many times in the juvenile division under the direction of Gene and Annalize van der Walt of Singing Hills Stables. Nelmar Tango 4 Ever, after numerous top performances in harness this season, returned to the juvenile ranks with van der Walt and they were in top form for their unanimous victory in the stake. Heir To A Star and Kristen Koenig turned in a stellar effort for the reserve grand championship finish.

Along Came A Spider has captured the industry's attention since she appeared in the fine harness ranks at Louisville last year after earning top ribbons prior to that in the five-gaited division with George Knight. Lexington's Fine Harness Grand Championship, surprisingly, included only three entries but it was definitely a trio of top ranked harness stars. Along Came A Spider and George Knight made it yet another tricolor victory in the division when they were named the winners for Georgia Baker. I'm A Lucky Charm and Mike Roberts turned in a strong effort to capture the reserve grand championship and Samur, with Merrill Murray, was third for H. Curtis Meanor.

The Amateur Three-Gaited Stake was next on the agenda and like the amateur five-gaited stake, featured a top group in contention for the tricolor. The class did provide, however, a perfect example of why the Red Mile can be such a challenging place to show a horse for even the most experienced and decorated riders. The veteran and accomplished group of riders had a few bumps and bobbles along the way to the line up but it was also a class where many, many good passes from each team made the panel take a second look at each team.

When the decision was announced, it was Callaway's Merry Go Round and Misdee Wrigley taking the unanimous win for the victory pass. Bad Moon Rising and Caroline Kamer added to their terrific season with the reserve grand championship nod. Wrigley's win marked her second Lexington Amateur Three-Gaited Grand Championship in a row with Merry Go Round.

On The Mark was the unanimous Hackney Pony Grand Champion after turning in a strong effort for Bent Tree Farm to top three other teams for the title. Heartland Newsmaker and Bobbie Anne Welch scored the reserve title with their strong effort from Singing Hills.

The adult riders were split by age group for their championship class. Section one featured the over 35 riders and section two showcased the 35 and under riders. As often happens, one split was considerably larger than the other and on this night, the section one over 35 riders had a much smaller class. Nine teams came in riding hard and they continued to do so throughout the class. Square Dance and Cathy Klasek have been getting better and better since teaming up under the direction of Robert Gardiner and they scored their biggest win to date with the Three-Gaited Pleasure Over 35 Grand Championship. Robert and Jonelle  Gardiner met the ecstatic Klasek in the ring for the tricolor presentation. Night Vision and Kurt Antonacci teamed up to finish with the reserve grand championship with a strong team effort.

Fifteen entries had to work hard to find a good spot on the Red Mile track for their 35 and under championship but they did a great job of showcasing their entries and put on another great pleasure class. My Grande is no stranger to the winner's circle and Amanda Dellinger has been having a great season with the multi-titled and reserve world's champion campaigner in their first season together. They put on a good show to take the win in the deep class under the direction of Steve Old. CH Uncle Abe is another star of the pleasure division who has carried each and every one of his riders to top honors at shows throughout the country. Piper Granger piloted Uncle Abe to the reserve grand championship tricolor under the direction of Shelley Fisher.

Entries this year in the open ranks at shows throughout the country has seemed to be bigger than usual and it was great to see nine elegant walk-trot horses come through the gate for their Three-Gaited Grand Championship, putting on one of the best three-gaited championships of the season so far. When entries line up to strip, the crowd made it clear that they had their favorites. When the panel's decision was announced, it was CH Yes It's True and Sam Stafford called to take the victory pass for owner Pidgeon Roost Farm. Royal Messenger and Melissa Moore were right there to finish with the reserve title for Dave and Michelle Groomes. I'm Sky High and Gary Garone have been having another great year together and they also received a big share of the applause, like the top two finishers, when they were called to accept the yellow streamers for Rick Daigle.

Par Excellence was absolutely on top of his game and turned in a powerful effort to earn the unanimous victory in the Harness Pony Grand Championship with Larry Ella driving for Bent Tree Farm. Delightful Time and Stephanie Monteleone displayed their teamwork to continue their successful season and finished with the reserve under the direction of John Shea.

The park division in both the open and amateur ranks continues to attract some of the industry's best horse flesh and grows increasingly competitive each season. Three-Gaited Park Horse Stake this year at the Red Mile was another deep and competitive class and every rider had to be on top of their game to showcase their mounts to a top ribbon.

After working hard both directions, Tax Man and Melinda Moore scored the tricolor nod from the panel for Jeff Councilman. Town Cat and Evan Orr were reserve grand champions for Brenda Navori and Lesley Anne, fresh off her wins at Cleveland Classic, was third with Steve Demjen for Mr. Alan R. Robson.

As so often happens at the Red Mile, after such a great night of competition, by the time the Road Horses hit the ring, the crowd which has grown in size all evening is fired up and eagerly anticipating the speed and skill of the roadsters. Anticipating a great class and ready to cheer their favorites, the crowd wasn't disappointed on this night as the quality in the five-entry class was first rate. Braveheart and Gingerbread Man have both accumulated so many honors in the division and they both handled the track in world's championship style. Since there can only be one winner, someone had to take the reserve but neither one was prepared to give an inch. When the cards were turned in, it was a unanimous decision for Gingerbread Man with Raymond Shively in the bike for Melinda Moore. Braveheart and Marilyn Macfarlane exited the track with the reserve grand championship title for Walnut Way Farm.

The Five-Gaited Grand Championship provided a great finale to a terrific week of competition in Lexington. As the crowd rose to their feet, each of the seven entries was introduced and entered to a huge ovation from the appreciative crowd. From the get-go, each team gave their all and as momentum continued to build, anticipation did too. Things were soon called to a halt as Clark Clouse and All American Guy had to have a lost shoe replaced.

The great class soon continued with all entries putting forth their very best efforts. In a heartbreaking turn of events, All American Guy lost the shoe for a second time and Clouse was forced to take the gate. The six remaining contenders then lined up to strip and the crowd gave their support as the panel inspected each entry. When the cards were turned in, Carlswald Prince's Dominoe and Lionel Ferreira scored their second win of the week to be named the Lexington Junior League Five-Gaited Grand Champions for owner J. Bulmer. Glider's Star turned in a great effort and worked hard each and every step to claim the reserve grand championship for Kristen Shiflet with Matt Shiflet in the irons. Melissa Moore and CH Echo of Thunder were solid each direction and they garnered the yellow ribbon for Larry and Alice Nunley.

Saturday evening's championship session closed out a great week of competition at Lexington and helped this year's show end on a high note.

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