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Lexington Junior League - Tuesday Evening

Tonight began with a grand rendition of the National Anthem by a youth group called Starlight Singers of Lexington. The next event also involved youth, though rather younger, as the Stick Horse Stake hit the surprisingly dry tanbark. Peter Doubleday did his best to corral the youngsters as they careened about, though that will always amount to trying to herd cats.

The competition started fast and furious tonight under a picture perfect blue sky, coordinated by Weather Coordinator Dewey Bass. The Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited class was first up for the competitive events, with Soquili’s Georgia Kracker in top form for the blue. Georgia Kracker is teamed now with Caitlin Cline. Reserve champions at Rock Creek, they took their first victory pass together here in this nine-horse class with Todd Graham heading up the victory pass. Carolyn Stuart had a memorable ride in reserve aboard A Sweet Inspiration. Chris Reiser directs this duo. They are in their second season together, with three wins on their record already this year.

Attache’s Popeye scored the victory in the Amateur Gentlemen’s Three-Gaited class, with Danny Cummins making the ride for Danny and Kathy Cummins. This was a fifth win on the year for Danny and Popeye, as they were also winners of this class at Midwest Charity. Jack Magill directs this team. The popular Dylan Hines was reserve with Odyssey Mann for Yvonne Hines. Trainer Tammy DeVore guided them to a qualifier win at Chattanooga last month in their first outing of the year.

Andrea Athanasuleas has been tough to beat on the Red Mile in recent history, and they couldn’t beat her on any of the cards in this one, as she was the unanimous winner in Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited with Honey Badger. The entry of Christina and Andrea Athansuleas worked high in the bridle for trainer Matt Shiflet. This was the sixth win on the year, only receiving blue prizes so far together. Honey Badger won the Five-Gaited Gelding class here with Matthew last year. Belle Reve’s So Photogenic made some great passes in reserve with Elizabeth Shatner. Owned by Elizabeth Shatner and Dorothy Anderson, So Photogenic is trained by Grey Ridge Farm. Amateur Masters winners at Midwest Charity, this team looks tuned up for 2014.

The Junior Five-Gaited Mare fielded a group of three, with Sugar Drop Lass as the winner with Robert Gardiner. Owned by Jayne and Carla Pearman, Sugar Drop Lass is by VHF The Licorice Drop Kid and out of Merry Matchmaker. This chestnut mare was also a winner at UPHA Chapter 5. Smith Lilly rode Slate, a Mercer Springs entry, to the red prize. The dark mare is by the black stallion Mountainview’s Heir To Fortune and out of the black mare Brigadier’s Wind Song.

Joel Brown trained both entries in the Hackney Pairs class. Wait & See’s Reality was a repeat winner here, teamed tonight with a new partner, I’m A Celebrity. Joel Brown drove this pair to the blue for Judd and Brown. Gifted Love and Ink Spot teamed for reserve for Joel Brown and Brookside Farm.

Magical Promises reprised her role as a Red Mile star, winning the Amateur Fine Harness class for the second year in a row. The entire picture looks good, from the reddish chestnut of the mare gleaming in the late day sun to the light wood of the cart and the turnout of driver Anna Marie Knipp. Robert Gardiner directed the victory pass once again tonight, fresh off his junior gaited win two classes earlier. CH His Supreme Reflection got a nice response from the crowd in reserve, with Joy Warren driving under the direction of Nelson Green. Supreme Reflection continues to shine at the age of 12, having put together an absolutely stellar career that looks set to continue on into greatness. William Shatner and Renaissance Man’s Medici were third in this good class for owner and breeder Belle Reve Farm.

CH Mr. Center Stage has rarely looked better than he did tonight, and that is saying something for the incomparable entry of Mary Gaylord McClean. Trained by Rob and Sarah Byers, he is the three-time defending Ladies World’s Champion of Champions, winning the Ladies Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under qualifier tonight with a unanimous decision. This was the fourth year in a row for Center Stage to win this class. The Boogie Woogie Man was second in this four-horse event, with Alissa Leonard riding for Edward Leonard. This was just the second class of the year for both of the top two. Boogie Woogie Man is trained by Jaisen von Ballmoos.

