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Lexington Junior League - Friday Night

One of the many ideas that show manager Kent Moeller had for his first year at the helm of the Lexington Junior League Horse Show was to tap into the social atmosphere of the horse show and get everyone involved in the fun. Working with the Junior Leaguers and Dabora Inc. to put the party together, Moeller had a fantastic idea to have a party right on the apron between the box seats and the grandstands. Everyone wanders about in that area throughout the night, why not capitalize on that and throw a rollicking party for all. The second piece of the puzzle would be how do you get a crowd to stay at the track after the horse show instead of wandering off to the various Lexington late night haunts or just going straight to bed after a long day of horse show? A horse industry phenomenon over the past few years has been the popularity of the band 30 Spokes, fronted by Chad Graham, with guitarist Gabe Deknatel. Whenever this band plays anywhere near a horse show, the venue is absolutely jam packed with horse folk. Well if the crowd always goes to 30 Spokes, why not bring 30 Spokes to the crowd? They were set up on the apron all night long in a roped off area, piquing the interest of those walking by. The crowning glory of Moeller’s genius came during a ring drag, when he had the band blast out a song while Scott Snider drove the tractor around the track. If people didn’t know there was going to be a party before, they certainly did then. To top it all off, as the Ladies Five-Gaited Champion was leaving the ring, 30 Spokes gave organist Gene Wright an early departure, as they provided the soundtrack to the victory pass to kick off their set.

Hundreds of people remained after the session, listening to the band and socializing, with Richfield Video filming and putting up video on the jumbotron and livecasting the entire event! Then another piece fell into place, as trainers started working horses on the track, with what amounted to a lot of free promotion. Bridget Parker is always going to be on the cutting edge of promoting her stallion, My Royale Charm, and whether she planned this part out or not, she got a whole heck of a lot of free publicity from the workout that A.J. Bruwer put him through to the tunes of 30 Spokes. The Midwest Junior Five-Gaited Champion looked unbelievable under the lights tonight. Others started to filter in, with some even hustling out a few sale horses to cash in on the audience. So there was entertainment everywhere you looked on the Red Mile, into the midnight hours. It was a smashing success.

And what would a band be without a dance floor? And what would a dance floor be without a bunch of Shiflets on it? The dancingest clan of horsemen in all the land were out in full force tonight, cutting up the asphalt to the delight of all. Chad Graham got them all riled up, saying that he had counted about 572 Shiflets in attendance tonight, which may have been way closer to accurate than not. The Shiflet family was there on this particular night to honor the king and queen of Shifletdom, Claude and Alice. The grand old man and his wife were out and about among the youngsters, dancing up a storm. Earlier during the session, Claude and Alice Shiflet had been honored by the Lexington Junior League Horse Show for their many years of support and attendance, an honor well deserved by two of the best folks the show horse world has ever known.

As far as horse show highlights are concerned, you will look long and hard before finding a more spectacular class than the Junior Fine Harness Stake here on Friday night. The first direction of this class was the kind where everyone sits up a little straighter, right on the edge of their seats. They watch closer, there are goosebumps on top of goosebumps, as these supremely talented animals give everything they have. The horses in this class could easily be the same ones atop the prizes a month from now in the Junior Fine Harness World’s Championship. As each one entered the ring, you could hear that electric buzz that only comes at Junior League, as everyone elbows their neighbor and says, “Hey look at this one!” Their neighbors might have had bruised ribs by the end of this class, as the great ones just kept coming. Before A.J. Bruwer had a spectacular ride aboard My Royale Charm after the show, he put a striking drive on Kalarama’s New York Lady during it. This drop dead gorgeous black daughter of I’m A New Yorker is out of a The New York Times mare. Her second dam is the grand walk-trot World’s Champion, Lady’s Favorite Event. Reserve World’s Champion in the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Mare Stake a year ago, she was three-year-old winner here on the Red Mile prior to that. Another jet black beauty turned a ton of heads as he came storming into the ring with Nelson Green, master of the fine harness division. This was True Fortune, an entry of longtime customers of Green’s, Frank and Iris James. Sired by Mountainveiw’s Heir To Fortune, True Fortune has that spark about him that screams “show horse.” It is that “look at me” attitude that separates the good ones from the great ones. Debuting with Green tonight, this one has all the makings of a great one.

