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Louisville – Friday Evening



Fewer split classes and a lower total number of classes on the schedule kept the Friday matinee performance to a manageable five hours or so. That gave everyone a bit more time to relax and maybe even eat between performances today. Everyone seemed to be back in time for the evening performance though, as the weekend crowd filtered in and swelled the numbers in attendance, as is the case every year.


The night got kick-started with the ASR 2-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity Finals. These young horses went through split qualifiers earlier in the week and were brought back tonight for a final performance. It is a tough task for a two-year-old to show twice in one week, but with $15,327 as the prize money for first place, exceptions are made. The A.E. Nelson family started their Saddlebred career out in California, with their home base of Santa Rosa. Much of their operation, including daughter Andréa, has now moved to Kentucky. Bob Bobaloo is the product of this operation. He is a second generation Nelson-bred, as he is out of the mare, Lady Of The Realm (Catalyst x a Foxfire’s Prophet mare), owned and raised by the Nelsons. Bob Bobaloo, by Belle Reve’s Renaissance Man, took the blue ribbon and the big prize money in the 2-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity Finals by a unanimous decision. Reserve to Bob was a big bay with a driver wearing a big smile. County Supervisor and Dr. Alan Raun were called out for a slightly smaller, but still big, payday and the red ribbon. He is by County Treasure (Rare Treasure x Restless Phi). Country Treasure was bred by Jim Aikman and is now owned by Doc Raun. County Supervisor is out of Callaway’s Small Talk, by Callaway’s Tobias, a Blue Norther son.


The top four from both sections of the Stallion/Gelding qualifier and all eight ribbon winners from the Mare qualifier were eligible to show back in the Amateur Park Championship, and they burst through the in-gate looking ready to put on a show. This one was another shootout between the two great amateur ladies, Nancy Leigh Fisher and Barbara Goodman Manilow. The ladies and their mares duked it out both ways of the ring. CH Lady Maya looked ready to burst out of her skin for Barbara Manilow, dancing that fine line between greatness and breaking stride. It was a great performance, even better than her qualifier show. But Nancy Leigh had the answer with Princess Ruby Begonia. The six-year-old mare by CH War Whoop Two is so straight up and down at the trot and so strong behind, she cannot be denied. Nancy Leigh always has her in a great spot in the ring, and the mare makes the most of it. They took the last pass with the flowers and tri-color ribbons, with Barbara Manilow and Lady Maya a strong and tough reserve. The rest of the placings read like a who’s who of the Park division. Pistolero and Mary Jane Peebles finished up in third, repeating their finish from their qualifier. High Heat, winner of one of the Stallion/Gelding sections, was fourth with Melody Adler. In fifth was the other Stallion/Gelding winner, Secret Cash Deposit, with Janet Kellett aboard. Tax Man got a nice round of applause from the crowd in sixth with Peggy Whitley Councilman, while Long Distance and Mimi Bahcall, second in their qualifier, took seventh. Eighth in this fantastically deep class was CH Justa Rascal, who needs no introduction to the Park division. He was teamed well by Megan McClure.


Nancy Leigh Fisher cools down after her win

with Princess Ruby Begonia.


The Amateur Harness Pony Championship saw a unanimous victory for the 22-year-old stud pony, Vindicator. For the first time since 1999, back when he was a spry 14-year-old, Vindicator and Karen Waldron headed out of Freedom Hall with the tri-color. They finished as the Reserve World’s Champions in 2002, 2003 and 2004 before breaking through once again tonight. He loosened up and got into the flow of the class as it progressed and was working at his best and brightest second way when he turned on the charisma to take all three votes. Christy Weaver Gantley was the excited Reserve World’s Champion this time with Minute Maide, a six-year-old mare bred by Kathryn Nichols. Shake Don’t Stir and Mary Gaylord McClean, last year’s champions, were third.


