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Lexington - Wednesday Evening

The evening began with a bang on Wednesday night, as the Stick Horse Race fielded 75 mighty mites with their stick horse entries. As the junior member of the judging panel, Josh Greer was given the Stick Horse judging duties, as they went alllllllllll the way around the ring. This was part of Raising Cane’s Family Night here at Junior League, complete with pony rides down at the round barn. Announcer Peter Doubleday tried valiantly to conduct traffic, but it was about as effective as herding cats. It’s hard enough to get five kids to do the same thing, let alone 75. Once they were all aimed toward the exits, one got loose and made a victory pass, sans stick horse. It was complete with him sitting down in the dirt to contemplate life for a while it would seem. Eventually he was removed from the show ring, and the junior riders were ready to go with the first competitive event on Wednesday night.

It was the Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure 14-17 entries featured in the first event for real horses, with two DeLovely riders taking the top two spots. The great CH Brookhill’s King Of Kool was the winner in this one, with Jessica Wuesthofen making a strong case for Glenn A. Werry Jr. Twice a winner here a year ago, they are three for three now on this track, having not shown here together prior to last year. It was a High Spirits horse that earned the red ribbon with Abby Mutrux aboard, as Odeon earned that prize. Champions at Bridlespur Spring Kick Off, UPHA Chapter 5, and Midwest Charity already, Odeon and Abby have been directed to high praise by Robert Gardiner. Odeon’s full sister, Eastside was the gaited mares winner last night, and Odeon followed suit with a big show in this one. Our Queen Of Everything got a big shout from the Cape Cod crowd in third with Madison Bartha, while the Kierson Krew competed with them in fourth for Meritage Signed Sealed Delivered and Morgan Billig.

After one class had shown, it was time for a ring drag. Five ponies followed in the Amateur Harness Pony class, with Twin Willow’s Handsome Dan winning for the second year in a row. The reigning World’s Champion of Champions was driven once again by Jeff McClean for the Golden Creek Farms to take a unanimous round of honor. By Twin Willow’s McMillan, he is out of the successful producer, Twin Willow’s Arianna, by Vindicator. Second here went to Seamair Sensation, with John Wrather driving for Charlotte Wrather. Sensation made what many will recall as a sensational debut here on this very track in 2003 as the UPHA Harness Pony Classic winner. Partnered with John Wrather since 2007, Sensation was also reserve in this class a year ago as well as the Amateur Gentlemen’s Reserve World’s Champion.

Murphy McSemek made it two years in a row as the winner of the Amateur Gentlemen’s Five-Gaited class with Sterling Price. A product of William Woods, Murphy rode to this blue under the direction of Kent Swalla, who bought two new belts to add to his collection of 20 at Freedman’s shop out in Midway today. William Shatner made a fantastic, consistent show with Courtier to take the red ribbon back to Grey Ridge Farm. This was the exact finish in this class a year ago as well. Courtier is by Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of a Supreme Sultan mare. Kenny Wheeler and CH Pucker Up made a strong show in third, receiving a nice sendoff from the crowd.

The Fine Harness Renaissance over the past few years has been a wonderful thing to see. The Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship in 2009, with the phenomenal battle between The DaVinci Code and Castledream kickstarted it, then the 13-horse tilt in 2010 sealed the deal that this was a true re-emergence of a division that had been down for several years. This year could be “The Year of the Harness Horse” with horses like Our Brilliant Belle, Castledream, The DaVinci Code, Wild Carrissima, My Gypsy Moon, Lady Vol, Caraway’s New York Minute, Lace’s Last Tango and many more in top form. Add to that list Seaforth’s Bonnie Lass. Jim Taylor, who did the honors on this track a year ago with Our Brilliant Belle, was at the lines of this one, who was bred to be a harness horse. She earned a unanimous victory here in the Fine Harness Mare Stake for Stonecroft Farm. By Revival, she is out of the grand CH Rejoice, so she sports Louisville wins on both the top and bottom line of her pedigree. She has the “Rejoice ears” that practically touch at the tip, with Rejoice’s chin-to-chest headset as well. Dances On Air overcame a rare thrown shoe in a harness class to claim reserve. Lindsay Lavery did the driving for R.C. Deuschle Inc. This was the Reserve Champion in the Kentucky County Fair Championship at Louisville last year. Winner at Shelby County Fair last month, Three Gable’s Cracklin’ Rosie was third here with A.J. Bruwer driving for Three Gables LLC.

