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Lexington Junior League - Friday Night

Let’s put it this way. If the sky had held up on the promise it looked like it was making, the show would have been in a whole mess of trouble. That eerie yellowish tinge to the sky was on the horizon, and the clouds were looming with ominous intent. It was a Junior League night where the people out in the uncovered box seats don’t really settle into them, just in case they have to cut and run for the vendor area inside. But for all of the radar checking and feelings of impending doom, the stormfront just touched The Red Mile, bringing a light rain a couple different times during the evening. After the second shower, a cool breeze picked up, and it was once again a beautiful night. The show never stopped, and the judges only had to go to the raingear for a few classes. Show secretary and results tabulator Beth Snider had a custom designed fortress of solitude to protect her computer equipment from the rain, courtesy of K & D Construction. All in all, it was another great night, with perhaps more people taking seats up in the upper level, where the seats are almost all covered. In truth, the upper level does provide a totally different horse show experience at The Red Mile, giving a completely new perspective.

Tonight’s flag presenters were from the Lexington Mounted Police, with equine officers Jake and Jester. After an absolutely stirring rendition of the National Anthem, the walk and trotters hit the ring to ride hard for their Championship. There is a walk and trot rivalry brewing in the Northeast, as two of the top riders in the country and the top two finishers in this class have been trading wins back and forth all season long. Clara McCool and Molly Codeanne are poised and polished in the saddle. Clara rides under the direction of Kristen and David Cater, while Molly rides for the Garones at Fairfield South. Taking her eighth victory pass of the year and second one here this week, Clara McCool earned the tri-color aboard Highpoint’s Syncopated Rhythm. Her sister, Margaret McCool, is a former UPHA Walk and Trot Challenge Cup National Champion. Quoting Jim Aikman in a recap of a walk and trot class doesn’t seem to make sense, but "Never underestimate the importance of the bottom line." In the case of Reserve Champion Molly Codeanne, that is quite relevant, as the "dam" in this case is Triple Crown winner Kate (Harvey) Codeanne. Eight and Under winner Maisie Benfield was in against the older age group riders to take third.

Speaking of Kate Codeanne, she capped off the evening in grand style, living a dream with A Dream In Color. In a Ladies Five-Gaited Championship full of many of the very best in the business, this dynamic rider and mare emerged with the tri-color. A joyful Lynn Harvey McNamara jumped up and down and hugged the mare’s breeder, Katherine Hansil, as Rob Turner made the run to the winner’s circle to greet the champion. After their Ladies Mare qualifier win, 30 years after Lynn had won the very same class, how could they top that fantastic feeling? They took care of that tonight, heading down victory lane, out the far end of the show ring and out into the Lexington night to celebrate a phenomenal performance. Winner of the three-horse workout in the Ladies Gelding qualifier, I’m Royalty Too was Reserve Champion for Heather Digiannantonio and Louis and Rosemarie Fernandez. The Premier Stables assistant has really teamed well with the dark chestnut gelding, now in their second campaign together, They took reserve here for the second year in a row and were a Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding World’s Champion just a year ago as well. CH Callaway’s Born For This and Allison Combs are a new team this year, and the Mercer Springs team has really put together another nice combo. The gray mare is always a crowd favorite, and Allison has come on strong all year long, getting more and more out of her. Champion in this class last year and reigning Ladies Mare World’s Champion, she certainly was born for this. CH Callaway’s Kit Carson, reserve in the gelding class, was fourth for Maguire Hall and the Randy Cates team.

Stephany Monteleone and Mastercraft’s Namesake LF continued an undefeated 2009 with a tri-color performance in the Hackney Pleasure Driving Championship. When the ponies reversed, the lights started cranking up on the infield side of the ring, as the storm approached and darkened the track. Namesake and Monteleone cranked it up a notch on the reverse as well, bringing home the Championship to Metairie, Louisiana. A shocking bit of information, Mastercraft’s Namesake is by Mastercraft. However, the "Namesake" comes from his dam’s sire, Reedann’s Namesake. High and light in the bridle under the direction of Abel Vega, Namesake is the reigning World’s Champion of Champions and National Champion in this division. As this is a sport that a lot of families enjoy together, Tamra Arndt, aunt of Megan McClure and daughter of Beth Arndt, the owners of World’s Grand Champion Breaking News, also takes her turn in the show ring. She was the Reserve Champion with Heartland Parade Time, with Peter and Kim Cowart directing from the rail. They were Reserve National Champions last season. Sandra Surber put in a solid performance with Heartland Entitled to pick up third place, while Heartland Stepaside was fourth with Helen Rosburg. In the lineup of both of her driving classes this evening, Miss Helen somehow managed to turn the rain switch to "on."