The connection of Jim and Jenny Taylor with trainers who have primarily dealt with the Arabian breed has been remarkably successful when those trainers want to dabble into the Saddlebred world, think The Da Vinci Code here. While the Stachowskis and Taylors have teamed up well, tonight it was Tim and Marty Shea matching up with Jim and Jenny to set the crowd ablaze with Our Brilliant Belle. Bred by Spencer Mains and sold as a two-year-old, Our Brilliant Belle is by Joe Fabulous and out of a Finally Attached mare. The beautiful blonde up against the dark horses, Brilliant Belle was simply sensational tonight with Jim Taylor at the lines. This was her coming out party, her debutante ball, which makes a lot of sense at a horse show run by the Junior League of Lexington. She was breathtaking, never backing an ear, never taking a step out of place, rocking way back and strutting her stuff. She made a show tonight that those who were in attendance will look back on and get goosebumps just remembering. She was the unanimous choice of the judges tonight with Todd Graham and Jenny Taylor heading her up for the victory pass. Nelson Green and True Fortune came reserve here for Frank and Iris James, repeating the placings from an epic match race at River Ridge that few got to see, as it was the first class of a morning session. Both horses have come miles since then, and there is still a month of work left before Louisville. It will be another epic tilt when these horses get together again. Kalarama’s New York Lady and A.J. Bruwer were striking in third for Three Gables LLC.

A good night for the Siren Song team began in the first class of the night, the Walk-and-Trot Equitation Championship. The crown prince of Siren Song, Scotty Brooks Bruggeworth, continued his dominant show season with Viva Flamenca. Once again a unanimous choice of the judges, Scotty has looked poised and composed every step of the way under the direction of DeLovely Farm, taking his 11th victory pass of the year in a star-studded class. With a Reserve World’s Championship and a World’s Championship to her credit, Payton Lynn Walker qualifies as a star of the walk-and-trot ranks. Teamed up with Believe Her under the direction of Tammy DeVore, Payton has finished no lower than reserve all season long. Taking her first steps out of Academy at the Indianapolis Charity earlier this year, Remi Adams continued her grand year with a third-place prize here. She shows Miss Mheiry Mac for DeLovely Farm. Hallie Ricci capped off the top four with CH Callaway’s Coraleen for Team Kierson.

In the Hackney Pleasure Driving Championship, a spectacular pony who could have very well been the inspiration for the Lexington Junior League logo took top honors. This was Heartland Accolade, who has spent the season collecting accolades with Kay Marschel for the Majestic Oaks banner. They are four for four on the year, sweeping the division at Midwest as well. They were Junior World’s Champions last season, having never been beaten together. Accolade has a mile-long double-hinged neck that compliments his exquisite front end. Extremely Supreme was the Reserve Champion for Lauren Mathewson and the Frickey Farm team. Reserve in the qualifier as well, this marchy pony has three blues and two reserves now with Lauren at the lines. Megan McClure took over driving duties with Heartland Parade Time to finish third. This matched their finish in the World’s Championship a year ago. They took a Freedom Hall victory pass in their qualifier last year.

How many different ways can one write “undefeated in Junior Equitation together?” Courtney McGinnis makes us search the limits of the thesaurus, as she continues her remarkable streak with Kiss Of The Zodiac. With textbook position, Courtney continues to reach the top of every class she enters, winning the Junior Equitation Championship here on the Red Mile for the second straight year. She will look to continue another streak a month from now in Freedom Hall as she seeks her second consecutive Junior World’s Championship. Aleia Brown was rock solid and pushing every step of the way in reserve aboard Undulata’s Time To Shine. The smooth and finished Brown was exceptional on her pattern for the Reserve Championship honors for Cape Cod Farm. Ally McHugh and Rosewood’s Potpourri finished in third for Kierson Farm.

Just short of a Triple Crown a year ago, James Miller and Heir’s Treasure were champions here at Lexington for the second straight year for Hillcroft Farm and the Kalarama training team. Winners by the unanimous acclaim of the judges, Miller and Heir’s Treasure were simply sublime in victory, with the golden burnished chestnut gleaming in the late day sun. Turned out to the hilt, Annika Bruggeworth and Follow The Sun finished as the reserve champions for Siren Song. The jet black Follow The Sun is by How Fortunate and out of a Sultan’s Great Day mare. He has taken a great liking to the harness division, making two dynamic shows here this week. CH Mother Mary and Anita Simpson made a highlining performance in third for Mercer Springs Farm.

