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Lexington Junior League - Monday Night

After a week of almost non-stop rain in the Bluegrass, it was a sunshiny night on The Red Mile that welcomed exhibitors and even more spectators to the 77th Lexington Junior League Horse Show. Perhaps it was Junior League’s guardian angel, the recently passed Jim LaHood, who parted the clouds to dry out the footing that Jim worked so hard for so many years to perfect. The longtime manager of this summer classic, Jim will be sorely missed by all who knew him. A creative and innovative horse show manager, he was responsible for the terrace boxes that provide the backdrop for this horse show, enclosing the ring and giving it an even greater feel. He thought outside the box. 

Current Lexington Junior League Show Manager Kent Moeller is one person that is extremely thankful for LaHood.

"Jim LaHood was like a second father to me. He gave me my start with the red coat when he hired me for my first time as a ringmaster at Big E. I flew from California for the Saddlebred show and then flew back in for the draft horses that first year," said Moeller.

"Fourteen years ago, he brought me into Lexington Junior League to be the behind the scenes guy. That first year, we had a fine harness accident that took out the rail at the in gate. I worked with Jim to rebuild it and I've been here ever since."

"I was fortunate to work under a lot of great managers over the years and I've taken pieces from all of them as a part of my management style. What I learned most from Jim was how to say no professionally and how to stand behind my decisions. As I made more decisions, Jim always stood behind me, even when he didn't necessarily agree with my decision."

His presence will always be felt here at Junior League.

The show opened tonight with youth being served, as Alex Rudder took the 13-and-Under Three-Gaited class for the second year in a row aboard The Proof Is In The Heir. An entry of David Rudder, this Supreme Heir son is trained by Stephanie Sedlacko and Chris Brannan at Wingswept Farm. Unanimous winner Alex was interviewed for ReporTV after the show and was remarkably impressive in her maturity and composure in fielding the questions asked. Maisie Benfield and Size Me Up debuted in their new division, getting a haircut (the horse not the rider) to show here to reserve. They were Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park winners at Rock Creek last month.

Alex’s good friend Sallie Mason Wheeler won the other half of 13-and-Under competition, taking that Five-Gaited class with CH Callaway’s Born For This. It was a repeat win for the mare but not the rider, as it was sister Catherine Wheeler aboard a year ago for this same victory pass. An entry of Ceil and Kenny Wheeler, Born For This is trained by Mercer Springs Farm. This gray daughter of CH Callaway’s Born To Win has always loved this track, winning here in 2008 and 2010 as well as taking reserves in 2009 and 2011. It was another gray horse in reserve, as Olivia Schumacher earned herself a lot of applause aboard CH Heirrison Ford. Ford is owned by Lorraine Schumacher and trained by Mike and Jessie Richardson. These two horses are linked by more than just their coloring, they are both longtime show ring stars, having each won the ASR National Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Futurity as youngsters at Louisville.

Double Or Nuttin’ started the week out right for Lowry Stables, driven to the unanimous Country Pleasure Driving win by Priscilla Marconi. Another horse that likes this track (which will be a theme this week), this big, bay son of Undulata’s Nutcracker is out of Beat The Odds, dam of CH His Supreme Reflection. He was a Two-Year-Old Fine Harness winner here in 2009. This team is undefeated on the season, sweeping six out of six at Bridlespur MHSA Kick Off, Indianapolis Charity, and Midwest Charity. The Wingswept team started out their trip to The Red Mile with back to back classes. Bungalow Bill and Molly Steinkamp earned the red ribbon here for Jane Steinkamp. This one is bred to wear a harness. He is by CH Great Day’s Came The Son and out of CH Eleanor Rigby, both World’s Champions in Fine Harness.

It was a third straight unanimous decision for judges Chuck Herbert, Gene van der Walt and James Nichols, as they selected Dark Vanilla as the winner of the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic. Shown to two wins earlier this year by trainer Nelson Green, it was Megan McClure getting the catch ride tonight for Barbara Hendrickson. Wanting a smaller rider for the horse, Nelson asked Megan to come out and ride the Designed daughter after Shelby County Fair. It worked out well, as a somewhat stunned Megan rode to the Lexington winner’s circle she has so often visited herself. Grand Gesture and Smith Lilly were reserve for Jody Malcolm. This bright chestnut with a ton of white is by Undulata’s Heir Apparent and out of Sugar Pie Honey, by Attache’s Thunderbolt. They were winners earlier this year at Bonnie Blue. Sugar Pie Honey is a full sister to World’s Champion Line Of Thunder and a half sister to World’s Champions Safecracker and Nutorious. Second dam Heir Spray should certainly have her “BHF” attached to the end of her name!

