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Louisville - Friday Evening

Friday night is always full of excitement and suspense here at the World’s Championship Horse Show, and this year was no different. Featuring multiple classes for junior exhibitors and amateurs, this session always brings out some of the best competition of the entire week.

The story of the night had to be the first two-legged victory pass in recent Freedom Hall history. If it has happened before, it would still be tough to top this one. Christina Collis has had an interesting year to say the least with Show Baby Show. Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship wins at Indianapolis Charity, Lexington, and Shelbyville prepped this dynamic little team for the green shavings. However, their first win together was in the dark. Collis and Show Baby Show were in the ring during the class at Indianapolis Charity during the big storm that struck there, knocking out the lights and sending the ring into pitch blackness for about 10 seconds before the emergency backup lights came back on. When the lights came back, there was Show Baby Show, just walking in a circle with Christina Collis. As Todd Miles pointed out after the show tonight, the young Supreme Heir mare is game as all get out, but she is also equitated, so she is a good-thinking mare. Last year when the 13 and Under Three-Gaited World’s Championship was stripped, the mare got a bit rattled. This year there was a bit of carry over from that. Collis said that lining up near the Louisville Orchestra Brass Players was also not the best idea.

Regardless of that, Collis was not the only entry having trouble getting back aboard after the strip in this 13 and Under class. Collis did get back aboard at one point, but Todd Miles, erring on the side of caution, had her dismount as they awaited the announcement of the World’s Champion. When Christina’s number was called out for the championship, she jumped up and down and looked to “Mama Lil” at the in gate for instruction before skipping down to the winner’s circle on the arm of ringmaster Bill Whitley. Todd Miles led the gorgeous mare to the winner’s circle. He initially put Collis back in the saddle for her victory pass, but again erring on the side of safety, he pulled her back off, with both tri-color ribbons hanging off her pockets, almost dragging the ground.

As she headed toward the gate, with Peter Fenton egging her on and the blanket of red carnations draped over her tiny shoulders, Christina struck up a park trot for Howie Schatzberg and Doug Shiflet to take the winning photos, a two-legged victory pass for the ages. It was a bit of a different version of the six-legged victory pass that Nelson Green so memorably took with Mr. Snuffleupagus those many years ago in the Junior Fine Harness World’s Championship. But no matter how you slice it, Christina Collis is one tough cookie, and this is one 13 and Under Three-Gaited World’s Championship that will not soon be forgotten.

When you get Tyler Miles as your catch rider, you are guaranteeing yourself a good deal of crowd support, not only from Team DeLovely, but from Tyler’s legion of young lady fans. Whether that was the idea of Jim Orr and the Kalarama team or whether they just wanted one of the best junior exhibitor riders in the country aboard their horse, Tyler’s rides with Harley Rally have been outstanding. After winning his section of the qualifier, Miles came back tonight to take the Reserve World’s Championship. Harley Rally is by Capitol Fire and out of a mare by Mac’s Genius Bourbon.

Another DeLovely rider, Abigail Mutrux, had the third-place finish with High Time’s Northern Son, owned by Sarah Wood. Northern Son was also a qualifier winner this week. He is by Supremacy’s High Time and out of a Callaway’s Blue Norther mare. CH Cagin Martini and Alexandra Percoco were fourth, with Lady Cinnamon and Maya Manilow fifth. Devote and Kailin Baechle earned the green streamers, while CH In Neon ERB and Caroline Cherry were seventh and The Mystery Machine and Nick Neviaser were eighth to round out the ribbons in a remarkable class.

The other story line of the night might have been the affinity of the judges toward redheads on gaited horses. Closing out the evening, the Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Championship saw three lovely redheads battling it out on the green shavings. Misdee Wrigley Miller, showing CH Title Bound for the first time since Asheville Lions Club in 2007, picked up her second of two wins this week, finishing as the world’s champion of champions with her phenomenally gifted son of Titleist. He is most definitely back and doing the things that few other horses can. These were the first two world’s championships for this team, and they were both magnificent performances. Completing the redheaded sweep of the top two spots, Mandy Martin continued her best week ever with a reserve world’s championship catch ride aboard Deborah Butler’s Arrowhead’s Dreamcatcher, a winner of one section of the gelding qualifier. Dreamcatcher is by Periaptor and out of a Champagne Fizz mare. He was the Junior Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion last year. The cat, CH Carolina Cat, was third for Amanda Dellinger. Dellinger has worked hard and come together well with her new teammate this year. She will be back again to vie for this title for sure. Winners of the mare qualifier, CH Amusing and Amy Dix Rock finished fourth, while Ali DeGray, the third redhead in the mix and the niece of class winner Misdee Wrigley Miller, was fifth with CH Tigerlee. Susan Shepherd and Callaway’s Kit Carson always put on a nice performance. They earned the green streamers tonight.