After the rain let up during the Junior Equitation Championship, the Amateur Fine Harness Championship hit the ring with about as much talent as any one fine harness class could hope for. Though the rain of course came back when the always well-appointed Helen Rosburg made her way to the lineup with Joe Friday, she didn’t mind one bit once announcer Peter Doubleday called her to the winner’s circle as the Amateur Fine Harness Champion. On a track that this unbelievably talented gelding could very well just call home, he stepped up to the challenge of the deep and well-filled class, making a sensational show under the direction of Ruth Gimpel and Ronnie Graham. He was the Open Fine Harness Champion here last year. Though they got rained on in both of their performances tonight, the team of Ronnie Graham and Ruth Gimpel, along with Helen and James Rosburg and Helen’s daughter Ali DeGray, were still in high spirits after the show, laughing and talking on the track. Mother Mary, the reigning World’s Grand Champion with a neck that goes on for miles, was the Reserve Champion tonight for Anita Simpson and the Mercer Springs team. This daughter of Revival exudes quality and grace, while still possessing that big, square park trot that she has displayed all of her life. Joan Adler made it to the show in time tonight, and made a wonderful drive with her beloved stallion, Gothic Revival to take third. CH Cary’s Moonraker and Toni Nastali were fourth in this loaded class for MBA Equestrians.

The Junior Equitation Championship came to the ring in a light rain that lasted all through the railwork and let up finally during the workouts. You could just feel the equitation moms cringing as the beautiful formal suits and top hats rode through the raindrops. In her final year in the Junior age group, Belle Owen won this Championship for the second year in a row aboard Chanti’s Prayer. Last year, Belle showed she can compete with any age group, as she was the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup Reserve National Champion, the USEF Medal Reserve National Champion, and finished fourth in the NHS Good Hands Finals. The second two of those three events are open to riders up to 17 years of age. A gifted equitator, Belle Owen always has that poise in the saddle on display. Coming on stronger and stronger as his career progresses, Gavin Gagnon has some big shoes to fill and is doing a heck of a job filling them. With big bro Kyle providing instruction from the rail, Gavin executed a great pattern to earn the Reserve Championship aboard The Princess Dianna. The reigning 11-Year-Old World’s Champion, Gavin moved up one place this year from his third-place finish a year ago. Let’s see if that trend continues next year in his final Junior Equitation year! The McCool family had a great night, as Margaret McCool was third in this one aboard Undulata’s Time To Shine. Macey Joan Miles, one of the youngest riders in the class, was fourth with Heir’s Encore.

Karen Waldron had the right idea in switching to the rain gear for her tri-color drive with Sweetheart Of Success in the Amateur Harness Pony Championship. Amateur winners at the Royal Winter Fair last year, Sweetheart Of Success, like many of the Bent Tree ponies, is by Larry Ella’s great Hackney stallion, Mark Of Excellence. Coming from the Ladies division, Oliver Twist and Charlotte Wrather were Reserve Champions. Oliver Twist is out of the same mare as world’s champion road pony Boogity Boogity.

