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Lexington Jr. League Show Coverage – Saturday Evening

Saturday Evening


Flying back and forth across the country twice this week didn’t seem to affect Bill Shatner’s performance in the show ring. In fact, after the two grand shows he put on The Red Mile over the last 24 hours, he might want to work that into his regimen for every horse show. Friday night, Shatner had All Glory romping to the tri-color in the Amateur Roadster to Bike, but Saturday, he had Call Me Ringo working in a place that was simply ethereal. Ringo and Shatner defined the term “park trot” in the Junior League Fine Harness Championship. It was floaty; it was airy; it was surreal. This stallion, bred for harness greatness, was consistent and true, never moving out of the perfect frame of his headset or backing an ear, always moving forward at that same promenading pace. Call Me Ringo stands at Alliance Stud and is trained by Danette Musselman. Out of Eleanor Rigby, herself by Fine Harness World’s Grand Champion Buck Rogers, Ringo is the only one of her babies that is by Sultan’s Great Day. The rest are by Great Day’s Came The Son. Phasers were definitely set to “Stun” tonight at Junior League.


The reserve champion needed no introduction, as the crowd greets her with a big cheer the second she enters any show ring. Along Came A Spider is a horse that has that effect on people. Just the sight of her makes you excited to watch her perform. George Knight had her working strong, her black coat glistening in the last few rays of the sunset. She earned a first-place nod from Lewis Eckard and an appreciative ovation from the crowd. Georgia Herpin Baker is the proud owner of this gorgeous mare, another product of Sultan’s Great Day. Third went to a Periaptor son, Celtic Storm. Todd Graham had this former Park horse showing in harness for the first time in four years. Owner Karen Blankenship Shumate has been his pilot all during that time. A third-place tie in a class like this one was no small feat.


Ashley Hallock was on hand to present the last tri-color and set of trophies of the 2007 Lexington Junior League Horse Show. She was representing Five-Gaited Championship sponsor, Elisabeth Goth Chelberg, who also sponsors the Jumbotron scoreboard that has become a Lexington staple, displaying the judges’ cards while the horses are still in the ring. The reigning World’s Grand Champion was not to be denied in this one. Todd Miles had him brighter tonight, moving forward and covering ground. The DeLovely crew were throwing their full voice behind their champion, an entry of Steve Chancellor. He’s The Man carried the day tonight, almost 18 years to the day after his sire, CH Man On The Town, took the same class, looking remarkably similar.


Mary Gaylord McClean is no stranger to bursting through the in-gate on a gaited mare with “My Old Kentucky Home” playing in the background. This night would be similar to an August night in 1990, in a locale slightly farther to the west. That year was the first of Mary’s two assaults on the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship aboard CH Santana Lass. That night, she and Lass were denied by none other than CH Man On The Town. Here in present day Lexington, it was another gorgeous mare who garnered great crowd support, just as Lass always did. According To Lynn is a home-raised product. Her pedigree is that of Saddlebred royalty. In four years in the show ring, this was her first time leaving with anything but a blue ribbon. Mary had a big smile on her face as the crowd cheered her all the way out the gate.


The Five-Gaited Gelding winner, I’m Royalty Too, did not show back in the championship, as rider Rob Byers trains According To Lynn and was busy putting her in the ring. Reserve in the gelding qualifier and third in this very nice class of 10 went to CH Breaking News, with Peter Cowart aboard for Megan McClure and Beth Arndt. This former Junior Exhibitor World’s Champion is incredibly slick at the slow gait and rack. Fourth was the property of Radiante and Clark Clouse, showing for Elmo Greer. The crowd showed some support for “good ol’ Cletus,” as they always do. Clouse had himself a nice week at The Red Mile.


Two classes prior, it was Lime Twisted Gin taking Clark Clouse around the ring to capture the Park Stake for Jackie Stred. This was the third year in a row that this seven-year-old chestnut has won on The Red Mile track. He was the Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under winner in 2005 and the Park Champion and qualifier winner last year. He is by the Sultan’s Great Day son, Uhlen Branch, and is out of a Preferred Property mare. Phi’s Phortune Teller moved up a slot from the qualifier to take the reserve championship. Janet Crampton was once again in the irons for Ashley and Toby McKenzie.


Another Bay and Neil Visser were a strong third in the Park Horse Championship for Sara McDonald, while Catalyst Commander and Liz Cortright earned the fourth-place ribbon for Maguire Hall LLC. One who can really garner the crowd support is fifth-place finisher Captivate. He is a Stonecroft Farm product and is still a work in progress for rider Jenny Taylor and husband Jim.


Seven riders were called upon to perform the additional testing in the Senior Equitation Championship. The pattern was beyond intricate and challenging. It called for a full rail trot without stirrups (no small feat in a ring the dimensions of Junior League’s), a slightly off-center circle and a half at the canter, a long portion where the riders had to walk their horses up the slope from the tent-side rail two-thirds of the way across the ring, and then straight line lead changes in segments of six, five and four strides.


The seven to perform this pattern that could have been used in a National Final were Ali Judah, Brittany McGinnis, Ellen Medley Wright, Lindsay Haupt, Jacqueline Back, Kyle Gagnon, and Emma Nichols. In her first year in the senior age group, Brittany McGinnis displayed her impeccable form aboard Amandari to take the Dakota Willimon Challenge Trophy. It is hard to believe that this is “Bee’s” first year in 14-17, mostly because she has been showing in the Senior Challenge Cup Finals since 2005, having won the 11-and-Under and 13-and-Under Finals in 2004. Her success in the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Finals has also been a contributing factor. She was third last year, riding as a 13-year-old.