Ali DeGray had the chance to retire a challenge trophy in tonight’s Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited 14-17 Championship, and she was up to the challenge. The CH Moonchance Challenge Trophy was donated by the William Cannon family. It must be won three consecutive times by the same horse/exhibitor combination. DeGray and CH Tigerlee won this title in both 2005 and 2006, but in order to complete the trifecta and retire the trophy, they had to get past Colonel Hoss and Justin Cowley. Hoss is a bit of a cult hero in the Saddlebred world. Combined with Cowley, they make an extraordinarily charismatic team, showing to the crowd as much as to the judges and delighting audiences wherever they go. Hoss is kind of like the little engine that could. He just thinks he is bigger than he is and it shines through him in the show ring. But even with that dynamic duo to deal with, Ali DeGray and CH Tigerlee were up to the task tonight. Displaying excellent ringmanship and maneuvering the big, bay son of Family Jewels through the traffic, DeGray took the class one gait at a time, making pass after pass and building support from center ring. Tigerlee has never exactly been a simple horse to ride, but Ali made her last Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited ride at Louisville worthwhile, retiring the CH Moonchance Challenge Trophy. Colonel Hoss and Justin Cowley were reserve for Paul Beachum, being sent out with their usual big ovation. Another combination that has come together nicely throughout the year, Callaway’s Lil Abner and Faye Wuesthofen, were third for Glenn A. Werry Jr. Angela Darrow and Freaky Links made the best show of their career together to take fourth in another deep class.


Ali DeGray and CH Tigerlee

with trainer Ruth Gimpel

and caretaker Dawn


The Western Country Pleasure Invitational Championship has only known one winner in its two year history, CH Fiasco. Doug Glick has been showing Fiasco full-time since 1997, but that was in Country Pleasure and Country Pleasure Driving. Fiasco’s march to greatness in the Western division began in 2002. He is a 15-year-old bay gelding by CH Chubasco and out of Gift Certificate, a Titleist mare out of Three-Gaited World’s Grand Champion CH Finisterre’s Gift Of Love. Glick wore a white shirt with a black bow tie and a black cowboy hat, looking like he could head to the Country Music Awards to receive his CMA award right after taking his victory pass. Michael Craghead and Kevin Michael have been working with this horse since the beginning of his Western career, and it has paid off for the second year in a row. Second in the class was another Chubasco gelding from California. This was CH Like Thunder, long ago a barnmate of Fiasco at Scripps Miramar Ranch. Michele Macfarlane has always seemed to have a special fondness for CH Like Thunder. He is spotted, as many Chubasco horses are, but his color is a dark, chocolate brown, rather than the usual chestnut color. Macfarlane chose an outfit that matched his chocolate coloring. It was a great picture as they jogged up to received their Reserve World’s Championship ribbon. Third in the class went to Minnesota, which is decidedly not California. Mary Strohfus will be retiring CH Impressive Ruler at St. Louis National Charity this year, and they went out in style with the third-place finish tonight.


Camille Cowart gave Heathermoor’s Prince a kiss on the nose while waiting to re-mount in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 13-and-Under Championship. Whether or not the kiss was intended for good luck, Cowart received it in good measure, winning the tri-color and flowers with yet another scintillating performance. Peter and Kim Cowart, Camille’s parents, both joined her in the winner’s circle. Camille’s ring savvy at such a young age is commendable and a testament to her parents’ teaching. This team should have no problem moving up to the 14-17 division when the time comes. This was an especially poignant victory, given that Heathermoor’s Prince’s breeder and co-owner, Anita Cowart – also Camille’s grandmother – passed away earlier this summer.



Jack McCrae and Peter Cowart escort

Camille Cowart and Heathermoor’s Prince


He’s My Beau and Katie Moeller really put it all together tonight in perhaps their best performance. The five-year-old gelding was making his bid for the tri-color, taking reserve tonight. Hunter Chancellor and Can You Hear Me Now will have two more shots at this title, as Hunter is in her 11-year-old year. They were third in this one. Fourth went to last year’s Amateur Three-Gaited World’s Champion, Lady Cinnamon. Maya Manilow was aboard this homebred entry.