How appropriate is it that a rainbow appeared during Drew Taylor Hewitt’s championship performance with CH Sunken Treasure? This girl has had a charmed week! Here is the final tally for DT’s week: 8 performances, 3 wins, 2 reserves, a third and a fourth (both of these in Amateur Park against the adult riders), and a fifth, which she would come back from to take the Reserve Championship in that division. Peter Doubleday said she was taking a victory pass under the rainbow with CH Sunken Treasure in the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship. Whether or not she found the pot of gold or a leprechaun or Kermit the Frog, this girl can seriously ride a horse. Kelsey Olson made another top catch ride with Mojo for Megan Bush Barrett and the West Wind team to pick up the Reserve Championship. They were winners in the qualifier. This horse looks like another one that would be a blast to ride, with that big front end rocked back in your lap. Katie Koeppel and The Whole Town’s Talking continued a great week for Knollwood in third, while Callaway’s Where There’s A Will, a Knollwood entry last year, was fourth with Dominique Bowlen, now trained by Cater Stables.

With the Five-Gaited Pleasure division split into junior exhibitors and adults, the Adult Championship was second to show. Stefanie Sanchez and CH Stonewall’s Stargate have emerged as one of the top contenders for Five-Gaited Pleasure honors here in 2009. A picture of consistency all throughout the class, Stargate never missed a beat and never backed an ear, as he rolled to the winner’s circle for the West Wind banner. The Harlem Globetrotter gelding, Cool Down Papa, fits owner Kathy Scherer just right. This is a team that has progressed quite nicely through their first season together, really hitting their stride on The Red Mile, taking the Reserve Championship tonight after also placing reserve in the qualifier. Jim and Fay Lowry direct this team. Titleist Right Tonight and Allyson Ehle rode to third in their hingy, rocked back style, while Section Two qualifier winners Just Heavenly and Anitya Marlowe were fourth.

Shannon Ella seems born to drive ponies. She works the ring well in the collected style of the pleasure pony division as well as the speedy road pony ranks. She looks to have a great sense of working a pony’s bridle and always looks to be having a blast at the lines. Tonight she made a repeat trip down victory lane with Mr. Lucky Man for Joe and Patrice O’Brien, Trey Watson, and the Majestic Oaks team. Lauren Mathewson had the well bred Catch Me If You Can up for their third consecutive Reserve Championship in this class. This speedy bay is by Heartland Equality and out of the Dun-Haven Awesome Creation mare, Heartland Sing A Song. Receiving a nice round of applause from the crowd in third was Kentucky Hot Brown with Tyler Miles driving for Holt Oaks Farm. It was a top-notch drive that earned this ovation, not just Mr. Miles’ standing with his adoring young lady fans.

In what looked on paper to be a matchup of the grand bay campaigners that won the qualifier splits, another top horse came in and set the ring ablaze. The last time CH Perfect Vengeance showed in this class, he came away with the tri-color with Kaitlyn Grom aboard in 2006. Three years later, the only thing different would be which Grom girl was in the saddle. It was Tara Grom riding with a vengeance tonight, looking her normal dazzling self in a black formal to match the liver chestnut Pat Shriver gelding with lighter highlights in his tail. Showcasing that big trot, Tara had Perfect Vengeance dialed in to perfection to take the top spot for the Revelation banner. Section Two qualifier winners CF Burn Out and Cindy Siders were Reserve Champions for Rita Wheeler. They were third in this class last year. Cindy Siders seems to be just the right fit for this horse who has not had many different jockeys. Four people total have ever ridden him through the in-gate: John Biggins won two County Fair Championships with him, Renee Biggins won one, and John T. Jones won with him as a junior walk-trot horse. And this is his 11th season in the show ring! The other bay, CH Another Bay, was third for Sara McDonald after winning Section One of the qualifier. CH Kalarama Shiraz and Drew Taylor Hewitt rode hard against the "big kids" to take fourth.

