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Lexington Junior League - Thursday Night

One of the changes implemented by show manager Kent Moeller in the first year of what will surely be a long tenure was making Thursday night a UPHA night of sorts. All of the Three-Year-Old classes here have traditionally just been open events. Kent switched those over to UPHA Classics, a move that simply makes sense, and also provided a spot in the program for the UPHA to induct a new member into its Hall of Fame. Tonight it was Rob and Jackie Tanner that received their Hall of Fame blazers. A deserving pair for certain, the Tanners have produced a litany of World’s Champions, specializing in the young horses, especially since their move to Kentucky. Rob’s daughter Dena and her husband Dave and daughter Alyssa joined Rob and Jackie in the ring, as UPHA President Bret Day presented them with their blazers.

The most pleasant night of the week so far came at a great time, as the fashion starts to get stepped up a notch at the Lexington Junior League Horse and Fashion Show. It was Pink Ribbon night on the Red Mile tonight, with all of the Junior Leaguers turned out in their pink t-shirts to support the UPHA Pink Ribbon Program, also a UPHA event here on Thursday.

On a heavenly night, it seemed fitting that I’m In Heaven would set the track on fire with his simply sensational season debut as the unanimous winner of the UPHA Fine Harness Classic. I’m In Heaven has been heavenly for his owners, winning $13,000 as the ASR Kentucky Weanling Futurity World’s Champion and then two years later taking a purse of $10,000 as the ASR Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity World’s Champion. And why wouldn’t he be an undefeated superstar? He is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Nancy Leigh Fisher’s phenomenal walk-trot World’s Champion Heavenly Thunder. Strong and balanced with phenomenal timing, especially for a young horse, I’m In Heaven looks ready to take them all on once again in Freedom Hall in search of his third Futurity World’s Championship. Another young stallion making waves, Callaway’s Guy Park sired the reserve winner, Park And Ride. Todd Graham has had much success with Guy Park offspring over the past few years. This one is owned by Pinekrest Farm. His second dam is a full sister to the great World’s Champion Face Card.

Unicorns, the judges loved them in the Concours D’Elegance, sending the Misdee Wrigley Miller team off with the top honors. The team of Dutch Harness Horses from Hillcroft Farm took their second victory pass in as many days, arranged tonight in a unicorn hitch. The team of Hackney Ponies drove three-abreast for Joel Brown to take reserve.

The Two-Year-Old Fine Harness class was more of an endurance event, with the young horses going round and round the Red Mile. Surviving to take the blue was WS Call Me Catty. Gerhardt Roos made the drive for David Nierenberg. Sired by Catalyst, Call Me Catty is out of Callaway’s Courtesy Call, by Callaway’s Main Man. Also debuting tonight was Brookhill’s Fame, taking reserve. Melissa Moore guided him through his show ring debut for Larry Nunley. This one is very much a product of the Brookhill program of the O’Briens. He is by their Harlem Town heir, Brookhill’s Apollon, and out of She Be Jammin’, a favorite show ring partner of Tim O’Brien. Off The Charts and Matt Lightner finished in third for Mercer Springs Farm.

It’s All About George in the Pleasure Driving division right now, as Debbie Seedorf Owens once again took aim at the winner’s circle and connected for the tri-color. She made a consistent and clean drive for trainers Randy and Denessa Harper. Excited winner of the qualifier on Tuesday morning, Debbie was calm and cool tonight on her trip down victory lane. Eddie Norris got the approval of the crowd when he was called out for the reserve championship with American Art. Trained by Jack Magill, American Art was a reserve champion for the second show in a row. That class at Midwest completed their Louisville qualifying in this new division. The reigning World’s Champion of Champions was third here as CH A Cinderella Story and Karrie Graham left with the yellow streamers. Also taking on a new division this year, Cherished King was fourth with Virginia Stanley driving for Payton Walker.