The Open Harness Pony class saw a battle of full brothers in the top two spots, with Twin Willow’s Handsome Dan taking the win, followed by The Remington in reserve. Both ponies are sired by Twin Willow’s McMillan and out of Twin Willow’s Arianna, by Vindicator. Jeff McClean made the unanimous winning drive here for Golden Creek Farms. John Wrather drove to the red prize for Charlotte Wrather and trainer Janet Crampton. This bay with lots of white was the Harness Pony Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion last year and the Harness Pony Reserve World’s Grand Champion.

It was a third straight unanimous victory on the night, this one going to Callaway’s No More Mr. Nice Guy and Phyllis Brookshire. Matt Shiflet’s good night continued here with this win for Don and Phyllis Brookshire. This was the second year in a row for No More Mr. Nice Guy to top this class having won in his debut with Phyllis here just a year ago. No More Mr. Nice Guy works high and open on the front end, with all sorts of athleticism. Finest Hour Spent had trainer Jack Magill all worked up and excited with a great show in reserve with Danny Cummins. Another entry of Danny and Kathy Cummins, Finest Hour Spent is back on the track where he was the 2011 Junior Five-Gaited Champion, and he looked to have not forgotten that feeling, working well with a fine head and neck and bright ears. Susan Orton made good passes in third here with Retribution in third.

Mr. Bones and Charlie Jones reclaimed their place atop the Amateur Roadster to Bike division, winning the qualifier here on the track that made them famous. It was now six years ago that these two sped off with the Amateur tri-color here, setting in motion an historic run of success. They are once again on top of their game in 2014 under the Lukens Stables banner, with Jones having about as much fun at the lines as anyone could ever hope to have. The Amateur Ladies World’s Champion a year ago, Nothing Else Matters was up for reserve honors with Judy McNeish. Trained by DeLovely, Judy McNeish has long been a supporter of the Road Horse division, showing in the bike and the wagon with equal success.

The Open Three-Gaited Over 15.2 came in looking like it was going to be a very serious event. It was quickly sidetracked by a thrown shoe coming in the gate but picked right back up with a deep field of eight. The one who threw the shoe rose to the top, as My Hail Mary was unanimously judged to be the best for Smith Lilly and Woodlea Farms. High and hingy in the bridle, the Fine Harness Mare winner here a year ago was a sight again tonight for the blue. It was a win well received by the appreciative crowd. HS Baby Steps was up for reserve with Larry Hodge aboard. An entry of Hillcroft Farm, Baby Steps got a haircut after winning the Amateur Fine Harness Championship at Tampa Charity this year, winning the Three-Gaited Stake at Asheville in her debut as a walk-trot. The trio of mares at the top of this class was rounded out by Callaway’s Taylor Swift and Todd Miles for Ashlyn Farms.

The Junior Hackney Pony Reserve World’s Champion of Champions a year ago, Senator was the top call in the Open Hackney Pony class, with Jeff McClean driving for Golden Creek Farms. Tom Lowry headed up the victory pass once again. Senator is by LLF Top Of The Mark and out of Heartland Country Music, by Dun-Haven Bandolier. Heartland News Leader and Connie Smith finished reserve here for Beth Jones. News Leader was the Reserve National Champion in 2013.

One of the most talented horses in today’s show ring, Ridgefield’s Dancing Soldier was the winner in the Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding class. Theresa Vonderschmitt rode the B & T Vonderschmitt LLC entry under the guidance of Nelson Green. Dancing Soldier has an impeccable headset and never seems to back an ear. He is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Desert’s Supreme Flower. It was another Nutcracker in reserve, as Undulata Pressure and Camille Cowart claimed that prize. Camille is one year into her college career as well as into her adult show ring career, and she has not missed a beat from her junior exhibitor days. The Junior Five-Gaited Reserve World’s Champion of Champions a year ago, Undulata Pressure was the Ladies Champion at J.D. Massey and Asheville already this year.

