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Lexington - Thursday Night

It’s a conundrum. Do you pray for rain in a sun-drenched, epic drought, or do you root for the horse show to be rain-free? The Kentucky residents showing here, who have driven through the rolling brown hills of what is usually the picturesque country side around Lexington, have to be pleased with the deluge of this afternoon. Those that traveled great distances to show on the storied Red Mile were likely singing “Rain Rain Go Away.” What we got was the best of both worlds: a soaking rain for much of the afternoon that ended about half an hour before the show. While there were a few standing puddles, most of the rain was eaten up by the beach sand footing. What’s the best part of the beach to run on? The wet part! Hopefully that is the best part to trot on as well. As is generally the case with a wet track, the trainers were allowed to wrap their horses’ legs to protect from injury.

The first casualty of the night was a scratched entry in the first class, but two still showed up to compete for the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness blue. Nutamorphosis was the winning ticket, though the pari-mutuel windows here at the Red Mile do not actually cover the horse show. Gerhardt Roos drove this gelding to a debut blue for Alliance Stud. There will be no competition to guess the sire of this one, as he is obviously by Undulata’s Nutcracker. He is out of Dance The Dance BH, by CH Harlem Town. Been Taken was reserve with Mark Wilson at the lines for Michael Furrie. A second generation of Bill Schoeman’s breeding program, Been Taken is by Cloverleaf Freedom Writer and out of Cloverleaf Wild Child, by Zovoorbij Commander In Chief (SA).

CH A Cinderella Story and Karrie Graham wrote yet another chapter in their epic novel, taking the tricolor in Show Pleasure Driving. Also champions at Midwest and UPHA Chapter 5, Cinderella and Karrie got the new surface figured out to earn the round of honor for Karrie Graham and Dwaine Kinderknecht. The different things the Lowry Stables crew has been doing with her, like the Limit Park Pleasure victory earlier this year, has kept her fresh and excited about being in the show ring. American Art and Eddie Norris got a lot of love from the crowd as the reserve champions from Jack Magill Stables. American Art was certainly a mudder, as he was a sight on the splashy track tonight. Reserve champion a year ago as well, American Art is by Dorian Wild Temper and out of Rebel’s Miss America. Gypsy Gentleman and Sarah Wise completed a dream week with a third place finish under the guidance of Matt Schuckert, while Priscilla Marconi and Double Or Nuttin’ ended up fourth for Tri-Color Ventures.

Three walk-trot ponies stomped through the puddles to vie for their Three-Gaited Pony Championship. While it was Dominique Bowlen aboard to take the tricolor in this class a year ago in her final season with CH Powerful Tango, new rider Emilea Stinnett was the unanimous choice of the judges in 2012, guiding Tango with skills taught to her by the High Caliber team of Mary and Evan Orr. By Arborlane Tangos Wee Pee, Powerful Tango is out of Powers Divine, by CH Kourageous Kalu. The placings from the qualifier held up here, as Undulata’s Lady Holiday and Jozee Johnson were reserve champions in just their second class together. They are directed by Clark Clouse. Lady Holiday is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Lady Sophisticate, by Talent Town.

Two of the three entries in the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic were late scratches, leaving Crystal Creek’s Aristocrat to put on a solo show with Eduardo Lopez at the lines for Kathryn Nichols. Aristocrat is by CH Dun-Haven Phenomenal and out of Twin Oak Rufiann, by Canterbury Comet. Rufiann is also the dam of Crystal Creek’s Royal Prince, reserve winner in the Hackney Pleasure Driving qualifier with Carl Nichols.

