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Lexington Junior League - Monday Night

It was a sultry midsummer night that welcomed the showgoers to the 74th edition of the Lexington Junior League Horse Show. Everyone fell right back into the rhythm of this singularly spectacular event, with the social atmosphere providing the backdrop for some of the best Saddlebred and Hackney competition anywhere in the world. Tonight it was a performance highlighted by some scintillating five-gaited action, with World’s Champions galore in deep and competitive classes.

First among these World’s Champions was the World’s Grand Champion himself, Courageous Lord. Making his second go of the season, Courageous Lord and Merrill Murray collected all three first-place votes for Bill Carrington and Marsha Shepard in the Five-Gaited Gelding Stake. Murray made it look easy as his back number, "123." Winner of this class a year ago as well as the Saturday night finale, "Joe" just continues to look more at ease in his role for Merrill Murray. He never backs an ear as he rolls down the rail. Captivating Charm was reserve in this one for Matt Shiflet and Gaited Inc. A six-year-old bay gelding, Captivating Charm has spent the year coming together with Matt Shiflet. Two weeks ago they were Novice winners at Roanoke. Tonight, on a much bigger stage, they answered the call. Captivating Charm is by Powerful Charm LCC and out of a full sister to George Amos, by Catalyst. J. Crew and Clark Clouse are always up near the top of every class they go in. The high-headed chestnut son of CH War Whoop Two was third for Dr. Tina Mayes. The crowd enjoyed the performance of the fourth-place finisher, Iconium. Karin Lynn Folkers-Smith showed this one for her Windy Hill Farm. Perhaps bred for this track, Iconium hits some spots where he looked like a star in the making. By Worthy’s Prodigy, he is out of a full sister to CH Lex Town.

Another horse making his second show of the year here tonight was also a winner on The Red Mile and in Freedom Hall a year ago. This was Marc Of Charm. Lionel Ferreira would have hit the ring as the final entry anyway, but he looked extra smart tonight, as a low-flying helicopter in the distance at the end of the first straightaway caused a NASCAR-style five-horse pileup between the in-gate and the judges’ stand. Once the riders got untangled and got back to work, there were smiles all around. Ferreira had the Riverdreams entry in top form once again here, asking his young stallion for a bit more than he did at Midwest a few weeks ago. They were the unanimous winners in a performance oozing with charisma. With even more masculine power behind him this year, Marc Of Charm seems to slide and glide across the surface. He was the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited winner here in 2009.An athletic black gelding, The King’s Redemption was reserve for Tre Lee and Bridget McNeese. By CH The King Of Highpoint, he is out of Miss Rio Rita, out of Carol Lynn, the dam of CH According To Lynn and Lynn Williams. Remarkably consistent in his young career, in six trips to the show ring, Lee and King’s Redemption have left the ring with a blue and five reserves, including two Reserve World’s Championships. This was the same one-two finish from last year in the Three-Year-Old class.

Not to be outdone, the ladies came primed and ready in the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare class, with a field of eight that read like a who’s who of the division. The winner of this one knows her way to the Lexington winner’s circle. She was the winner of this class and Ladies Champion in 2008. After a reserve finish in this class last year, CH Callaway’s Born For This turned around and lit it up second way to take the blue with Allison Combs. An entry of Allison and Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie Shires, she is trained by Mercer Springs. This was their seventh straight trip down victory lane, and it came against some of the very best in the business. Second in the class went to Most Definitely Diamonds, with Lisa Strickland taking over the reins once again for Ellyn Dorsey. Dorsey was aboard for an Amateur Ladies Pink Ribbon Championship at Midwest a few weeks back. This daughter of Attache’s Royal Assets has the ability to rock back past vertical and make dramatic passes with her chin tucked neatly to her chest. Reserve in the Amateur Mares class last year, Callaway’s Winning Ways was third for Barclay de Wet and Leatherwood Stud. Asheville’s Ladies Champion, Shez So Delightful, was fourth with Alex Wille-Irmiter putting in a stellar ride for Vicki Reed’s Three Gables LLC. Ladies Champion a year ago, A Dream In Color was fifth with Kate Codeanne in this phenomenally deep class. Divine Asset and Jacqueline Beck were sixth.

