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Lexington Junior League - Monday Evening

It is that time of year again, “Junior League” if you live in the bluegrass, or “Lexington” if you come from out of state. It is a singular event on our horse show calendar, the historical first jewel of the mythical Saddlebred Triple Crown. The week of the year where we all check the weather report just a little bit closer and hope against hope that that black cloud will roll the other direction or maybe just split in two and slide around the storied Red Mile. Whatever the weather will end up being, we can say that the first class started out with a picture perfect setting. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

The first blue ribbon of the week went to CH The Proof Is In The Heir and Alex Rudder. This was the third straight year for this team to open the show with a win for owner David Rudder and trainers Stephanie Sedlacko and Chris Brannan. These two are undefeated together on the Red Mile, having now won all five of their classes in this junior exhibitor three-gaited division. The reserve champion here a year ago and the 13-and-under champion at Midwest just last month, Bubble Bath was all tucked up for Grace McDonell to earn the reserve prize. Trained by High Caliber Stables, Bubble Bath was the World’s Champion of Champions in this division in 2012 with Laura Plant.

Miss Olivia O’Claire was the selection in the Country Pleasure Driving class with Etta Caldwell driving. This was the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Driving winner here last year and recently won this same class at Twin Rivers Benefit for Craig and Kathy Hummel. Trainer Kendall Blue headed up the reserve winner, Mardi Gras Memories. Dr. Randy McBride made the good drive for Neartown Animal Clinic. Mardi Gras Memories is by Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of The Mardi Gras Mambo.

The UPHA Park Pleasure Classic top honors went back to Prospect Lane with I’m A Holiday and Tré Lee. Owned and bred by Pinekrest Farm, I’m A Holiday is by Callaway’s Home For The Holidays and out of Taming Ingrid, by Glider Spirit. This was the debut performance for the chestnut filly. She did well, all hinged up and high in the bridle. Lady Kate was a popular reserve with T.J. Santaferra. An entry of Paula Schmidt and Kathy Capsuto-Walker, Lady Kate is by Sir William Robert and out of Harlem’s Black Orchid. The pretty bay filly was the ASR Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Sweepstakes winner last year. This one is also a homebred product. Jesse West and Cary’s Blue Moon MBA were third for Margo Baird.

The first unanimous decision of the week went to Heartland High Tech and Ali DeGray in the Amateur Hackney Pony class. An entry of Helen Rich, High Tech was headed up by Ruth Gimpel for the round of honor. Ruth was at the lines the past two years as the Hackney Pony Reserve World’s Champion. This was Ali’s first show with High Tech since winning the Ladies Hackney Pony class here in 2010. Kent Swalla headed up the reserve winner, Follow Suit. Linda Quinn drove this one for Stacey Swalla and Gary Dickherber. She was also at the lines as the reserve champion at Midwest Charity last month.

Moonlight Memories continued her winning ways with McGee Bosworth for Pair of Jacks Stables. Another top entry from High Caliber Stables, she was the Junior Five-Gaited Mare winner here just a year ago, where she was selected by the Bosworth family. She would go on to win the Junior Five-Gaited Mare World’s Championship and the Junior Five-Gaited class at the American Royal, a sort of Triple Crown in and of itself. She was the unanimous winner here tonight. Reserve honors went to Kiss Goodnight and Juliette Dell, taking a good prize in this division for 6D Ranch. Trained by DeLovely, Kiss Goodnight is by Callaway’s Northern Kiss and out of a Sultan’s Great Day mare.

Dr. Holly Ackerman took a seventh win in seven trips to the ring this season, riding CH Vivacious to the Amateur Roadster Under Saddle blue under the direction of Gina Lail. They were also the winners of this class a year ago. Chris Bishop was up for reserve aboard V. These two are trained by Shelia Wingler. This is their first season together. They took a victory pass at Dallas Summer Classic already this season.