Mandy Martin did not let her fellow redheads down in the Junior Five-Gaited Championship, pulling out all the stops second way to turn heads in center ring and in the crowd, earning the world’s championship with The Daily Lottery. Parents Dan and Dianna Martin have been on the ride of a lifetime this week as they have watched their young Stephens College student take on all comers, trainers and amateurs alike, to earn three world’s championships and a reserve world’s championship. And that isn’t even mentioning the fact that both championships were within a few classes of each other, as were the qualifiers. Oh and there was also a workout in the first qualifier, so really Martin rode three full gaited classes on that evening. A load of work, but not too much to handle for Ellen Beard’s star pupil and DeLovely’s co-hero of the night.

A blonde got into the action by winning the reserve world’s championship. This however was the horse, Busting Out. A striking flaxen gelding with a large white stripe, this CF First Night Out son is all decked out in chrome. Anne Stafford handles the riding duties for Creekridge LLC. Stafford truly appears to be having a blast with the talented horse, and she always gets a big round of applause from the appreciative Louisville audience. How do you get a blonde horse by CF First Night Out? Well on Busting Out’s bottom line, you will find another great blonde gaited world’s champion in his second dam, CH Lady Luck BG. Busting Out has made it full circle from being bred at Blythewood to heading to California where David Blevins brought him out as a gaited horse, winning the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding World’s Championship last year, and now back to Blythewood once again. John Conatser put on perhaps one of his best performance to date with Callaway’s Cassis, working high in the bridle and really moving on down the rail to take third for Carol Hillenbrand. Stravinksy and Todd Graham were fourth for Pinekrest Farm.

The Friday night performance opened with the ASR Two Year Old Fine Harness Futurity. If Chuck Herbert loved Designed after his win with a Designed filly this afternoon, DressedForTheParty gave him 12,703 more reasons to love Designed, winning that amount in prize money by a unanimous decision n this second and final round of competition. DressedForTheParty is out of One Parting Kiss, the dam of Pucker Up, Lexington’s Five-Gaited Mare Reserve Champion with Steve Wheeler. He is owned by the same owners as Two Year Old Fine Harness Mare World’s Champion, Designer Chocolate, Edward and Thomas Elliott. He is a bold-moving colt with an absolutely gorgeous headset. Not to be outdone by another up and coming stud, Sir William Robert had the red ribbon winner in Roberta Belle. Kathy Capsuto Walker owns and drives this daughter of her grand mare, CH Dancing Up A Storm LCC, by Tornaado (SA). Dancing Up A Storm is out of the same dam as Blue O’Shea, the sire of Juliette’s Deja Blue. Debbie Foley has a star with a bright future in The Inside Story. The Callaway’s Blue Norther colt finished third.

One of the most heated contests of the night featured 14 entries in the Amateur Park Championship. Jacqueline Manzo and CH His Supreme Reflection did not require a workout to best the field tonight, as they took the world’s championship victory pass for Kimberly Jones, repeating their qualifier win. Second to Supreme Reflection in the qualifier and reserve world’s champion tonight, CH Another Bay just keeps truckin’ along, moving with great action and animation while never losing his trademark headset. Sara McDonald teams him well and did so again tonight to earn the reserve tri-color. CH Princess Ruby Begonia, last year’s World’s Champion of Champions, was third for Nancy Leigh Fisher. Traci Massaro and CH Phi’s Phortune Teller have really put it all together this week, finishing third in the qualifier and fourth tonight with their two best rides of the season.

Cheryl Innis added to her fantastic performance from earlier in the week to capture the Amateur Harness Pony World’s Championship with Truly Naughty By Nature for Kathy Comeau. Innis has looked absolutely stunning in both of her performances this week making trainer Rodney Hicks awfully happy with her and his talented bay mare. It was a memorable week for Cheryl Innis and Truly Naughty By Nature. Winner of the amateur gentlemen qualifier Dun-Haven Truly Awesome earned the reserve world’s championship for Paul W. Richardson. Truly Awesome is by Dun-Haven Awesome Creation. Rich Campbell, who was heading Truly Awesome, made the run down to the winner’s circle to congratulate the Hicks/Harris/Innis team.

Both qualifier splits of the 14-17 Five-Gaited division required workouts to sort out. Tonight, the judges were able to tie the big class with no problem, though the issue of how to line up head to tail proved a bit more daunting for the young riders. After a bit of milling about in the middle of the ring that prompted the quip from Peter Fenton, “You can slow gait and rack, so I know you can lineup,” the ringmasters were able to get the entries into single-file columns so the class could be stripped. Through that mini-ordeal came Sarah Sessoms and Memorize. Reserve in their qualifier, Sessoms and Memorize took this class in high style, taking home the world’s championship tri-color and flowers. She was greeted in the winner’s circle by trophy presenter Ali DeGray, one of Sessom’s best friends. DeGray and CH Tigerlee retired the Moonchance trophy last year, so she donated the Spirit of the Sport Trophy for this division. Memorize is by Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of the Merchant Prince mare, To Be Real. Shelby Reimer put on yet another great catch ride with Here I Am Again, a qualifier winner owned by Julie Garlington and Dodie Stockton. They earned the reserve world’s championship tonight. The other qualifier winner, Callaway’s Lil Abner, was third for Faye Wuesthofen. Wuesthofen and Abner have shown remarkable progress this year under the Glenmore banner. Victoria McCune and CH Callaway’s Independence Day, winners at Lexington, were fourth.