Somehow the Adult Show Pleasure horses have not qualified yet, with just four sessions of horse show remaining. The 36-and-Over division was first up, with 11 entries answering Steve Buttleman’s call. In Bold Print and Vicki Gillenwater saved their first victory pass together for a big stage, winning this one for Scenic View Farm and trainer Jacques Van Niekerk. By The New York Times, In Bold Print is out of the grand walk-trot mare, CH Lady Galyda, who showed to a ladies reserve win here in 1994, then went on to cap off her career as the Ladies Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions the following month. In Bold Print has been both a three-gaited and a fine harness horse in his long career, now finding another great fit in this division. Stacey Halloran put on a great show in her rain gear to take reserve with Santa Ana Wind. The pretty bay entry of Gaited Inc. earned his best finish of the year. By Santana’s Charm, he is out of Pay-Stick Yoko’s Whisper. Upstate Agent and Dori Zandy were third for Victoria McDonald, while Birkett and Alice Sias Pippin finished in fourth.

All three of the top entries in the 13-and-Under Five-Gaited Championship got strong applause from the appreciative crowd, with Catherine Wheeler taking a unanimous tricolor round of honor with CH Callaway’s Born For This. Aside from her gray legs turning brown in the muddy sand, the gray mare was unaffected by the mud, putting on a solid performance. Catherine and the grand gray are now six for six together. Another gray-brown horse by the end of the class, Heirrison Ford was the reserve champion. Twice a winner a few weeks back at Syracuse, Olivia Schumacher made the ride of her very young life, showing this high-octane star in her first year out of walk-and-trot. Heirrison Ford has been the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions the past two years with Olivia’s barnmate, Morgan Billig. Eleanor Rainbolt Forbes has been the champion of this division for the last three years with her CH Sprinkles. She wound up top three in this one with Ashlyn’s Voodoo Charm for Niji Farm LLC and the DeLovely banner.

The 14-17 split of the Five-Gaited Championship featured two timeouts the first way, one for a leg wrap that was coming undone, which switched it from safety precaution to safety hazard in an instant, and another for a thrown shoe, the second of the night. Camille Cowart didn’t let a little leg wrap issue get in her way, as she and Callaway’s Born To Ride made it a sweep of the Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited division for sire CH Callaway’s Born To Win. Out of a Caramac mare, this talented gelding continued his undefeated career with Camille. McGee Bosworth put together a phenomenal go, with great ringmanship to finish reserve with CH I’m Something Wicked. An entry of Pair of Jacks Stables, he was out in the open at all times. The High Caliber team and a good chunk of the grandstand crowd sent him off with the reserve tricolor. Stonecroft Rumor Has It and Jessica Cloud made their presence felt in third for Jack Magill Stables, while Kalarama’s Lady Bancroft and Alexis Landreth finished fourth for Equestrian Investments of Tennessee LLC and DeVore Stables.

Unanimous winner from a field of 12, CH Undulata’s Fashion Plate was solid and strong all the way around the track with Piper Bordegon to win the 35-and-Under Show Pleasure qualifier. Rocketing to national prominence on this track a year ago with two victory passes, this team is directed by Shelley Fisher. Reserve World’s Champions in their qualifier last year, Piper and Fashion Plate have four wins this season at River Ridge, Midwest, and now Junior League. They have taken on the top competition and come out on top nearly every single time. Katie Cunningham made an electric ride in electric blue, as her coat stood out from the crowd, drawing the eye to the flashy, punched up chestnut by Capitol Fire. Lowry Stables directs this entry. Fire It Up is owned by KC’s Dream LLC. Starlight Voyager and Ali DeGray finished in third for Helen and James Rosburg. Ali’s secret to her good ride tonight was that she went to the concession stand before the show and got a Coca Cola to “get all hopped up and ready.” Stocco and Amanda Murchison were fourth for Cater Stables. With a white coat to match her white ribbon, Amanda called husband Jerry following the class and was jumping up and down with glee in the infield telling him of her great ride.