With an awesome go, Elizabeth Ververeli was the victor in the Amateur Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under qualifier for the second year in a row aboard Re-Energized. The entry of Kathleen and Elizabeth Ververeli is solid chestnut with not a speck of white on her. Elizabeth’s dark green formal coat helps spruce up the picture, with the blue ribbon adding just the right touch. Jenn Katko was up for the reserve honors aboard Callaway’s Count Your Blessings. Ladies champions at Tampa Charity to start the year, this Judd Stables-trained team has earned strong reserves at Pro-Am and Asheville as well, taking on all of the best competition.

Six long-tails park trotted to the ring for the Ladies Harness Pony class, decorating the ring nicely with a good group. Last Call was the unanimous winner in this one, as Mary Gaylord McClean drove to the winner’s circle, headed up by Jeff McClean and Tom Lowry. This was the fourth year in a row for Mary and Last Call to win this class. Ali DeGray continued her good night with a reserve prize at the lines of Mr. Brightside. Another entry of Helen Rich, trained by Ruth Gimpel, Mr. Brightside is a bright bay with lots of chrome.

Peter Cowart and Deputy’s Heir put on a good show tonight for Travis and Lisa Blackwelder to top the Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class. The Novice Five-Gaited winner at Midwest Charity in a tough class there, Deputy’s Heir is by Roseridge Deputy and out of Callaway’s By Invitation Only, by Blue Norther. Mike Tunstall had another good young horse in Callaway’s There’s No Stopping Us. Showing for Lowry Stables, with Captain Jim still recovering from his injury, Tunstall made a good catch ride for Inspiration Ventures. This is a first foray into the Saddlebred world for Nate and Krista Headley. No Stopping Us is by Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of the Broodmare Hall of Fame mare, Callaway’s Carousel making him a full brother to World’s Champion Callaway’s Bluesman.

Todd Miles made his first trip to the winner’s circle on the week, heading up CH HS Dignitary and Courtney McGinnis as the winners of the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park class for Fish Creek Stables. By Sir William Robert and out of the Broodmare Hall of Fame mare, A Daydream Believer, Dignitary has been the Champion at all three shows he has been to this year. Also by Sir William Robert, CH Let’s Talk was reserve here with McGee Bosworth up for Pair of Jacks Stables. Trained by High Caliber, Let’s Talk has won the qualifier at the four other horse shows he has been to this year, ASAC Spring Classic, J.D. Massey, Asheville, and Midwest. He was the Champion here a year ago. Always popular, Blake Crim was third aboard CH High Hear for Steve Myers and trainer Tammy DeVore in this group of 15 entries.

Steve Buttleman delighted the kids in attendance by sounding the call with “Let It Go.” That was his call for the Ladies Fine Harness class, which saw Alde-Mar’s Crystal Pistol take the top call with owner and breeder Janet Kellett at the lines. Headed up by Hoppy Bennett, Crystal Pistol is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of yet another Broodmare Hall of Fame mare, CH Crystal Illusion. The Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding winner here a year ago made a top-notch victory pass in this one. Looking every bit the ladies horse, Kalarama’s New York Lady was the reserve winner with Vicki Reed driving under the direction of A.J. Bruwer. These two earned the Amateur Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title in 2013.

Even with just two horses, the Junior Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under was a talented affair. Owned and shown by Merrill Murray, Roselane’s Dancing For Dollars was the winner. Dancing For Dollars is an impressive chestnut daughter of Dancing Man and out of Miss Moriarty, by For What It’s Worth. She has already earned herself plenty of hay and grain by winning the All American Three-Year-Old Cup last year, taking a check for $36,500. Tommy Benton and Revere were reserve winners for Dr. Cheryl Tilghman. The Junior winner at Chattanooga, Revere is by Revival and out of Living It Up, a half sister to Gothic Revival.