Andrew Slater and Fight Night put in perhaps their best performance to date, winning in a shootout of a Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 15-17 qualifier. Andrew Slater held serve for the boy riders in the ring, as four young gents were vying for the top spot, a good number in this group of 11. Owned by Pamela Slater, Fight Night has been right on the brink all year long, and tonight the Kalarama-trained entry put it all together for a hard-earned blue ribbon. The reigning World’s Champion and Midwest Champion last month, Stravinsky was reserve with Brittany McGinnis up for Fish Creek Stables. Stravinsky looks steady as a rock as he cruises down the rail, never backing an ear or putting a foot out of place. Reserve Champion in the Junior Exhibitor Stake last year, Rebel Rooster was third in this one for Mollie Kregor and Kathy Bagdasarian.

The younger kids showed later in the night, as the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 14-and-Under class came in around 9:30. The dynamic duo that set the Red Mile on fire a year ago was back for more in 2010 as CH Sprinkles and Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes were the unanimous winners under the DeLovely banner. World’s Champion of Champions in the 13-and-Under ranks last year, they were also winners at Midwest last month. Making one of their best performances to date, Heirrison Ford and Morgan Billig were a stunning team tonight for Carson Kressley and the Kierson team.

It was another DeLovely team that took the first Lexington blue of 2010, as I’m McDreamy and Hunter Chancellor made a dazzling picture for Steve Chancellor. With her shining white formal coat catching every ray of the late evening sun, Hunter added another top notch show to her collection with this superstar, once again by the unanimous acclaim of the judges. Barnmate The Great Gaspar was second on all three cards with Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes kicking off what would be an outstanding night for the Rainbow Princess Farms. This team is really starting to come together as the show season marches on into July.

Pat Yeatts made her first show on The Red Mile a good one, as she earned the Country Pleasure Driving blue with CH Stevie Nicks for Cherrystone Farm. This was the first trip to the winner’s circle on a great night for Matt Shiflet Stables. We’ll hear more from them later on. Yeatts made a great drive in a big class of 12, with her shiny golden hat making just the right look in the hot sunshine. Anyone who knows Susi Day will know that she, being a huge Stevie Nicks fan, was the registered breeder of this daughter of The Mac Attack. Reserve in this one went to Heads Will Turn, owned and driven by Kris Swanson, co-owner of celebrity stallion Undulata’s Nutcracker. Showing under the direction of Jan Lukens, Swanson and Heads Will Turn have put together a spectacular first half of the show season, with seven blues and now three reserves. Ali DeGray and Harlem’s Worldly Lady were third for Helen and James Rosburg, making a pretty picture as always on The Red Mile.

The Amateur Hackney Pony winner came from the backside of the track, as Seamair Simply Awesome and John Wrather made it three years in a row winning this class. They are also the two-time defending Amateur World’s Champions under the direction of Janet Crampton. Classical Dancer and Kathy Buente were reserve with Lindsay Lavery heading them up.

Where Are We Now and Dr. Brian Garrett were trimmed in red, white and blue silks on this National holiday for the 4th of July celebration. While they almost ran over trainer Mike Brannon in the victory pass, they continued their third season together by winning the Amateur Roadster Under Saddle class for the second straight year. Git-R-Done and Deborah Koning were a speedy reserve for David Crockett.

Ali Judah and Whitney Bennett pulled off an interesting switch of placings between the Amateur Under 2 and the Ladies Over 2 classes. Ali was first in the Amateur and third in the Ladies. Whitney was third in the Amateur and first in the Ladies. Either way you slice it, these two girls can flat ride a horse, and in the Amateur Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under qualifier, it was Hollywood Agent that got the top spot for Judah Saddlebreds and Visser Stables. Sporting her blue ribbon blue formal coat in both classes, Ali Judah put on a show with her Ladies Reserve World’s Champion. By Exalted Effect, the nine-year-old gelding is out of WGC CH Hollywood Excellence. It was a good night for the Hillcroft breeding program, as Hillcroft Claret earned reserve here for Misdee Wrigley Miller and the Kalarama team. Reserve World’s Champions in this division a year ago, Misdee and Claret continue to radiate walk-trot grace and elegance. Whitney Bennett was third here with Lady Avalon for Matt Shiflet.