Six showed up for the Amateur Harness Pony Championship, with Twin Willow’s Handsome Dan taking a unanimous tricolor drive with Jeff McClean for Golden Creek Farms. With three Louisville wins to his credit, Handsome Dan is by Twin Willow’s McMillan and out of Twin Willow’s Arianna, by Vindicator. The jet black stud pony was hitting a big lick tonight for top honors. Moving up a spot from the qualifier, last year’s World’s Champion of Champions was the Reserve Champion with Karen Waldron at the lines for Bent Tree Farm. The 11-year-old bay mare is as pretty as can be, making a strong showing in reserve for Ella Stables. Third place went to Regal’s Norma Jean LF, an entry of Stephany Monteleone trained by Abel Vega.

The Five-Gaited Pleasure Championships showed back to back, with the junior exhibitors going first. Mojo has had all the mojo in the world on the Red Mile track the last three years. He took the tricolor for the first time tonight, with Allie Wellington guiding him down victory lane for Megan Bush Barrett. West Wind’s spectacular week continued here with the tri-color trip. Mojo has a grand way of setting up high and tight in the bridle. Allie Wellington has teamed him to perfection this week for two wins. Catherine Wheeler overcame a double thrown shoe in the qualifier to come back and take reserve honors in the championship as well with CH Desert Supreme Kid. Champions at Roanoke a few weeks back, Catherine and “Dewey” were twice winners in Freedom Hall in 2010 in their second show together. Third in this big group of 16 went to Millionheir’s Row, with Tyler DeVore putting on a show for Equestrian Investments of Tennessee. Alexis Landreth rode this horse to the Championship at Rock Creek last month. Ashley Stewart and Out Of Reach took fourth for John and Kim Stewart and Cash Lovell Stables.

From the adult ranks, it was a unanimous choice of the judges sending CH Stonewall’s Stargate to the winner’s circle with Stefanie Sanchez up for Sharyn Lackey. Impossibly consistent every time out, Stargate and Sanchez were impressive in victory, trimmed in tricolor to complete the West Wind sweep of the Five-Gaited Pleasure division. The 2009 World’s Champion of Champions appears ready and able to take on all comers in 2011. Cece Hagan made her best show yet aboard Billy Deluxe to earn the reserve championship for DeVore Stables. Just a five-year-old, Billy Deluxe was a star for Tammy DeVore last season in the junior ranks. CH Titleist Right Tonight was working way up high and tight in the bridle again tonight to finish third with Allyson Ehle riding for Bob and Nancy Ehle. That prize went back to the Kierson curtains. Katy Sterba put on a show in fourth with Take It From The Top, a World’s Champion a year ago, for Janet and Jeff Sterba and the Mercer Springs outfit.

Alex Ververeli was reserve twice here a year ago, CH Heartland Victory Maker and Alex Ververeli were unanimous victors here in both classes, taking the championship tricolor tonight for Kierson Farm. Mike Richardson gave him a pat on the leg with the championship cooler as he drove out the gate as the champion. The 13-and-Under Reserve World’s Champion of Champions a year ago, Victory Maker looks to be in top notch form this summer once again. Raymond Shively headed up the reserve champion, as Caroline Rainbolt-Forbes earned that prize with Surprize Surprize for the Rainbow Princess Farms. Madison Pope won third as well as the fictitious AHHS Cutest Kid Ever Award with Ricky Bobby.

The Amateur Three-Gaited Park Champion was a unanimous choice of the judges. It was a breakthrough week for James Sigmon and Brookhill’s Periday, as they earned both Amateur Park wins for Clouse Stables. Reserve champion at the Royal a year ago with Drew Taylor Hewitt, Periday was also the reserve champion here a year ago. The big and rangy bay fits his rider well, hitting a big trot down victory lane. Patrice Watson O’Brien and Sole Heir were reserve for the second time this week. Teamed together since 2008, this was their best week yet together. Tommy Benton was Open Reserve Champion with him at Chattanooga/Cleveland Charity. CH Sue Me made a bigtime show for third with Annika Bruggeworth. Siren Song continues to enjoy their most successful season. Jerry and Cassidy Hutson direct the Siren Song string. Hollywood Electra and Katherine Rainbolt were fourth for the Rainbow Princess Farms.