Two top entries and two top gentlemen showed in the Amateur Hackney Pony class, with John Wrather and Seamair Simply Awesome coming out as the winners. And why not? This is the sixth year in a row for these two to take this very same victory pass for Charlotte Wrather and trainer Janet Crampton. They are also the five-time defending Amateur Gentlemen’s Hackney Pony World’s Champions. Last year’s Junior Hackney Pony World’s Champion of Champions, Heartland Whirlwind was reserve here with Jeff McClean driving for the Golden Creek Farms. Whirlwind is by Heartland Equality and out of a Dun-Haven Bandolier mare.

It was a knockout of a class in the 14-17 Five-Gaited qualifier, with CH Callaway’s Born To Win siring both of the junior exhibitor gaited winners on the night. In this one, it was the electrifying Callaway’s Born To Ride ridden down victory lane by Camille Cowart. The West Wind team earned this prize for the second straight a year, seemingly a theme here on Monday night. They would go on to claim a 14-17 Reserve World’s Championship last year, setting themselves up once again for high honors in the coming months. A World’s Champion and the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions in 2012, CH I’m Something Wicked was our reserve winner in this great class. McGee Bosworth showed with her usual style and flair for the High Caliber banner and Pair Of Jacks Stables LLC. They have four wins on the year already, sweeping the division at Raleigh Spring Premier and J.D. Massey Classic. Ashlyn’s Voodoo Charm and Eleanor Rainbolt Forbes were third, followed by Callaway’s Can’t You See and Abby Mutrux in fourth.

Dr. Holly Ackerman and Vivacious showed here together for the first time in 2005. They won their first Lexington blue in 2006 as the Amateur Ladies Roadster to Bike victors. They added a fourth title on The Red Mile tonight, winning the Amateur Roadster Under Saddle blue, with Holly sporting a huge smile aboard the black mare. Bullet Gabe and Brooke Schafer were up for reserve. Bullet Gabe was the Novice Roadster to Bike winner here in 2011.

Elizabeth Ververeli earned Kierson Farm their first victory pass of the week, taking a unanimous round of honor aboard Re-Energized. The solid chestnut daughter of Desert’s Supreme Memories is out of a Caramac mare. She and “EV” were in top form tonight, as proud mom Kathleen and somewhat proud little brother Alex cheered them on. A Silver Charm and Alexis Braswell continued a good night for West Wind in reserve for Little Cahaba Properties. A Reserve World’s Champion in this class in 2010 and 2011, A Silver Charm has those ears that almost touch at the tips, wearing them every step of the way.

First of two entries named “Last Call” to win on the night (the second year in a row this has happened by the way) was the Ladies Harness Pony winner for the third straight time. Mary Gaylord McClean made the drive once again for Golden Creek Farms. Undefeated on the season and dating back to Louisville last year, Last Call was the Kentucky County Fair Grand Champion and Amateur Ladies Harness Pony World’s Champion in 2012. While we are at it, we will make it three years in a row for Major Impact and Karen Frickey to earn the reserve prize in this class for Frickey Farms. Major Impact was the Four-Year-Old Harness Pony World’s Champion in 2010.

With a ton of quality, Kalarama’s Mr. All American was the Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding winner in unanimous style for Matt Shiflet and Gaited Inc. Sired by Harlem Globetrotter and out of a Caramac mare, Mr. All American was obviously bred to do this job. He was quite successful as a Park Pleasure horse last season with Daniel Lockhart, earning the Reserve World’s Championship in the ASR National Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Futurity. Now racking up a storm, he was a Monday night star on The Red Mile. Also a Reserve World’s Champion in a National Futurity last year, Beaucoup Of Blues was the reserve winner tonight. He and Robert Gardiner were reserve in the gaited futurity last season for owner and sister Katherine Hansil. This chestnut with a lot of white is by CH Call Me Ringo and out of Make It Magic, the dam of World’s Champion A Dream In Color.

It was a top group that came to the ring for the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Park class. ReporTV star Hallie Sansbury was the big winner here with CH Reedann’s Heir To Glory. An entry of grandmother Patricia Dozier, Heir To Glory was the Junior Exhibitor Park Champion here just a year ago for Cape Cod. Hallie was aboard for that win as well. In an interesting twist, this bold chestnut gelding was the Junior Exhibitor Park Champion here in 2011 as well, but with McGee Bosworth aboard. McGee was up for reserve tonight with her teammate CH Let’s Talk. The reigning Junior Exhibitor World’s Champion of Champions, this team has started out strong again this season with wins and reserves at J.D. Massey Classic and Asheville. Trained by High Caliber, Let’s Talk is owned by Pair Of Jacks Stables. Tia Margarita and Alexandra Percoco were third for Jayne Romano, with CH Master And Commander fourth with Hannah Houske.