A new owner but the same result was the story in the Amateur Road Pony Championship. Calvin Hobbs once again topped the rest, but this time it was with new driver Kevin Ingram for James Dellinger. Last year, it was Mary Gise at the lines to take the victory pass. He has remained in training with Andy and Lynda Freseth at Hollow Haven Farm. Ingram had Calvin Hobbs in a great spot all night, hanging back in the corners for that extra split second before sending him flying down the rail. Another great pony associated with Hollow Haven and the Gise family, Heartland Sundust took home the Reserve World’s Championship with new owner Mia Morris Blevins. The depth of talent in this class could be seen in the remainder of the ribbon winners. Heartland Production and Mary Gaylord McClean were third. Heartland Victory Maker and Toni Nastali were fourth, with Seamair Strutter and Mike Schallock in fifth. The Wizard LF and Morgan Wolin were sixth, followed by St. Patrick and Chris Long-Schuber, qualifier winners earlier in the week. Cappuccino and Holly Gassen were eighth. Nearly every pony on that list has a world’s championship title to his credit. It was a knockdown, drag out fight for the flowers.


Remaining undefeated on the season and overcoming a tough first way, Emily Scharpf and Nelmar Tango 4 Ever (SA) used a final second-way trot in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 14-17 Championship to beat back the challengers and take home those sought-after tri-colors and the blanket of flowers in Emily’s last year as a junior exhibitor. Scott Matton used his in-hand skills to showcase “Tango” in the individual conformation inspection, as Scharpf stood by in her baby blue satin formal coat. This wild-going dark chestnut is the epitome of a South African Saddlebred. He waves his legs like no other in the division. Emily has worked hard throughout the year and even throughout just this week, and it paid off with her third trip down Louisville’s victory lane in 2007. Scott Pisarik had Kelly Hulse jumping up and down for joy at the in-gate when his number was called for reserve with CH Steel In Love. The big, bay General Steel mare has been teamed with Scott for three seasons. Ali Judah had Odyssey Mann working well in third. With a little more work under their belts, this team will be one to watch.


Scott Pisarik with CH Steel In Love

and trainers Mark and Kelly Hulse


The Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited Championship featured a “guest announcer” for the individual conformation inspection. Ringmaster William G. Whitley III, perhaps attempting to prove that literally anyone can be a horse show announcer, took over the microphone from tonight’s master of ceremonies, Peter Fenton, calling out the pedigrees of each entry. The one that held up best to the careful inspection of the three-judge panel was two-time Three-Gaited World’s Grand Champion Manila Thrilla. Now with owner Theresa Vonderschmitt aboard and under the direction of Bob Brison, this team trotted off with yet another Louisville tri-color. Vonderschmitt purchased the now eight-year-old son of Sultan’s Royalty from Ruxer Farms when he was just a three-year-old. It has worked out well for her. Last year’s Reserve World’s Champion was this year’s titleholder as well. CH Pas De Deux and Rosemarie Fernandez repeated their placing from 2006 here tonight.


The ever-dapper Jeff McClean was in the viceroy behind Heartland Elise to take the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship, a class the Dun-Haven Little King mare also won in 2005, that time with Mary Gaylord McClean at the lines. Seamair Simply Awesome and John Wrather were the Reserve World’s Champions for Charlotte Wrather. These two were first and second in the Amateur Gentlemen qualifier as well.


The Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship was a real barnburner. CH Sprinkles and Michele Macfarlane set the tone for the class, exploding through the in-gate first and making a pass that would have put them in contention for the Gaited Stake tomorrow night. Chris Nalley came in with Miss Genevieve, as did Kurt Antonacci with Doubletrees Quixotic, and both went about their business, quietly at first. As the class moved along, Nalley and Miss Genevieve started to get rolling. It was one of those performances where every time you looked up, there they were, rolling down the rail in high style, always in a good spot, never getting covered up. It was a consistently brilliant performance, one that Macfarlane and Sprinkles matched stride for stride to the very end. As they awaited the announcement of the winners, Macfarlane, wearing back number 1633, and Nalley, wearing back number 1645, milled around with the rest of the class near the in-gate. As Peter Fenton went to announce the winner, he paused after saying “16” for what seemed like an eternity, before finishing it with “45.” Chris Nalley and Miss Genevieve had repeated their qualifier win, and they definitely had to earn it.


Chris Nalley and Miss Genevieve


CH Sprinkles, full sister to CH Like Thunder, was reserve, having won this class last year, as well as in 2003 and 2004. Doubletrees Quixotic and Kurt Antonacci were a well-deserved third for Vicki Reed, while The Great Gazoo and Alex Wille-Irmiter were fourth for William Woods University. Another 22-year-old putting on a great performance tonight, CH Lexmark showed no signs of slowing down with Sara Van Galder in the irons in fifth. Van Galder celebrated a job well done with a “cool one” in the stands. No word if Lexmark, who is also of drinking age, was given the same privilege.


Junior Five-Gaited Mare winner, Callaway’s Born For This, was back at it again with Nelson Green, this time taking it all in the Junior Five-Gaited Championship. Born For This is a beautiful rose gray color. She won the ASR National 3-Year-Old Five-Gaited Futurity last year for Burt Honaker and was third in the UPHA Classic Finals for Nelson Green. She is by CH Callaway’s Born To Win and out of Beckon The Day, a Sultan’s Great Day mare. Her second dam, Callaway’s Becca, is by Will Shriver. She was born to rack. Todd Miles had the Deborah Butler entry, Pour Some Sugar On Me, looking bright and game in reserve. This was a repeat of first and second from last year’s 3-Year-Old Futurity. This mare is also by a Callaway Hills stallion, CH Callaway’s Gold Rush, who won the Stallion Stake here in 1993 with Redd Crabtree. She is out of a Courageous Admiral mare. There was solid talent and potential from first all the way down through eighth in this one. It will be interesting to see what divisions these horses land in their five-year-old campaigns and beyond.


Just like at Lexington, Bill Shatner climbed into the sulky and took off with the tri-color with All Glory. And just as in Lexington, Bill’s wife, Elizabeth, had qualified the speedy bay earlier in the week with a blue ribbon performance. The Shatners make a great tag team under the direction of Danette Musselman. The reserve world’s champion got some good crowd support. Gingerbread Man and Glenn T. Werry left with that title.


Capping off a long evening of horse show was the Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Championship. During the conformation judging, Mary Gaylord McClean and Dr. Owen Weaver were walking past each other and gave a kind of low-five hand slap. It was just an outward display of mutual admiration of a job well done. And it was well done indeed, on both accounts. Dr. Owen Weaver and Parker Road had a breakout performance here in night’s finale. The big chestnut gelding is by Bailey’s And Coffee, a Supreme Heir son. He is out of an Attaché mare. Tonight, they put it all together, rocking down the long straightaways that Parker Road seems to take to with gusto. But Mary Gaylord McClean would not be denied. She had one of her most consistent performances with I’m A Treat. He was rocked back and steady, moving slickly through the class. This was their moment to shine, finally reaching the winner’s circle together in Freedom Hall after reserve world’s championships in 2004 and 2005 and a qualifier red in 2006. Mary looked elegant and refined as always in her steel gray coat. As an aside, is there a better dressed couple in the industry than Jeff and Mary McClean? No matter that, tonight was all about I’m A Treat, a son of Deborah Orr Visser’s great five-gaited mount, CH Heir To Champagne. Tonight was his night. Dr. Owen Weaver and Parker Road finished a well-deserved reserve.


Will Mary Gaylord McClean cap off two evenings in a row with a victory pass? One more day to go to find out!


Click here to see complete results from Friday evening’s session.

Click here for Friday's judges cards.

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