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Louisville Is Here!

For 364 days trainers, breeders, and owners have been looking forward to the gates of Freedom Hall swinging open for another shot at fulfilling life long dreams. Each year dreams are realized and crushed, however, the competitive spirit of the people that make up the show horse industry keep them returning to Louisville, Ky., to take part in the greatest showcase of equine talent, the Kentucky State Fair's World's Championship Horse Show.

Thirty-four owners thought enough of their babies to compete for the large pay outs in the ASHA Futurity Of Kentucky Weanling class. Kim and Fran Crumpler as well as Melinda Moore drew the first judging assignment from the rotation and they narrowed the pool of 34 down to 10 for a second look. Following another round of modeling and leads, announcer Peter Fenton called My Charming Christina to the winner's circle. The father/son team of Wyatt and Richmond DeHart donned matching suits and hats to present their homebred daughter of Powerful Charm LCC and Attache's Grisabella to take the first blue ribbon presented at the 102nd World's Championship Horse Show. They received a little over $13,000 for their efforts.

The crowd gave a nice round of applause to the reserve world's champion weanling High Priced Jewelry, who was shown by Joe T. Smith. Owned and bred by John T. and Nancy Jones, this colt was a product of two extremely successful former show horses, CH The King Of Highpoint and Cherished Jewel. Continuously contributing to the industry, Dr. Alan Raun's Colorful Tale (The Mystery Writer x Colors Flying) was third with Jan McGlaughlin presenting. The audience also showed appreciation for fourth place winner Kingwood Legacy (Kingwood's Born A Believer x Expose) and handler Joan Lurie.

Picking up the remaining prizes from the large field were Gypsy's Radiant Star, So Whatsinitforme, Crissa, and Al Capone.

Changing gears, four ladies hit the ring with their Kentucky County Fair Harness Pony contenders. When this one was all over Golden Creek Farms' athletic new four-year-old Neon Deon wore the roses as the unanimous Kentucky County Fair Grand Champion. Mary Gaylord McClean drove the Tom Lowry-trained star. Last year's champion Wait & See's Whiz Bang wore the reserve streamers with Robin Haynes at the whip.

Having already captured titles at Midwest Charity and Lexington Junior League this year, Sugar Pine won the first Saddlebred performance world title of 2005. Carter Cox was again at the whip for owner/breeder Mary McLellan Williams. The daughter of CF First Night Out and CH Button Bright has now earned world titles as a two, three, and four-year-old. Winner of the three year-old mare class last year, the Trust Fund daughter, Platinum's First Asset, was the reserve world's champion for trainer Tom Sworm and owners Al and Michelle DeVore. The talented class of nine saw George Knight and Hello Boys take third for Barbara McCune.

Next on the agenda for opening night was a high powered Ladies Three Gaited Over 15.2 class. This was a cast of celebrated champions from across the country led by the multi-titled Marching Orders. Just a four-year-old, this son of Merchant Prince was every bit the world's champion for Barbara Goodman Manilow and trainer Dick Obenauf. Coming from the winner's circle at Shelbyville just a few weeks earlier, CH Pas De Deux and Rosemarie Fernandez commanded reserve honors just ahead of Lisa Strickland and Sunshine Way, winners of the Open Park Mare class at Louisville last year. A reserve world's champion in the junior division last year, Royal Sweet was fourth with owner Michelle Hartman just ahead of Deborah Visser and Cabernet's Will Command, winners at Lexington last month.

For the third consecutive year General Mills wore the roses as the Kentucky County Fair Hackney Pony Grand Champion. Susan Johnson was all smiles driving down victory lane under the direction of Maureen Lydon. It was a good night for Lydon as stablemate Mr. Hawkeye put on a crowd-pleasing performance with Sharon Lewis for reserve grand champion honors.

Continuing the Kentucky County Fair theme of Sunday evening, Helen Robertson paraded Cadillac Spirit to the winner's circle of the three-gaited division with an impressive showing for the Mattingly family's Diamond 5 Farm. Mike Tunstall and The Harlem Bay were pushing hard to finish with the reserve title, while representing Carol Jamison with a strong show.

Twelve drivers mixed it up for the Kentucky County Fair Road Pony Championship and leading the pack was Debbie Foley. Behind the veteran show star Amadeus, Foley defeated a good field for owner Debbie Gabbert. Regal's Miss Kate LF was named the reserve grand champion for Steve Rardin who owns the pony in partnership with Mike Cox.

With 18 entries competing for the Open Three-Gaited Park Mare title it took an outstanding performance to wear the world's champion streamers. That was exactly what the former gaited mare Pocketful Of Magic delivered with Neil Visser in the irons for the James Orr family. Also waving her legs, Our Fallen Angel earned the red streamers with Rob Byers aboard for Cheryl Friedman Allison. Also getting a good piece of the action, Steve Demjen piloted the beautiful Lesley Anne for third place.

Later in the week Sam Brannon is to be inducted into the World's Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame. On this night he put daughter Nancy Brannon and Unclaimed into the ring to win the Kentucky County Fair Fine Harness Grand Championship with a unanimous decision among the eight entries. Last year's champion Dancing Up A Storm LCC exited with the reserve championship this year with owner Kathy Capsuto again at the whip.

For the second consecutive year CH Lady Periana and Phillipa Sledge reigned supreme in the Ladies Three-Gaited 15.2 & Under Stake. They were picture perfect for trainers Rob and Sarah Byers. Sarah Rowland and CH An Heir About Her were called out as the reserve world's champions ahead of Maria Gillman and Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

What a year it has been for Penny Lane Farm's Royal Count. Already a Youth Roadster To Bike World's Champion, he added the Kentucky County Fair Roadster To Bike Grand Championship to his list of wins. James Nichols was the winning driver. Winner of the class in 2004, Valiant and Danette Mussleman returned to the tack room with reserve honors.

In the largest Amateur Gentlemen's Five-Gaited class anywhere, anytime, David Rudder and world's champion Adelita stood above the rest to give Kalarama Farm its second world title of the evening. Chris Nalley gave Deborah Butler's Callaway's Lil Abner a strong ride for the reserve prize, while Paul Treiber and Downtown Strutter were going strong for third. They were followed by Roseridge's Gold and Doug Lindstrom, Callaway's Where There's A Will and Bill Walsh, Enzo and Bill Marple, Worthstyle and Jack McAllister, and Titleist Magistrate with Danny Cummins.

Coco Loco (CH The King Of High Point x Coco GS) had an incredible three year-old season last year and among his wins were the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding World's Championship and the UPHA Classics Grand Championship. John Conatser was back this year to capture the Junior Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding World's Championship with this entry for owners Fritz and Candace Meili. Another youngster with a winning three-year-old season, VHF The Licorice Drop Kid was back for more with Tom Lee driving the popular junior reserve world's champion.

As always, the evening ended with the Kentucky County Fair Five-Gaited Grand Championship and for the third time this evening a 2004 winner had to settle for reserve. With owners Rick and Cindy Luft screaming with joy, Oak Grove's Tom Cat was crowned the champion with Mike Tunstall providing the winning ride. Among the nine entries in the finale, Don Harris and Lucrative took the reserve championship for Karla Kucera.

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