The reserve champion got a lot of support from the crowd, firstly because she put on a great display of poise and execution with Feng Shui, but secondly because she is about the nicest young lady you could hope to meet. This would be Ali Judah. Third in this deep class went to another personable young lady, Ellen Medley Wright, wearing a satiny black formal coat aboard Kalu’s Can’t Stop The Magic. To illustrate the tough competition in this class, the top three riders were 1-2-3, 1-2-4, 1-2-5 on the judges’ cards.


The Roadster Pony Championship was a unanimous trip to the winner’s circle for the beautiful Beaulah Jean, driven by Jeff McClean. This capped off a great week for the Golden Creek Farms' pony entries trained by Tom Lowry. Lamborghini, a seasoned campaigner with a lot left in the tank, was the reserve champion with Georgia Blevins driving under the Majestic Oaks banner.


A thrown shoe in the Amateur Five-Gaited Stake left the horses and riders standing around, baking in the late day sun. Many of the entries seemed to lose a bit of steam when the class was called back to order with a second way trot. However, one mare who never seems to lose steam is CH Amusing. Trainer Rob Byers must have been keeping her and Amy Dix Rock in a shady corner somewhere, fanning them or something, because they emerged from the break in the action as fresh as ever. These long rails were made for this mare, and she took full advantage, rolling to the championship. Reserve in the stake went to Callaway’s Kit Carson and Susan Shepherd, the stallion/gelding qualifier winners. This team has been together since 2003 and has an Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding World’s Championship to their credit. They received a first-place vote from Brian Chappell. Have You Ever and Barclay de Wet were third, with Misdee Wrigley Miller and Lakeview’s Rare-A-Phi taking fourth.


Emily Scharpf continued her undefeated season with CH Nelmar Tango 4 Ever (SA) in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 14-17 Stake under the brown-and-orange Knollwood Farm banner. It has been 12 classes and 12 victory passes so far this year. They will head to Louisville again this year, looking to claim the 14-17 Three-Gaited crown that Nicola van der Walt earned with “Tango” in 2005. Milady a la Lucie and Holly Wilson were reserve in this one with a first-place vote from Lewis Eckard. This junior horse was the ASHA Three-Year-Old Sweepstakes Champion last year for Mike McIntosh. She is by Top Spool and out of A La Lucie, an appropriate name for the dam of a horse showing in Lexington. A La Lucie is a well-known restaurant in the downtown Lexington area and is a staple for many of the horse show crowd.


CH Callaway’s Merry-Go-Round made it four years in a row in the Amateur Three-Gaited Stake. The first two years, he had Misdee Wrigley aboard, but last year and tonight, it was Christy Bennett in the saddle. Merry-Go-Round has been part of some of the most epic battles in walk-trot history over the past four years, and he and Bennett have their sights set once again on Freedom Hall. Last year, it was a win in the Amateur Over 15.2 qualifier and third in the championship. With another year of work together under their belt, it remains to be seen what the outcome will be.


The Great Gaspar, another of the Merchant Prince x Denmark’s Radiant Society family, was the reserve champion with Phillipa Sledge. This was Sledge’s first show with her latest entry to the walk-trot division, and with two hard-earned reserves here, they're off to a good start. Winners of the Under 2 qualifier, SJ The Smart Lady (SA) and Georgia Bulmer were third with an athletic performance.


During the lineup of the Hackney Pony Championship, a message noting John Shea’s 76th birthday was displayed on the Jumbotron, accompanied by an announcement by Peter Doubleday and the playing of Happy Birthday by Gene Wright. After that, Regal’s Trademark LF and Jeff McClean were crowned the grand champions for Golden Creek Farms. Seamair Simply Awesome and John Wrather were the reserve champions.


CH Uncle Abe and Piper Granger Bordegon were once again victorious, this time in the Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship. This 13-year-old chestnut with the white blaze and the impossibly perfect headset just seems to get better with age, though a son of Blackberry Winter continuing to show well and even improve into his teenage years should not be a surprise (see Blackberry Delight for reference). Kurt Antonacci had Finest Material looking stellar once again, this time taking the reserve championship for Larry Nunley in a well-filled class. Lookin’ Yonder and Laura Michelle Dozer were third, with He Is The Heir and Careen DuBuc fourth.


Grande Gil and Neil Visser put on a show of contained three-gaited power to win the Three-Gaited Championship for Joan Hamilton. Visser rode both directions of the ring at the trot with one hand on the reins and one hand tapping Grande Gil’s withers with each stride. It was good to see Visser continue to show with success throughout the week after the accident on Tuesday night. This evening Visser was sporting a red dot on his back number, indicating that this five-year-old son of I’m The Prince is for sale. They were the unanimous choice of the judges in a four-horse class that had three identical cards turned in. Sightline and Rob Turner made the trip from the Northeast to take the reserve championship for Holli Esposito with an expressive show.


Another unanimous winner took home the Harness Pony Championship. This class featured a victory pass by Heartland Expectation and Karen Frickey. They won out over Impress My Daddy and Glenn A. Werry Jr. The Roadster to Bike Championship went home to Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, with Melinda Moore and Quill. They were Roadster Under Saddle World’s Champions last year. Cosmical and Matt Shiflet received a lot of crowd support and a first-place vote from Brian Chappell in taking the reserve championship.


A few notes to recap this year’s Lexington Junior League Horse Show: Did someone forget to tell the weatherman this was the week Junior League was being held? The temperatures were mild. the rain held off during the show, it was just an absolutely lovely week of horse showing. Don’t let him know next year’s dates either!

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