The Three-Gaited Pony Champion was a unanimous choice of the judges. Powerful Tango was the winning entry here, as Dominique Bowlen made yet another consistently brilliant performance with the bold, square-stepping pony. Every bit a kids’ horse, Powerful Tango never seems to take a step out of line, a testament to the Cater Stables training team and Dominique’s skill with her teammate. Sallie Mason Wheeler got one of those rare moments that will last a lifetime, being sent out as the Reserve Champion with a loud ovation from the crowd. An entry of Ceil and Kenny Wheeler, Amelia Heir Cat will always have the “cute factor” working with Sallie Mason, but tonight they really put on a show to take reserve and the hearts of the fans in the stands.

Heartland Code Breaker is a superstar in the making for Darrel Kolkman and the Heartland Hackney Farm. Tight in the bridle with a huge wheelbase from behind, Code Breaker matches that hind end with motion to burn in front. Undefeated in his two years in the show ring, Code Breaker is by Heartland Code Of Honor and out of Heartland Just A Star, by Heartland Victory. I’m A Celebrity and Randy Harper made their show ring debut to take reserve for Karen Frickey. By Dun-Haven Celebrity, he is out of a Mark Of Excellence mare.

Making a simply spectacular performance, Xanthos used a second second-way trot to his advantage and topped a group of 20 in the 36-and-Over Show Pleasure class. Not only was Melody Adler the winning rider for Aurora Farms, she did with the support of all three judges. This team has come on remarkably strong all year long, winning twice at Rock Creek and finishing off their Louisville qualifying at Shelby County Fair and Lawrenceburg. With the Louisville entries done, it’s all about the ride now, and Melody put on a phenomenal one to take the blue, with Xanthos moving happy and smooth through the heavy traffic, never dropping an ear. A champion at River Ridge and Roanoke, Santa Ana Wind was reserve tonight for Stacey Halloran and Gaited Inc. Trained by Matt Shiflet Stables, Santa Ana Wind and Stacey have been teamed up for two seasons now, enjoying much success all over the Carolinas and Virginia. Tonight they took their game to the Bluegrass and came away with the red streamers in a deep and competitive class. The Stachowskis have done it again, bringing out an unshown, unknown horse and taking him to national notoriety. This most recent one is Rob New York. Shawn Stachowski did the honors tonight aboard the Sir William Robert gelding out of A Lady At Heart, by I’m A New Yorker. Bred by Nash Farms, Rob New York has been a part of the Stachowski fold since he was a yearling. The white ribbon went to Kalarama’s Superior, Reserve World’s Champion in the ASR Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity in 2008. Ann Marie Brickzen is the owner and rider under the direction of Rob and Sarah Byers.

Making a habit of taking down the big kids, CH Sprinkles and Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes did it again tonight to take the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Championship for the Rainbow Princess Farms. The inimitable spotted mare was the unanimous winner tonight, busting pass after pass off the rail and staying out of trouble in the class of 14. Tonight marks this team’s 20th win together in 24 trips to the ring. It is a remarkable record, and they have earned every bit of it. Reserve in the 14-17 class on Monday night, Fight Night was the reserve champion here with Andrew Slater aboard for Pamela Slater. Famously the winner of the 14-17 World’s Championship in a hotly contested workout a year ago, Fight Night was consistent as could be tonight to take reserve honors. Clark Clouse had his summer intern Drew Taylor Hewitt aboard Callaway’s Eight Below to earn top three honors for Harold Denton Jr. They were also third in the 14-17 qualifier. Jessica Cloud made a good show in fourth aboard Stonecroft Rumor Has It. This is just the third show together for this Jack Magill-trained team.