Speaking of grand campaigners, how about Audrey Hepburn putting on a performance for the ages to win the Ladies Three-Gaited Stake? The ageless mare put her ears up, looked through the bridle, and just strutted her way up and down The Red Mile. Each time she would come by, she seemed to get brighter and airier for Dr. Morgan Wolin. It was a good day for Morgan, as she was also crowned USEF Adult Saddle Seat Medal Reserve National Champion in the morning session. Fun trivia fact for our readers: Morgan Wolin and Audrey Hepburn won the Ladies Under 2 class here 10 years ago. And that wasn’t even the first time they showed here together. If you want to talk about longevity in and consistent brilliance in a show career, look no further than this one. Chuck Herbert and Lisa Salomon Uhde made the run to the winner’s circle to greet the Ladies Champion. Melissa Moore looks to have a rising star in Callaway’s Blue Ginger, showing in his first season as a walk-trot horse. A recent purchase of the Hy-Horse Farm, Blue Ginger is bred to be the athlete he is. By Callaway’s Blue Norther, he is out of Callaway’s Twice The Spice, the dam of Callaway’s Karla and Callaway’s Rosemary And Thyme. Twice The Spice is by The Mean Machine and out of the dam of CH Callaway’s Banner Headline, Callaway’s Zerelda (BHF). We can keep going to the third dam, the Yorktown mare, My Sweet Jeannie, also a broodmare hall of famer. This all adds up to a fantastically talented horse and a Reserve Championship tonight.

How many times can you say that Seamair Simply Awesome lives up to his name? Is there a cap on uses of that same description? Because after 18 straight trips to the winner’s circle for this amazing son of Dun-Haven Truly Awesome, the thesaurus is even running out of options! Breathtaking, remarkable, tremendous, those will all work just fine to describe this dynamic Janet Crampton-trained entry. Driven once again by John Wrather, Simply Awesome won his second consecutive Amateur Hackney Pony Championship. Always a class act, especially when showing her ponies, Sandra Surber had Heartland Candidate looking like the reigning Amateur Ladies World’s Champion that he is, taking the reserve tri-color back to Majestic Oaks.

Bred by Hallston Manor, owners of the great Supreme Heir, Hilheiry Duff has come into her own in a big way this year, taking the Junior Three-Gaited division by storm. A beautiful, surreally fine mare, she hinges her neck and looks through the bridle the way artists create a Saddlebred to look. But this one is in the flesh! Her park trot is just that, the epitome of a park trot. Square, lofty, animated, springy, she was the Junior Three-Gaited Champion here tonight with Lisa Strickland once again up for Mimi Bahcall. Third in the UPHA Classic National Championship last year with Mark Utoft, Simply Stella was purchased by Kathy Capsuto-Walker and Paula Schmidt in late spring. After two hard-earned reserves at Midwest in Amateur Ladies competition and a win at Lawrenceburg, Stella and Kathy were up for two reserves this week in the Junior ranks. They keep getting better each and every outing, as they come together as a team. Bred by Deborah Jahn, Simply Stella is out of Deborah’s grand walk-trot mare, CH Sold Out Show, a daughter of CH S.S. Sunday’s Child. Ro & Me’s Lady Godiva received good crowd support in third with Brian Chappell up for Stephanie Peterson. Representing the Saddlebred side of the Wrathers operation, Sea Side was fourth for Janet Crampton.

In his third year showing with Ben Ferreby under the direction of Marilyn Macfarlane, CH New York Style continues to be a shining star in the show ring. This team looks to be on top of their game and peaking at the right time, with just a month to go before the big dance is upon us. The dapper young Ferreby had his 12-year-old Local Hero gelding looking ready to take on all comers in winning the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Championship. In this combined age group Championship with 16 entries, 14 and Under winners Brookhill’s Kool As Ice and Drew Taylor Hewitt were Reserve Champions for Tom, Mickey and Ellie Kangur and the High Caliber team. Bred by the O’Brien family, Kool As Ice is a half brother to CH She’s My Desire BH and CH Brookhill’s King Of Kool, as they are all out of CH It’s A Beautiful Day, a world’s champion pleasure mare herself. Supreme Spotlight was impressive in third with Ashley Bryce up. They were reserve in the younger age group qualifier.

Charlie Jones and Mr.’s Bones rolled to their 14th consecutive win in the Amateur division and 11th victory pass of the year in the Amateur Roadster to Bike Championship. They were locked and loaded tonight to take the tri-color for the second year in a row. But the real question would have to be "What’s with the name?" Is it Mister’s Bones? Where did this come from? We will work on that for Louisville, as Jones and Bones head back to Freedom Hall to defend their Amateur Roadster to Bike world titles. What would Junior League be without a Dedman driving in the road horse division? It was Milward Dedman up for the Reserve Championship here with BJ’s Hail Storm.