Either the bartenders were slipping something into the drinks tonight or the cool weather has lit up the crowd, but they have come to life on the Red Mile on this Thursday evening. This has been by far the loudest the Junior League faithful have been all week, and they got behind Alex Rudder once again tonight, sending her to the winner’s circle with The Proof Is In The Heir as the 13-and-Under Three-Gaited Champions for dad David Rudder and trainer Stephanie Sedlacko. The Cater horses are firing in the mud tonight, as CH Callaway’s Born With Style and Molly Codeanne were up for the reserve championship for Cedarledge Farm. The straightaways couldn’t be long enough for this exquisite mare, yet another one sired by CH Callaway’s Born To Win. The farther she went down the rail, the higher up she got in the bridle, squatting down and stroking. CH Heathermoor’s Prince and Emma Sanchez also got nice crowd support in third for Sharyn Lackey and West Wind Stables, while Hillcroft Claret and Macey Miles finished fourth for Hillcroft Farm.

Owned and bred by Jannie Giles and trained by Carter Cox, Buenas Noches BHM was the winner of the first split of the UPHA Fine Harness Classic. Also a winner at Rock Creek, Buenas Noches certainly had a good night, showing tons of quality with a well-balanced park trot. The long-legged bay is by Nocturnal and out of Carmelita Co-Star, by Buck’s Co-Star. Every class Platinum Surprise JJW has been in this year has been split. Bred by Jay and Jean Wood, Platinum Surprise is by Blue O’Shea and out of Kalarama’s Gone Platinum. Now owned by Golden Creek Farms, Melissa Moore was the driver. Coming off a win at Midwest Charity, Platinum Surprise looks seasoned and confident in the ring. Nelson Green and Crackerjack Blue finished third for Mount Saddlebreds.

The second split of this one went back to the Double D Ranch with Sir Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra is no “Stranger in the Night” to the winner’s circle, as he also won at Kentucky Spring Premier and May Classic for owner Pleasants Valley Stable. It’s not a matter of “Luck Be a Lady,” he comes by it naturally. By Sir William Robert, he is out of Elegant Sky, by CH Sky Watch. Dena Lopez made the winning drive. Two Year-Old Fine Harness Mare World’s Champion a year ago, WS Call Me Catty was reserve with Chuck Herbert at the lines for Susan Bartlett. By Catalyst, Call Me Catty is out of a Callaway’s Main Man daughter.

For the purists of the Saddlebred world who decry the death of the slow gait and lament the new age of two man-made gaits, the rack and the “a little bit slower” rack, Billy Jewel must be a godsend. His separation of gears is made all the more prominent by his incredible top-end speed. Austin Hazelwood has done a tremendous job for the Cater Stables team and owner Clara McCool, going unbeaten in his four outings with the flaxen son of Family Jewels. They were unanimously the victors of the Five-Gaited Pony Stake. Another tall young jockey who looks born to ride a Saddle Horse, Drew Taylor Hewitt earned the reserve championship atop CH Red Flame Thrower. The entry of Barbara Goodman Manilow is trained by Clark Clouse. Red Flame Thrower has been right on the edge of the top spot seemingly everywhere he has been. Winner at Shelby County Fair and River Ridge, he has four reserves and two thirds in his last six outings at Saddlebred “Triple Crown” shows. Mollie Kregor and The Rest Of The Story were third here for Ann Marie Brickzen and Premier Stables.

Looking like a top contender for the USTA Roadster to Bike Classic this year, Daddy’s T-Bird notched an impressive unanimous victory in a strong field of four in the Novice Roadster to Bike class. Tom Fiedler is the owner and driver, showing this one under the Majestic Oaks banner. It took a lot of “want-to” to hit the ring tonight, as sandy mud was flying at these competitors while they were screaming down the track. Luman Wadhams was the Morgan Roadster to Bike World Champion in 2008 with Dragonsmeade MaxMara. He has brought those skills to bear on a suped-up engine, piloting Blaze Of Sonshine for Ann MacMurray Cox. He made a great drive for reserve honors. Both of these horses are newecomers who look to be future stars of this division.