In the Ladies Three-Gaited Over 15.2 class, Whitney Bennett was all smiles aboard Leatherwood’s All Smiles for Anne Holmes. Putting together a fantastic second second-way trot, Bennett and All Smiles brought home the blue for Matt Shiflet Stables. Suzy Shiflet ran in to head up the winner, as Matt was aboard his entry for the nightcap, the Five-Gaited Gelding Stake. Amy Dix Rock made one of her best shows yet with Majestic’s Jackie O, earning the red ribbon under the Premier Stables banner. Impossibly long-necked and carrying her head in just the right place, this bright chestnut daughter of Simply Majestic was strutting her stuff tonight. Ali Judah was third of course, taking the yellow prize for Dr. Meg Knowles and the Visser crew. Gossip Girl gives the appearance of being all power-packed and punchy, while still measuring Over 15.2. Harlem’s Showman and Beata Flatley-Lilja were fourth for Equielegance Ltd.

Stephany Monteleone brought her UPHA Harness Pony Classic National Champion to The Red Mile and left with the Ladies Harness Pony blue. Trainer Abel Vega headed up the victory pass for this Dun-Haven Regal Attraction daughter. Oliver Twist, Amateur Reserve Champion here a year ago, was reserve for Charlotte Wrather.

By fine harness royalty and out of fine harness royalty, Hillcroft Crown Jewel is indeed another jewel of the Hillcroft Farm program. She was the Ladies Fine Harness winner tonight for Misdee Wrigley Miller. Larry Hodge headed up the winner. Hodge was at the helm for Sweepstakes wins in Crown Jewel’s Three-Year-Old and Four-Year-Old campaigns. She is by Sir William Robert and out of CH Our Canary Diamond, a Ladies harness horse for the ages. This blue ribbon did not come easy, as they had to out-duel the great Lady Vol, winner of the last three Ladies World’s Championships with Chris Kaplan driving for Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery of Mid-Missouri. Winners of 13 in a row coming into tonight, it was this class that proved unlucky, as this very same class in 2008 was the last time this outstanding team had left with anything but top honors. Since Louisville 2007, this event is the only one that they have entered and not won!

Virgil Helm brought the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic National Champion to the winner’s circle in the Junior Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under class, as Re-Energized took top honors for Virgil and Sandy Helm. By one of the Helms’ favorites, Desert’s Supreme Memories, this chestnut mare is out of Callaway’s First Glance, by Caramac. Hollywood Affair and Chris Reiser were reserve for Ed Rhoads. By Madeira’s Caramac, this young mare is out of a Mean Machine daughter. The Undulata’s Nutcracker daughter, Undulata’s Susan McGee, was third with Evan Orr for Jack and Donna Finch. She hit the ring like a house afire but lost a little steam second way in the late-day sun. She looks to be a good one.

Josh Greer once again proved himself to be a top hand with a young road pony, as he garnered all three first place votes in the UPHA Roadster Pony Classic with Heartland Independence. Independence is a slick mover by Heartland High Tech and out of a half sister to Heartland Flirtation and Dun-Haven Truly Impressive. This was the debut performance for this little dynamo. Larry Bacon had the reigning UPHA Road Pony Classic National Champion looking every bit the part in A Dazzling Diva, reserve in this one. Bred and owned by Larry and Barbara Bacon, Dazzling Diva is by Dun-Haven Celebrity and out of an Apollo’s Image daughter.

One of the most decorated road horses of all time, Invincible Summer made his first trip back to The Red Mile since 2002, when he was the Roadster to Bike Champion with Raymond Shively. Tonight it was owner Judy McNeish once again at the helm, earning the unanimous blue in the Roadster to Wagon class. They were World’s Champions as well as Royal Winter Fair National Champions in this division a year ago. Matt T Tup and Deborah Koning were reserve for David Crockett. This is Matt T Tup’s first campaign in the Wagon division, and he has enjoyed a strong season so far.

Diamond’s Show N Off and Joel Brown were the winners in the Hackney Pony Gig class. This was Show N Off’s first trip to the Red Mile since finishing as the Hackney Pony Reserve Champion in 2006. Show N Off is an entry of Joel Brown and Brookside Farm. Truly An Asset and Lanny Judd finished in reserve.

With the whirlwind victory pass of Courageous Lord, the night was over in decent time, allowing the throngs to usher out into the blissfully cooler night. It’s not supposed to get any cooler between now and Friday, so if you’re here, be prepared! And if you’re showing, make sure to hydrate well. You’ll be leaving every last drop on the Red Mile.

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