Looking even better tonight than he did in winning the Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding qualifier, Our First Class Day TS was his big, powerful self tonight, romping to a unanimous victory in the Junior Five-Gaited Stake with Melinda Moore up for Donna Moore. This big guy followed the money trail all year long last year. After winning the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited title here, he went on to win the ASR National Three-Year-Old Futurity at Louisville, the ASR Three-Year-Old Sweepstakes at the All American Classic, and the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic National Championship at the Royal, netting him nearly $36,000 in prize money last year to go along with the $3,300 he won as the ASR Two-Year-Old Park Pleasure Sweepstakes Champion. The Reserve Champion also received a nice ovation from the Junior League crowd. This was Walterway’s Pardon Me with Merrill Murray showing for Larry Hartsock. Light chestnut with plenty of white, Pardon Me is a full brother to Walterway’s Remember Me. He has wins at Bonnie Blue and Indianapolis Charity to his credit already this year. All Mighty and Jenny Taylor were third for Tim and Martha Shea. This dark bay son of Attache’s Royal Assets was a Reserve World’s Champion in harness last year.

Appearing for the first time on the national stage in her new division, With Style And Grace wowed the crowd and took home a highly competitive Junior Fine Harness class. Shown to the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic National Championship last fall by Robert Gardiner for sister Katherine Hansil, Style And Grace was selected by the Grom family and went home to Revelation Farms under the direction of Mike Richardson. Putting that big front end that put her on the map on display once again, this beautiful mare by Sir William Robert reared way back and strutted to the sky for Richardson. It will be interesting to see which division this gifted mare ends up in, as she has obviously had great success under saddle and now in harness. Pat McConnell had the UPHA Fine Harness Classic Reserve National Champion, MBA’s Royal Shadow Phax, in top form to take reserve for MBA Equestrians. By Attache’s Royal Assets, he is out of CH Cary’s Moonraker, the Bairds’ longtime fine harness star. Generally you don’t get to see half-sibling rivalry in a Junior class, but that was the case here, as Platinum’s Moon Over Pluto was third for Smith Lilly and Platinum Stock Farm. Moon Over Pluto is by Belle Reve’s Renaissance Man and out of none other than CH Cary’s Moonraker. Obviously the MBA connections are fans of the technological advances in embryo transfers, and why wouldn’t they be when they can consistently produce colts like these?

The Amateur Road Pony Championship was another showdown between some of the top ponies in the business. When the dust had settled (though really this is a show that is practically dust-free in the show ring), it was once again Regal’s Trademark LF and Mary Gaylord McClean driving to the winner’s circle for Golden Creek Farm. There are several trends that you might pick up if you were to look at Trademark’s career show results at First of these is that he has won a World’s Championship every year of his career, beginning in 2005 as the Three-Year-Old Hackney Pony World’s Champion with Tom Lowry. The second of these is rather interesting as well. In 2006 he was the Limit Hackney Pony winner here with Jeff McClean, the next year, he won the Hackney Pony Championship. In 2008, he was the Limit Road Pony winner with Mary Gaylord McClean, and here tonight he took the Amateur Road Pony Championship. Also of note is that all three of the main players at Golden Creek have won World’s Championship with this dynamic star. Heartland Victory Maker and Toni Nastali continue to creep closer and closer to that top spot. They were third here last year and Reserve Champions this year under the direction of Rich and Maureen Campbell. Heartland Sundust and Beth Jones were third in this one, while last year’s Reserve Champion Boxford Courageous Spirit was fourth for Charlotte Wrather, wrapping up a rather nice night at Junior League for the team from Texas.

Rain is predicted once again for Saturday night. Hopefully it will be as light as it was tonight. The final night of Lexington Junior League hits the show ring at 7 p.m. How many more times will we get to experience the sights, sounds and smells of Stake Night at The Red Mile? While we all know nothing lasts forever, there are some things that you wish would eternally remain the same. Keep it right here for all of the up to the minute results and the coverage of Lexington Junior League that you can’t get anywhere else!

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