In the Ladies Three-Gaited Stake, Mr. Center Stage made a dominant performance with Sarah Byers up for B & T Vonderschmitt LLC. A World’s Champion in 2009 with Theresa Vonderschmitt, Center Stage is by Deep Blue and out of a Caramac mare. Showing mostly with Sarah Byers this season, Mr. Center Stage has won his last five outings, taking a unanimous decision here. Impossibly high-headed and fantastically gifted, Mr. Center Stage will be tough to beat as he continues to improve with each trip to the ring. A mare who really loves this track, Hilheiry Duff was the reserve champion with Lisa Strickland up for Mimi Bahcall. Ladies under 2 winner last season and junior champion here in 2009, Hilheiry Duff has all sorts of motion to go with her cute and punchy place in the bridle. After having to take the gate in the qualifier after throwing the same shoe twice, Wee Pee’s Storm came back for third with Ali DeGray aboard for Helen and James Rosburg. I’m Custom Designed and Meredithe Steinhauer are having their best season yet, finishing fourth for Denise Steinhauer and Cape Cod Farm.

McGee Bosworth had a power-packed show with Reedann’s Heir To Glory to win the Junior Exhibitor Park Championship for Allen and McGee Bosworth and High Caliber Stables. She made pass after pass off the rail, declaring her intent to capture the tricolor. Remarkably consistent on this track, Heir To Glory has won prizes here the last two years as well, taking third in both open and amateur competition and now taking top honors in the junior exhibitor division. A real up and comer in this division is Captain Sparrow. Owned and bred by James and Judy Skinner, Captain Sparrow is teamed with their daughter, Caroline, under the direction of Tre Lee. By CH Call Me Ringo, he is out of Caroline’s former partner, Classic Call. Pitch black and just flat beautiful, Captain Sparrow JJS was the reserve champion tonight. Hannah Badgley made a fantastic ride tonight to take third aboard Doubletrees Captivating. Heath Hughes directs this team. CH Ya-Ya and Ashley Bryce were fourth for Bryce Heritage Investments.

On The Mark was just that to win the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship in a hotly contested two-pony class. Karen Waldron was elegant and colorful at the lines of the majestic strutter. A winner at the Royal Winter Fair the past six years, On The Mark was digging in, squatting down and strokin’ down the track tonight to take the tri-color for Bent Tree Farm and Ella Stables. Winner of this class the past three years, Seamair Simply Awesome put up a valiant effort as the Reserve Champion with John Wrather driving for Charlotte Wrather. Trained by Janet Crampton, this pony will be ready for the Big Dance next month when he goes for an incredible fourth straight Amateur World’s Championship.

The Junior Three-Gaited Stake had 10 entries listed on the class sheet that was printed earlier in the day, but only four ended up showing. Rob Byers has a knack for this track, and he showed all that skill and more aboard Undulata’s Dream Team to earn the unanimous tricolor for B & T Vonderschmitt LLC. Dream Team has the classic silhouette of the ideal walk-trot. Sired by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of CH Garland’s Dream, he lives up to that phenomenal pedigree, being just as good in person as he is on paper. Tre Lee was aboard Phicicle to take the reserve championship for John T. Jones and Dr. Gary Shearer. Perfect in the bridle as is Tre’s way, Phicicle is by CH The King Of Highpoint and out of a Phi Slama Jama mare, Phice Cream, hence the name.

Emma Sanchez made another victory pass with Lady Gabriella to take the 13-and-Under split of the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Championship. With 21 scheduled entries between the 13-and-Under and 14-17 divisions, it made sense to keep the four younger age groupers in their own section. This West Wind-trained entry took full advantage, taking the unanimous decision for owner and grandmother, Sharyn Lackey. This is Emma’s first full season cantering, and she has grown by leaps and bounds as a jockey. Keep It Simple and Jennifer Huston have been teamed up for just a couple months, debuting in Walk-and-Trot Pleasure at Asheville. Since then they have shown at one show in the cantering ranks and now own reserve championship honors on the Red Mile. Janet Crampton directed this entry, with Jennifer’s cheering section applauding wildly.

The bigger kids were up next with the 14-17 Show Pleasure Championship. Jessie Wuesthofen and CH Brookhill’s King Of Kool were the big shots in 13-and-Under in 2009, winning the World’s Championship. The next year, however, Jessie aged out of the younger division and had to compete against the older kids. All she’s done since then is win win win. She and King Of Kool have been beaten just once since then, winning 13 times in 14 classes. No matter the competition, this DeLovely team brings back the top prize for Glenn A. Werry Jr. Kerry Jeffries had a very excited cheering team, as yells of “Yay Kerry!” could be heard over and over again as she trotted up to get her reserve championship prize aboard Bi-Mi’s Unforgettable Spirit. An entry of South Ridge Saddlebreds trained by Melissa Moore, Unforgettable Spirit is just a four-year-old, taking a reserve win at Midwest in Junior Show Pleasure. Six years old, Our Queen Of Everything continues to improve with Madison Bartha under the direction of Cape Cod. Third in the qualifier and in the championship, this talented chestnut mare is by CH The King Of Highpoint and out of Princess Nala. Julianna Lowery got a lot of support from her fans, as she placed fourth with O Man Alive for trainers Jimmy and Georgia Morrison.