Talk about an incredibly well-bred group of young horses, take some time to check out the ASHA website to pick through the pedigrees in the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic. Let’s start with the winner, Undulata’s Secret Rendezvous. The dark chestnut never backed an ear as she marched through the much with Maria Gilman aboard for Siege LLC and Jenn Katko. She is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Gotta Secret, by Harlem Globetrotter. Start following her pedigree and you find Can Can (BHF) on the bottom line. She was the dam of the incomparable CH New York New York (a horse Sir Frank Sinatra should have been friends with) and CH Gotta Dance. Can Can of course reads “Lady Trigg, Carol Trigg” on her bottom line, two more Broodmare Hall of Famers. Reserve winner here was I’m Worth The Wait. Emily Abbott West has taken her skills to New Bloomfield, where Virgil Helm has put her aboard this one with good result, winning at Midwest and taking the red prize here. Another young mare, this pretty, up-headed chestnut is by Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of I’m Worth The Wait. If that breeding looks familiar, it’s because it was splashed across our Louisville cover a year ago with Real Action, the reigning World’s Grand Champion full brother to I’m Worth The Wait. While the human version of Nicki Minaj may have multiple personalities, the Saddlebred version is a bay walk-trot mare with a ton of potential. Robert Gardiner knows well how to work this bloodline, as she is by VHF The Licorice Drop Kid and out of Broome Street, the dam of his two-time Three-Gaited National Champion, VHF Belle Epoque. They were third tonight for Chevelle Show Horses.

With the Carriage class moved to tomorrow night to try to avoid the deep track, the Roadster to Wagon Championship followed next as the first of two classes with two entries apiece that got scratched down to one. Last Call made a solo tri-color trip with Judy McNeish in the wagon class. Raymond Shively met them in the winner’s circle. This was the first horse show in the Roadster to Wagon division this season for last year’s winner at the American Royal.

Jokake was the winning entry in the UPHA Harness Pony Classic. Abel Vega made the drive for Golden Creek Farms. Let’s do the important service of figuring out where that name came from. According to the internet (and of course everything we read on the internet is true!), it is pronounced “Joe Cocky.” In Arizona Place Names, we find that it started out as the name of a resort on the south slope of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. According to the phenomenal luxury resort, The Phoenician, “The resort’s own historic Jokake Inn, a rustic adobe structure set on an acre of natural desert

terrain, is an ideal setting for  intimate and enchanting  outdoor  Southwestern-themed events. So there you go. Pony Jokake is by Dun-Haven Highly Acclaimed and out of Kristina LF. He was the Three-Year-Old Harness Pony Reserve World’s Champion last year.

What a day for Judd Stables and Maria Gilman in particular. Their day started out with a Thursday morning win in the Adult Country Pleasure Championship, where Jenn Katko scored the tricolor round of honor with Uncut Jewel. Then just a few classes ago, it was the Katko/Gilman connection again to win the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic with Undulata’s Secret Rendezvous. In the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic nightcap, Maria was at it again, capturing yet another big prize, leaving the ring last aboard Leatherwood Starburst. Leatherwood’s Starlight is this bay gelding’s sire, providing the big motor in the trunk. Maria did a great job here to win for the third time this year with the entry of Gamine LLC. Starburst traces his bottom line back several generations to Bit Hutcheson’s walk-trot World’s Champion, In Reality. Virgil Helm has a logjam in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited division. The supremely gifted Moonlight Memories made a special show at Midwest to win this class there for Roberta Rassieur. He showed his own Misty Marie to the red prize tonight. Also by Desert’s Supreme Memories, she is out of Maria Cole, by CH The King Of Highpoint, a nice outcross for the memorable, punched-up gaited stud. Beaucoup Of Blues was third here with Robert Gardiner up for sister Katherine Hansil.

Well as of this writing, the clock has ticked over to Friday the 13th… And we are at Lexington Junior League… the site of such things as the storm that nearly sent a ringful of road ponies to Oz. Hang on tight, folks, and enjoy the ride! There isn’t another place in the world we’d rather be. 

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