The UPHA Road Pony Classic featured a fantastic performance by Regal’s Promoter LF. Mature in style, structure, and show ring experience, Promoter was driven by Mary McClean for Golden Creek Farms. Sired by Dun-Haven Regal Attraction and out of a Canterbury Conqueror mare, Promoter was the Three-Year-Old Road Pony World’s Champion a year ago with Tom Lowry. Shannon Ella, showing for the first time out of junior exhibitor,  debuted Smokin’ Aces to reserve for Ella Stables and Kathryn Boyd. Sired by Mark Of Excellence, Smokin’ Aces is out of a Vivid Brass mare.

No stranger to the 18-35 Show Pleasure class on the Red Mile, Piper Granger Bordegon was the winner tonight aboard Undulata’s Fashion Plate. Piper (then just Granger) was aboard her most famous partner, CH Uncle Abe, to win this same class in 2005 and 2007. They were reserve in 2006 but went on to win the championship that year. Now teamed up with Fashion Plate, Piper won her debut with her new teammate at River Ridge under the direction of Shelley Fisher. A phenomenal performer, Fashion Plate is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Broodmare Hall of Famer Riva’s Fashion Spirit. Rachel Machamer made perhaps her best ride yet aboard I’m The One With The Roses to pick up the reserve prize. Owned by Shannon Sewell and trained by Derrick Westbrook and Visser Stables, I’m The One With the Roses was a winner at Shelby County Fair a few weeks ago. Wade Giles made a spectacular show with Undulata’s Nuts And Bolts to take third under the direction of Jannie Giles, no relation. By Undulata’s Nutcracker, Nuts And Bolts is out of the great CH Madame Machine. Emily Scharpf continued her first season with her Believe’n, directed by Knollwood Farm, with a white ribbon ride.

A star-studded group showed up for the 13-and-Under Three-Gaited Championship. Coming back from a third place finish in their qualifier, Molly Codeanne and Callaway’s Born With Style lived up to both of their grand pedigrees to take the tri-color back to Cater Stables for Cedarledge Farm. David Cater was pleased as could be with his young rider, who made her best show of her life with the talented mare. HS Dignitary and Courtney McGinnis were reserve for the second time this week for Fish Creek Stables and DeLovely. Champions at Asheville, Midwest, and Pro-Am, Dignitary is by Sir William Robert and out of Broodmare Hall of Famer A Daydream Believer. Junior Fine Harness World’s Champion of Champions and Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion the year before, Dignitary continues to impress in his five-year-old campaign. Emma Sanchez also improved in the cool evening air, taking third with CH Heathermoor’s Prince for Sharyn Lackey. West Wind’s great week on the Red Mile continued with the yellow streamers here. Gabe Deknatel rode this wildly entertaining gelding to a Louisville blue in the Amateur Gentlemen’s ranks in 2010.

The Coaching Four In Hand was a solo exhibition by the Hillcroft Farm entry. James Miller was the driver tonight, with Misdee Wrigley Miller as his co-pilot. Announcer Peter Doubleday announced their passengers as a carriage full of redheads. The Junior League ladies came out to present flowers to Misdee for her support of Pink Ribbon Night. James forgot the tri-color after the presentation, but ringmaster John Franzreb was able to make an NFL-quality handoff to one of the coachmen on the back as they made their victory pass.

In the Five-Gaited Pony Stake, the crowd saluted the champion with a nice ovation, as Foster Roberts headed to the winner’s circle aboard Mango Momma for Joe E. Johnson. Trained by Melissa Johnson, Mango Momma is a punched up bay mare with all sorts of flair. She was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions a year ago with Foster up. The reserve champion here was qualifier winner Our Sonflower. Allie Poovey rode the 13-and-Under World’s Champion to the reserve prize for Todd and Margaret Poovey. The High Caliber crew gave them a grand sendoff, as is their custom. There was also a nice moment for Clara McCool, as she was given a nice round of applause as she claimed her prize with Billy Jewel. Clara is back in the ring this year, an inspirational story of the healing powers of a horse after her injury last winter.

