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Lexington Junior League - Tuesday Evening

Night two was all too familiar to Lexington fans: a short downpour momentarily stopping the show. Other than that one blip on the screen, it was a pretty good night of showing with well-filled classes for the most part.

It didn’t start that way as only two amateur gentlemen’s walk-trot horses opened the evening’s schedule of 17 classes. For the second consecutive year I’m Sky High and Rick Daigle were called to the winner’s circle representing Fairfield South. It was the second victory pass for a New Hampshire training barn in as many nights. Justin Cowley was aboard Last Tango In Paris to take the reserve ribbon back to the Clouse Stables tack room.

Six Open Hackney Horses took to the Red Mile stage next with a son/father team taking the top two spots and both were owned by Bent Tree Farm. With Stan Bodnar driving, Shelburne made the blue ribbon victory pass while his dam, Heartland Blizzard, was the reserve champion with Karen Waldron in the buggy.

With the sky darkening, a good class of Junior Five-Gaited Mares was putting on a Lexington quality performance. Halfway through, the skies did open and everyone scattered for cover. The horses were excused and the class was on standby. Minutes later the deluge was over and the class was called back into the ring – minus a few of the original players.

Elisabeth Goth Chelberg was honored in center ring right before the original junior mare class was called and it was a product of her breeding program that ended up winning the class. With Ricky Cook aboard, Kalarama’s Lady Bancroft (Exalted Effect x Mary Jane Bancroft) took a unanimous decision for owners Ricky Cook and Bruce Williams. Reserve honors went to Just Heavenly and Tre Lee for Bullet Concrete Material. Mike Tunstall and Into The Blue, an entry owned by Sue Nifong, collected the yellow streamers with a good show.

The momentum kicked into high gear with the Amateur Fine Harness class featuring several crowd-pleasing performers. A repeat Lexington winner, Castledream paraded down victory lane with Misdee Wrigley-Miller once again providing the winning drive from Kalarama Farm. They took two of the three first place votes with the other vote belonging to reserve champions; the Jim Lowry trained Lace’s Last Tango and Priscilla Marconi. The crowd also showed its appreciation to third place winners Gothic Revival and Joan Adler.

Time and time again Our Charming Lady is the perfection of a ladies walk-trot horse and on this night she was no different. It was a unanimous decision in the ladies under-two stake for Our Charming Lady and Mary Marcum Orr for Jack and Donna Finch. Also looking the part of a top ladies horse, Simbara’s Bountiful marched to the reserve title with Kristen Bagdasarian riding for Kathy Bagdasarian. Having hopped out of the harness buggy and aboard Hillcroft Claret, Misdee Wrigley-Miller was third.

There was ample talent in the six-entry Open Harness Pony class, the first of three wins for Bent Tree Farm on this evening. The 2005 World’s Grand Champion Par Excellence was excellent to earn yet another Lexington blue for Larry Ella and Bent Tree Farm, while 2007 World’s Grand Champion Heartland Expectation and Karen Frickey were reserve. New to the open ranks the black youngster Twin Willow’s Handsome Dan was an impressive third for Jeff McClean.

For the second consecutive year Callaway’s Kit Carson and Susan Shepherd made the last pass from the Amateur Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class. The busy bay gelding was right on the money to defeat eight other challengers under the direction of Pleasantview Farm. Cydni Simmons and Hey Joe stepped up with a good show to command reserve honors just ahead of Bluebonnet’s Challenger and Joan Cantrell who had received a first place vote.

The judges’ cards were varied for the Amateur Roadster To Bike but it was the hard driving Milward Dedman earning the Lexington blue with his BJ’s Hail Storm. Elizabeth Caldwell was the reserve driver with The Last Samuari. Midwest champion Valparaiso was in the mix with a strong drive by Tom Fiedler for third.

Open over 15.2 horses were called to the ring next and eight responded. All three judges agreed 2007 World’s Grand Champion Grande Gil (I’m The Prince x Steel Hearted Woman) would wear the Lexington blue with Misdee Wrigley-Miller having a great night. Not to be overshadowed, Matt Shiflet had Juliette’s Deja Blue going an athletic park trot to receive reserve honors for Chris Athanasuleas.

Over the last few years the ponies owned by Bent Tree Farm and trained by Larry Ella have loved the Red Mile track and that tradition continue with Karen Waldron driving On The Mark to the Open Hackney Pony blue. Their unanimous performance was followed by Limited Edition and Abel Vega, the unanimous reserve champions for Golden Creek Farms.

Last year Lexington was the site of an incredible performance by junior harness sensation Joe Friday and Kenny Wheeler. This year new owners Helen and James Rosburg were thrilled with Joe Friday as he took command of the Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding class with Ruth Gimpel at the whip for unanimous honors. Joe Friday’s owner and trainer before the Wheelers, John Conatser congratulated the winners on his way to the reserve prize with Coco Loco. It was a strong open class with Mike Roberts and I’m A Lucky Charm in third.

Nineteen amateur park horses were the next campaigners to entertain a good-sized early week audience. Some of the very best form all parts of the country were on hand but it was the hometown CH High Heat emerging from the huge class with a unanimous decision. Sunrise Stables trainer Melissa Moore greeted Melody Adler and High Heat in the winner’s circle as Adler was enjoying her first ever Lexington under saddle win. Having enjoyed great success on the Red Mile, Tax Man and Peggy Councilman rode off with reserve honors, followed by the likes of My Paramour, Breathe, Phi’s Phortune Teller, C.F. Burnout, CH Catalyst Commander and He Is The Heir.

Changing gears for a moment, Johnny and Frenchy pulled together to take the Hackney Pair class for Joel Brown. Luc Boileau had the reserve team in Romeo’s Copycat and Inkspot.

Just a few weeks ago Sara McDonald and Conway really put it together amidst a grand group of horses and tonight they were at it again to defeat 11 big-time challengers in the Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding Stake. They commanded two of the three first place votes on the way to the winner’s circle. Showing for Rosemarie Fernandez, Heather Digiannantonio piloted I’m Royalty Too for reserve honors in the deep class, earning a first place vote along the way. The multi-titled CH Walterway’s Remember Me was next in line for a prize with Ceil Wheeler in the irons.

Jim Lowry keeps coming to the horse show with a top group of young horses and tonight he made the victory pass in the Junior Three-Gaited Over 15.2 class with the talented Stonecroft Nightlight for owners Karrie Graham and Dwaine Kinderknecht. Pat McConnell rode the newly purchased Callaway’s Rosemary and Thyme for MBA Equestrians to receive the red prize.

Heading down the homestretch for the evening, Golden Creek Farms won the last two classes of the evening. Jeff McClean and Heartland Production led the way among eight road pony contenders with Toni Nastali and Heartland Victory Maker bearing down hard in reserve. New to the road pony scene, Charlotte Wrather had a great drive with Boxford Courageous Spirit to take a good third place prize.

The night ended with the eight-horse Five-Gaited Mare Stake and this one left the judges with decidedly different opinions. When it was all over, last year’s champions According To Lynn (CH Callaway’s Born To Win x Carol Lynn) and owner/breeder Mary Gaylord McClean were called to the winner’s circle, receiving one first place vote. Another first place vote went the way of reserve champion Twice Charmed. Midwest Charity’s Five-Gaited Grand Champion was ridden by Melissa Moore. Yet another first place vote was bestowed upon third place winner Pucker Up who never dropped an ear for trainer Steve Wheeler and owner Jonelle Gardiner.

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