Robin McGahey was thrilled with his win at the lines of Stedmen in the Limit Hackney Pony class. Back to back wins came here on Monday night for owner/trainers. The punched up pony was also a winner at Syracuse International and Greater Boston. Kent Swalla was at the lines of Extremely Invincible for the reserve prize for Stacey Swalla.

Lynn Williams has long had success on this track and tonight was no exception. Mary Gaylord McClean took another round of honor in this session aboard the striking bay mare, winning the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare class in unanimous fashion for Golden Creek Farms. Rob Byers headed up the victory pass. This was the fourth year in a row for Lynn Williams to take a victory pass here. She and Byers won the Five-Gaited Mare Stake here last season. Tango Mango racked up a storm as always for Kristen Bagdasarian in reserve. The quick chestnut mare is by Dorian Warriors Song and out of Callaway’s Spring Fever.

More To Come continued an undefeated campaign with Raymond Shively, though they were unopposed in the Roadster to Wagon class. They were Wagon Champions at Midwest Charity as well.

The High Caliber crew was delighted once again, this time with Allie Poovey’s ride aboard Callaway’s Gabriel in the 13-and-Under Five-Gaited class. Owned by Todd and Margaret Poovey, Gabriel swept this division at Midwest Charity last month. Emily Candelaria followed up on her good rides from a year ago, taking the red ribbon here for Barbara Woods aboard Walterway’s Pardon Me. . Famously by Star Material and out of Broodmare Hall of Famer Yorktown’s Forget-Me-Not, Pardon Me was the Ladies National Champion last year.

Limit Road Pony was one of the most competitive classes of the night, with eight entries vying for top honors. Jeff McClean got the top call here with Regal’s Night Shadow LF for Golden Creek Farms. The Junior World’s Champion of Champions a year ago, this one looks to be the County Fair contender for Golden Creek this year. Dun-Haven Awesome Attraction was up for reserve with Holli Hayes at the lines for Denise Steinhauer. These two earned the Limit blue at Midwest Charity, while Meredithe Steinhauer drove to two blues at Bonnie Blue.

Jacqueline Manzo is no stranger to the walk-trot winner’s circle. She guided Sirtainly Stylish to a unanimous win in the Ladies Three-Gaited Over 15.2 class under the direction of Nelson Green. Sired by Sir William Robert and out of an Attache’s Thunderbolt mare, Sirtainly Stylish was the Amateur Champion at Lawrenceburg a couple weeks back. Just a four-year-old, he was ridden by Nelson Green to a Junior win at Asheville in May. Maria Gilman took the red ribbon back to Judd Stables for Marla Thompson, as she rode Callaway’s Ladies Choice to that prize. This is the first year for the Callaway’s The Gipper x Callaway’s I’m A Lady Too to show in the walk-trot division, having been a Park horse previously. Leatherwood’s All Smiles and Stephanie Sedlacko made a good show in third for Denese Patch.

The Monday night showcapper was once again the Five-Gaited Gelding Stake. Matthew Shiflet won it for the second year in a row, this time with Roselane’s Angelo. Winner a year ago with Honey Badger, Matt had the seven-year-old chestnut gelding Angelo in top form tonight for the win. Owned by Don and Phyllis Brookshire, Angelo is by Buck’s Co-Star and out of Angela Lane, by Prize Contender. You can certainly see the Prize Contender influence written all over his handsome look. Redd Crabtree rode hard for reserve aboard Epic Hero for owner Martin Gueldner, represented by the German flag flying over the infield boxes. Redd reprised his rides from Rock Creek, where he was twice a winner with Epic Hero, including the Five-Gaited Championship. Mike Tunstall finished out a good night in third with Reedann’s Liar’s Club for Dr. Alan Raun.

The weather held off, with just a pretty lightning storm decorating the horizon. Tomorrow holds no promise for good weather, but show manager Kent Moeller’s crew was hard at work digging their trenches in preparation for any and all inclement weather. Check ReporTV tomorrow to see our interview with Kent and ASHA Vice President Bob Funkhouser!

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