The Three-Gaited Park entries came blasting through the gate, but the presenters from the last class were not quite out of the ring yet! All eight had to make their first turn early to avoid running down the group of kids and elderly folk as they made their way slowly from the ring. A Show Pleasure Driving horse for the last three years and a good one at that, the reigning Show Pleasure Driving World’s Champion of Champions debuted in a new division tonight, as Finest Material was the choice. Ronnie Graham did the riding for Helen and James Rosburg. Kelly Self has CH High Heat as a project of hers at Arrowhead Farm. Melinda Moore owns the chestnut gelding and Kelly does the showing, taking reserve three times now on the year. All sorts of blonde, Joe’s Fabulous Party was third with Todd Graham up for Delores Blankenship. Lauren Burin was fourth with Undulata’s Paradise in her first trip to show on the Red Mile. Paradise is owned by Dr. James and Bev Beebe.

Alex Ververeli continued a winning season and career with CH Heartland Victory Maker, winning the AHHS Road Pony Medallion here for the second straight year. Victory Maker is owned by Kathleen and Alex Ververeli and trained by Mike and Jessie Richardson. Caroline Rainbolt Forbes and Surprize Surprize repeated their finish from a year ago as well, earning reserve for the Rainbow Princess Farms and DeLovely.

Nelson Green has done a fantastic job this year with CH His Supreme Reflection. He headed up yet another victory pass tonight, fifth in as many classes for His Supreme Reflection and Jacqueline Manzo this year. They earned this one with the unanimous acclaim of the panel for owner Kimberly Jones. Jacque gave her big chestnut partner an equally big hug when her number was called out atop the class. A Red Mile fictional “Hall of Famer,” CH Juliette’s Deja Blue has had some of her best moments on this track. Andrea Athanasuleas rode her to reserve tonight for Chris Athanasuleas and the Matt Shiflet Stables team. They were winners of this class three years straight from 2008 to 2010 and were reserve in Ladies Over 2 a year ago. Prom Dress and Allie Wellington hung in there in their first year against older competition, making big passes to stay right in the hunt in third. CH Mega-Star and Coe London finished in fourth for Coe and Bill London and A.J. Bruwer Stables.

Kelly Self was back again, this time making her Roadster Under Saddle debut with Scruff. Another entry of Melinda Moore, this one sped down victory lane with the blue ribbon in tow. CH Vivacious and Dr. Holly Ackerman were reserve for the second time this week. They are directed by Steve Hanks.

The crowd always applauds with appreciation in the Open Phaeton class, saluting the time and effort put into such a beautiful display. Tjebbe was the winner here, with Karen Frickey driving the beautiful Freisian to a spider phateton. Misdee Wrigley Miller was reserve with a Peters George IV phaeton by Brewster. David Freedman teaches us that the “Peters” in this description describes the cutaway under the front seat, while the “George IV” is because it was designed by King George IV to have a smaller front wheel. It seems King George was a bit of a party animal and a large one at that. After a night of fun-having, he wanted to be able to basically roll into the front seat, hence the smaller front wheel and cutaway front seat. The groom was then raised up over the front seat with a clear lane for the lines to be  an 1800’s-style designated driver.

Callaway’s Lady Mac’s good week as a producer continued, as Harlem’s Worldly Lady was the Country Pleasure Driving Champion with James Rosburg driving for Helen and James Rosburg. Ruth Gimpel and Ronnie Graham train this team. Ali DeGray drove worldly lady to this same tri-color here last year, while in 2007, it was Kenny Wheeler making two winning catch drives on the Red Mile. 2008 was yet another tri-color win for the beautiful chestnut mare, this one with Helen Rosburg driving. Ali was the Reserve Champion with Worldly Lady in 2010. Roberta Belle was reserve for the second time this week. Kathy Capsuto Walker handled the driving, headed up by Geof Dixon. This was their fourth straight reserve win, having taken two red ribbons at Midwest Charity as well. Majestic Monsieur and Kay Marschel were third, directed by Dena Lopez.

At 13 years young, CH Callaway’s Kit Carson has been reunited with Susan Shepherd, and the results have been phenomenal. Directed by Kris and Bill Knight, Kit Carson has been the Kentucky Spring Premier Five-Gaited Pleasure Champion and qualifier winner at Shelby County Fair. In their first stint together, they were the 2005 Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding World’s Champions. Katy Sterba is back in the saddle aboard Take It From The Top, earning the red ribbon here for parents Janet and Jeff Sterba and Mercer Springs Farm. They swept this division at Roanoke last month. Take It From The Top is the product of two World’s Champions Of Champions, Top Spool and My Front Page Lady. Direct Effect and Melody Murphy finished third for Matt Shiflet Stables, while Callaway’s Dream Big and Ruth Abbott were fourth, directed by Jack Magill.