The Amateur Roadster to Bike Championship was a fast and furious affair, as four top speedsters dashed down the track. Jerry Hutson put Mr’s Bones in the ring tonight in place of the injured Jan Lukens, but it was ol’ Charlie Jones back in the bike. Kenny Wheeler did a grand job as catch driver to win the qualifier, but Charlie was back in town to take top honors tonight in the championship. It’s always fun to count up the wins for Bones and Jones since they broke through to national prominence here in 2008 in this very class. For Mr’s Bones, it is win number 72. Yes. He has taken 72 victory passes since 2008. A remarkable horse, he made a remarkable show tonight. Pressing Bones and Jones every step of the way, Valparaiso made a high style show for Tom Fiedler and Lowry Stables. Longtime stalwart of the road horse division, Fiedler has a good one in Valparaiso. He has the ability to crank it up when the competition reaches a fever pitch, taking the open championship here in 2009. With a Reserve World’s Championship each of the last three years, it seems like the bridesmaid is ready to step up and be the bride for a change. The always entertaining William Shatner came third with Thunderbolt, calling out “WooWooWoo!” as he flew down the rail at speed.

Showman extraordinaire Jack Magill made a top notch ride aboard Finest Hour Spent to top the Junior Five-Gaited Stake for Kenneth and Carol Bryce. The chestnut with a light tail is by I’m A New Yorker and out of A Tad Finer. He flipped the placings from the stallion/gelding class taking the tricolor tonight. Qualifier winner Pass With Care earned the reserve championship with Smith Lilly riding for Janet Sterba. They received a nice sendoff from the Friday night crowd.

Undefeated in the past two seasons, Heartland Dressed To Impress could not have a better name to match his always impeccably attired owner, Misdee Wrigley Miller. Winners of the Amateur Road Pony Championship tonight by a unanimous choice of the judges, Misdee and Dressed To Impress were headed up by Sam Stafford, who drove her to the UPHA Road Pony Classic National Championship last year. This marked Misdee’s third drive behind the sportster, all three of course ending in winning pictures. The ageless CH Heartland Sundust was the reserve champion with Beth Jones doing the driving for trainer Connie Smith. Also reserve in this class a year ago, Sundust simply loves what he does.; always has, always will.

The aforementioned horse whose victory pass was taken to the soundtrack of 30 Spokes was Ladies Five-Gaited Champion Lynn Williams. As this daughter of Top Spool and Carol Lynn moves through her career, it is going to be harder and harder to keep coming up with more superlatives to describe her performances, as she just seems to keep getting better and better. Louisville 2007 as the ASR Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Futurity World’s Champion? Striking. Lexington 2009 as the Five-Gaited Mare winner? Scintillating. Louisville 2010 as the Ladies Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions? Transcendent. Tonight on the Red Mile? Has supercalifragilistic been used yet? She was the unanimous winner. She captured the hearts of the crowd, the impeccably bred, impeccably shown and impeccably trained mare was everything a ladies horse should be and then some tonight. She had to be to top this class of top lady riders and their gaited entries. Reserve champion was none other than CH Callaway’s Born For This, with Allison Combs putting it all on the line for Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie Shires and Mercer Springs Farm. By CH Callaway’s Born To Win and out of a Sultan’s Great Day mare, Born For This has a similar resume to Lynn Williams, having won the 2006 ASR Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Futurity National Championship and a “WCC” title just last year. She is the current Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions. These two will likely miss each other at Louisville once again. Tammy DeVore took up riding duties aboard Kalarama’s Lady Bancroft this week, finishing with a strong top three placing for Equestrian Investments of Tennessee. Sired by Exalted Effect, she is out of Mary Jane Bancroft, by CF First Night Out. CH What’s The Whoopla and Caitlin Leith made a solid performance for fourth, following on their reserve win in the qualifier.

With that, the band kicked up and the Shiflets got to steppin’, dancing the night away with the rest of the horse show enthusiasts in attendance. It couldn’t have been a better setting or more perfect weather for this festive occasion, a phenomenal fit for this Junior League Horse Show.

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