Steel The Moment and Linda Beltz won the Ladies Fine Harness class for the second time in the last three years, taking the blue ribbon round of honor under the direction of Nelson Green. Co-owned with husband Dr. Homer Beltz, Steel The Moment was the Amateur Ladies Fine Harness Reserve World’s Champion last season. Mary Gaylord McClean and Costa Nostra were the reserve winners for Golden Creek Farms. Trained by Melissa Moore, Costa Nostra was the Ladies Fine Harness winner at Rock Creek with Melissa at the lines. A year ago, he earned the Junior Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding World’s Championship.

The Junior Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under was the Undulata’s Nutcracker Invitational, as both entries were sired by Nutcracker. We certainly aren’t talking about any two slouches here either, as one was the ASR National Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Futurity World’s Champion and the other was the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Champion last year in Freedom Hall. It was Reserve World’s Grand Champion HS Daydream’s Heads Up taking top honors tonight, with Tre Lee riding for Hagan Saddlebreds. He is out of the mare that will go down as one of the greatest producer of World’s Champions of all time, A Daydream Believer. Nutter Butter and Rob Byers earned reserve for Sally Groub Gayeski. Nutter Butter is out of Reserve World’s Champion Aisling’s Treasure.

Matt Schuckert was the winner in the Limit Hackney Pony class, debuting Craycroft Matador to the blue for Dr. Mark Hyatt. Matador is by Dun-Haven Crimson Glory and out of Heartland Red Rose.

Perhaps with a little to do with the addition of the Ladies Amateur division this year, there were just two in the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare division. The Ladies Champion here a year ago, Tango Mango was the winner in this one for owner and trainer Maria Gilman. While it was Maria riding a year ago, tonight it was Kelsey Olson aboard, as she has taken over the reins this season. Angelina Charm and Sarah M   acKenna, Ladies Champions at Rock Creek this year, were reserve for Darrell and Irene Crosswhite.

The second half of the “Last Call Daily Double” was the winner of the Roadster to Wagon class. The Last Call and Raymond Shively took the top prize for Judy McNeish, who drove him to the Roadster to Wagon Championship here a year ago. A Reserve World’s Champion in this division a year ago, Matt T Tup was reserve tonight as well for driver Shelby Young and owner David Crockett.

Also the Limit Road Pony winner at Midwest last month, Sir Oak’s Sirfistication was the winner of that same class here on The Red Mile with Patrice Watson O’Brien driving for Joe and Patrice O’Brien. Trained by Majestic Oaks, Sirfistication is in his first campaign as a road pony since he was a junior entry in 2009. Last year’s Four-Year-Old Road Pony World’s Champion, Mastercraft’s Forecaster LF, was reserve in this one with Tom Lowry in the bike for Golden Creek Farms. Road Pony Champion at Shelby County Fair, this looks to possibly be the Golden Creek entry for the County Fair Championship this year.

Ladies Three-Gaited Over 15.2 was a spectacularly deep class of four. Randy Cates has a horse that really loves these long straightaways in Buckles Boots N Spurs. Reserve here a year ago in 14-17 Three-Gaited and the 14-17 Champion in 2010 with owner Kelly Cooke, Buckles Boots N Spurs took another victory pass tonight, this time with assistant trainer Hannah Teutsch aboard for the ride. Reserve honors went to the beautiful black mare, Brookhill’s Glam Slam. Elizabeth Ghareeb put on a great show for the Grey Ridge Farm team. Ladies Champions at Gasparilla, Madison, and River Ridge, this is their first full season together as a team.

While any investor will tell you that past performance does not indicate future returns, the last five winners of the gelding stake here have been Bravo Blue, Courageous Lord, Courageous Lord, Courageous Lord, and Breaking News.

Having just helped bring yet another Shiflet into the world, first-time sire Matthew Shiflet made a winning ride in that Five-Gaited Gelding Stake tonight. Showmanship is not lost on young Matthew, as he waited out the other entries for the final slot to enter the ring. The crowd responded, and Honey Badger delivered another grand performance. The Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding winner here a year ago, he has himself firmly in the discussion of Saturday night contenders heading into the big house next month. Todd Graham and Stewie Griffin are an always consistent team that seems to figure into the top prizes everywhere they go. Tonight was no different, as they took reserve in this nice-sized class for Tannehill Farms.

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