Ladies Hackney Pony followed a ring drag, with two entries showing head to head. CH Classical Dancer was the winning entry, with Kathy Buente, whip. Lindsay Lavery headed up the victory pass. Twice reserve in this class in 2009 and 2010, Classical Dancer wore the blue tonight. The 2011 reserve winner, Black Merlin, was reserve again this year with Shelby Young driving for David Crockett.

Platinum Moon may have been the star of the night. He certainly got the loudest ovation from the crowd when his number was called out atop the Open Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under with Danny Lockhart up for Joan Hamilton. Danny actually showed this horse in his debut performance, earning a Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding Reserve World’s Championship that day. Platinum Moon is a full brother to CH Gone Platinum, by Periaptor and out of Harlem’s Moondance. Raised way up high in the forehand, he made a stellar performance, rocked back and strutting. Three for three coming into tonight, Matt Shiflet and Undulata’s Susan McGee settled for reserve for Barbour Childress and Bambi Bollin. By Undulata’s Nutcracker, Susan McGee’s dam line runs heavy on the walk-trot mares. Out of Cherry Cherry, her second dam is CH Cherry Rebel. Her third dam is CH Golden Cherry.

Second of a back to back for Matt Shiflet Stables, Nuttin’ But A Dream and Phyllis Brookshire were the victors in the Amateur Five-Gaited Mare class for the co-ownership team of Brookshire and Gendron. This team was put together over the offseason with good results. Each show they have been to so far they have repeated their qualifier finish in the championship round. That pattern bodes well for Nuttin But A Dream! My Front Page Lady’s offspring earned their second reserve prize of the night, as Turning The Page and Amy Dix Rock took the red ribbon back to Premier Stables. Turning The Page is by Belle Reve’s Renaissance Man. They were winners of this class last month at Rock Creek.

Larry Ella and Moment Of Excellence stormed down victory lane in the Open Road Pony class, earning top honors here just as they did in 2010. Last year’s 50”-and-Under Road Pony World’s Champion is by Mark Of Excellence and out of Keep The Spirit. Mr. Lucky Man and Patrice Watson-O’Brien went in against the open competition and emerged with the reserve ribbon for Joe and Patrice O’Brien and Majestic Oaks. Maureen Campbell actually debuted this pony at the 2006 UPHA 14 Spring Premiere to win the UPHA Road Pony Classic.

The Mighty Mouse came to save the day in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 14-17 class, earning that long Lexington round of honor with Hannah Houske for the second straight year. Milo Jones directs the reigning 14-17 World’s Champion of Champions. Texas got the better of Oklahoma in this rivalry, as the leg waving Buckles Boots N Spurs was reserve with Kelly Cooke aboard for Richard, Roslyn and Kelly Cooke. This duo rides for Randy Cates. They wore the 14-17 tri-color here last season. CH HS Dignitary and Courtney McGinnis were third for Fish Creek Stables, while Lady Avalon finished fourth with Caroline Anderson for Matt Shiflet.

USTA Roadster to Bike Classic World’s Champion in 2010 and the Roadster to Bike Mare World’s Champion in 2011, Belle Starr was a sight on the track once again, screaming to a unanimous win with Charlie Jones making the catch drive for Chappy Chapman. Kerry Holahan trains this fantastic mare. It was another mare in reserve, as Lady Cat took that prize with Matt Shiflet driving for Jon Dabareiner. They were Reserve World’s Champions in last year’s USTA Roadster to Bike Classic.

It was the It’s Hammertime Invitational in the Five-Gaited Stallion Stake, as both entries were sired by the black stallion of Tony Diamond’s. It’s Double O Deuce continued a great campaign with another blue ribbon win with Melissa Moore. He is owned by Sherry Frankel of SGF Winning Ways Farm. He is out of a Man Of York mare. It’s Paladin and Dan Flowers were reserve here. Paladin is out of Delta’s City Star. Dan Flowers actually brought Double O Deuce out as a three-year-old harness horse, winning their class at Chattanooga/Cleveland Charity and going on to be top three at Louisville.

The dreaded weatherman looks to get in the way over the next few days, though the potential rain will also bring lower temperatures. Hopefully the rainclouds will dance around the Red Mile as they have for several years. If not, we’ve been there before too! We’ll be here rain or shine to keep you up to the minute with results quicker than you hit the refresh button and daily stories, video highlights and interviews. Top to bottom, nobody does it better!

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