Cosmic Charm continued a strong campaign with Merrill Murray, winning the Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding qualifier for Grand Vin Stables. These two were the Fine Harness Champions here in 2013 Cosmic Charm is by Powerful Charm LCC and out of a Tornaado mare. Talk Is Money was the reserve winner with Jim Lowry driving for Tri-Color Ventures. The full brother to Let’s Talk was the Junior Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion last year. This was Jimmy’s first show back from his injury, showing well for reserve honors.

Probably the best class of the night, the Amateur Three-Gaited Park qualifier fielded a group of 11 top entries, including multiple reigning World’s Champions. A second second-way trot is oftentimes the most exciting part of a class, and this was no exception. Throwing down the gauntlet with the Lexington blue on the line, Allie Percoco topped this great group with Cloverleaf Freedom Writer. An entry of Jayne Romano, Freedom Writer is trained by Lionel Ferreira. He is by The Mystery Writer and out of I Did I Did. New to the Park division, Freedom Writer has not finished lower than second in his new digs. Reserve honors went to the highly decorated CH I’m McDreamy, showing here for the first time since sweeping the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited division in 2010. Still teamed with Hunter Chancellor, they are enjoying a good first season in the amateur ranks. The reigning Junior Exhibitor World’s Champion of Champions hails from DeLovely. CH Brookhill’s Periday and James Sigmon finished in third, followed by Kalarama’s Delightful and Megan McClure in fourth.

Four classes later, Lionel Ferreira was back with yet another product of Bill Schoeman’s Cloverleaf breeding program. This one is a mare by Callaway’s Northern Kiss. A half sister to our Amateur Park winner, she is also out of I Did I Did, a granddaughter of the great Broodmare Hall of Fame mare, Lady Trigg, tracing back farther then to another “BHF”, Carol Trigg. Cloverleaf Fleur De Lis also came to Monnington toward the end of last year, as Lionel selected both of these class winners for his customers, filling out a Cloverleaf frequent shopper punchcard perhaps. This was Lionel’s first time showing the mare for owner Susan Swope, and he came away with the Five-Gaited Mare Stake blue. River Ridge’s Five-Gaited Champion and the Five-Gaited Mare Reserve World’s Champion the last two years, Voulez Vous was up for reserve honors with Brian Chappell. From the string of the Nalley Champions LLC, Voulez Vous has long been a favorite of Chris Nalley for her grand talent and potential. Brian Chappell continues to bring her along in her gaited career with aplomb.

The three classes in between the Cloverleaf family reunion began with Limit Harness Pony and a unanimous win for Go Daddy and Melissa Moore. Owned by Brenda Rappaport and the Wireless Valley Farm, Go Daddy is a black son of Twin Willow’s McMillan and out of Juliana, by Vindicator. Abel Vega and Romeo’s Pretty Lady LF were up for reserve for Golden Creek Farms. Just a three-year-old, Pretty Lady is by Romeo LF and out of a Dun-Haven Regal Attraction.

Junior Three-Gaited Over 15.2 was another unanimous win, this one for Sir Surreal and Todd Miles. From the Ashlyn Farms LLC, Sir Surreal was the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited winner last year at Kansas City with T.J. Santaferra. He has gone three for three so far this year under the DeLovely banner. From the famous cross of Undulata’s Nutcracker and CH Crystal Illusion, Undulata’s Crystal Illusionist was reserve here with Evan Orr riding for Pair of Jacks Stables.

A new member of the Golden Creek string for this year, Heartland Dressed To Impress was the unanimous winner in the Amateur Road Pony class. Jeff McClean drove in the blue and white silks tonight, headed up by Tom Lowry. Dressed To Impress was the 2010 Junior World’s Champion of Champions. She is by Heartland Code Of Honor and out of a Dun-Haven Awesome Creation mare.  Susan Harris was delighted with her reserve prize at the lines of Awesome Anticipation. Gina Lail has directed this duo to a tremendous campaign so far in 2014, never finishing lower than second. Regal’s Bandolero LF and Beth Jones were third, followed by Romeo’s Kristy Lee LF and Ali DeGray in fourth.

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