Melinda Moore made the winning drive in the Novice Roadster to Bike class, as V Tach received top honors for Dr. Chip Pugh. The name V Tach is similar to Dr. Pugh’s under saddle road pony national champion, Tachycardia. V Tach is also a rapid heartbeat, this version starting in the ventricles of the heart. Melinda’s heart  certainly sped up as she cruised down victory lane. 

The UPHA Three-Gaited Classic went to a unanimous winner, HS Short Skirt. Smith Lilly made the winning ride, just as he did at Roanoke, for Mercer Springs Farm. Sired by Sir William Robert, Short Skirt is out of a Starlike Sultan mare. This filly is all sorts of light and airy, floating across the track tonight. Chris Brannan had a big night for himself, with his big highlight coming later in the night. This one was pretty special as well, as Walterway’s Red Assets finished in reserve for Kathleen Money. The humorously named filly is by Star Material and out of the equally named Smart Asset, a daughter of the grand pleasure mare, CH Magna Cum Laude.

I’m Goin’ Out Tonight swept the Western division here for the second year in a row, this time with Theresa Scott riding for Margory Brown and Nealia McCracken. Sporting a red outfit tonight with a stark white hat, Theresa made a picture perfect ride for the Western Country Pleasure tri-color. Champion at JD Massey, Asheville, and Dixie Cup, Sir Don Juan was the Reserve Champion tonight with Marie Gwinn riding under the direction of Dena Lopez.

It was a repeat of the qualifier prizes in the Hackney Horse Championship, as Rudolph The Second marched his way to the tri-color with Paul Richardson. This track is where Rudolph debuted in the States, winning these two classes in 2005. Since then he has gone on to all sorts of acclaim, including the last two World Grand Championships at the Royal Winter Fair. The spotted mare, Heartland Blizzard, was reserve with Karen Waldron for Bent Tree Farm. Amateur Champions at the Royal Winter Fair every year since 2006, Heartland Blizzard is a consistently brilliant performer.

Just two came in for the Roadster to Wagon Championship, eliminating any chance of a repeat of the three-way tie in Monday’s qualifier. Ice Man has now won his only two shows in the wagon division, taking the tri-color with speed and spirit. Judy McNeish was at the lines for DeLovely Farm. BJ’s Hail Storm was the Reserve Champion with Les Cunningham driving for Milward Dedman Jr. Hail Storm was the Amateur Roadster to Bike Reserve Champion here in 2009.

The UPHA Harness Pony Classic completed the sweep of the nighttime pony Classics for Heartland Hackney Farm, as Heartland Demonstrator and Darrel Kolkman were the solo entry. Impeccably bred, Demonstrator is by Heartland Code Of Honor and out of Heartland Beauty, one of the best producers Heartland has ever had. She is the dam of such greats as Heartland Expectation and Heartland Moonglow, not to mention Heartland Elise.

Chris Brannan capped off his fantastic night on the track with a win in the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic, once again with a Walterway Hills bred horse. Walterway’s Sam-Me wore the top prize in this one for Larry Hartsock. This is an interesting product from Walterway Hills, one we’ll likely see more of in years to come. This colt is by Samur, the Roseridge Heir x Worthy Son cross, and out of Walterway’s Especially Me, a product of Larry Hartsock’s golden cross that gave us horses like Remember Me and What About Me. Reserve in the class but winner of the mythical “Awesome Name” award was Be Careful In Vegas. Emily Lee was up for Golden Creek Farms. Winner at Rock Creek, this one is by Golden Creek’s up and coming young stallion, Northern Vegas, who made a splash with multiple winners at Louisville last year. This filly is out of Careless Heiress, Weanling Breeders Stake World’s Champion in 1996. Careless Heiress comes from a ho-hum kind of family. She is just a full sister to World’s Grand Champion An Heir About Her. The moral of this class will warm Jim Aikman’s heart. Never underestimate the importance of the bottom line. Neil Visser has a striking colt in Simbara’s Cup Of Sugar. They were third for Terri Dolan.

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