Winner of 17 world’s championships in seven different divisions, CH Blackberry Delight was dubbed the “Michael Phelps of the equestrian world” tonight in a touching and fitting retirement ceremony. Standing 16.3 hands and weighing in at over 1,400 pounds, “Jim” won 107 out of the 123 classes he entered over his long and storied career. He entered the ring to an immediate standing ovation, and the crowd did not sit again until he had exited the ring. Shannon Sewell and Rachel Machamer, Jim Aikman, Karen Waldron, Ericka and Richard Nelson, Robert and Marilyn Gaiswinkler, and Andy and Lynda Freseth were all on hand to give one of the greatest American Saddlebreds of all time a final goodbye to the show ring. Lynda Freseth brought him into the ring for his “last class,” and Rachel Machamer took the final victory pass with this amazing horse. Shannon Sewell told her sister when she was 18 years old that in her life she was going to own one great American Saddlebred. Shannon Sewell had her wish granted. As Bittersweet Symphony played from the speakers, Rachel Machamer gave CH Blackberry Delight a big hug and a kiss before she rode him through gate he had gone through with the streamers on his bridle 17 times before.

Though CH Fiasco was the only Western Country Pleasure World’s Champion of Champions in the history of the breed coming into tonight, it was another son of Chubasco bred by Michele Macfarlane that took home the world’s championship. This time it was Michele Macfarlane, riding one of her all-time favorites, CH Like Thunder, to the winner’s circle, her second trip of the day. Toreador and Dr. Catherine Gallo made the trip from Oregon a worthwhile one, finishing as the reserve world’s champions, after winning the qualifier under the direction of Tim Arcuri. The great bay son of Chubasco, CH Fiasco, was third with Douglas Glick for longtime trainer Michael Craghead.

Kevin Ingram made a return trip down victory lane in the Amateur Road Pony World’s Championship, winning for the second year in a row with Calvin Hobbs. Ingram has made a habit of saving his best for the championship round, having comeback drives to take the world’s championship for two years running. Winners of their qualifier, Regal’s Trademark LF and Mary Gaylord McClean were the reserve world’s champions. Trademark has been a world’s champion each of the four years he has shown in Freedom Hall, though the other three years were in the cob-tail division.

The two qualifier winners came back to battle it out in the 14-17 Three-Gaited World’s Championship. She’s My Desire BH and CH Mahvalous Asset earned their qualifier blues earlier in the week and returned with every intention of taking the tri-color home as well. Making a triumphant return to Freedom Hall in her first Louisville since 2005, She’s My Desire wrapped up the tri-color and trophies for Sarah Werry and Glenmore Farm. After her beloved CH He Walks On Water, the 2007 Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure World’s Champion of Champions, passed away earlier this year, the Glenmore team decided that She’s My Desire would be the next mount for Werry. With her dark hair and her black formal, Werry completed the picture perfectly with the black mare by CH Harlem Town. Big brother Glenn T. Werry, wearing a black suit to match his little sister and her jet black world’s champion, fought back the tears at the in gate as he cheered on their victory pass. This moment almost did not come to pass, as Werry was originally not going to be able to be here on Friday night. However, her band director let her out of her commitment back at school, admitting that this was an opportunity that could not be passed up.

Paige Pennington had three shows to tune up for the green shavings, winning at Chattanooga/Cleveland Charity, Asheville Invitational, and finally Blue Ridge before heading to Freedom Hall with CH Mahvalous Asset. Mahvalous Asset is by Attache’s Liquid Asset and out of Mahvalous Day, by Sultan’s Great Day. Marjorie Judd put this duo together, and they looked fantastic to take the reserve world’s championship. Last year’s World’s Champion of Champions, Heathermoor’s Prince, was third tonight with new rider Emily Druckman showing under the Carriage Lane banner. He’s My Beau and Katie Moeller rounded out the top four ribbon winners.

Barbara Goodman Manilow put on a bright, showy performance with one of her two walk-trot superstars, Glenview’s Excelalante! In a field full of talent, Excelalante stood out with his big size and stature, not to mention his animated, out-front park trot and remarkable, trademark headset. Just a four-year-old, last year’s reserve world’s grand champion was met in the winner’s circle by Dick Obenauf and Donna Pettry Smith. Smith’s pink tennis shoes matched quite nicely with the gift bag of skin care products donated by Jeffrey Fetzer from his new product line. Excelalante is by Designed and out of Tra La La, a Fine Harness Mare World’s Champion in her own right.

Another big name from the upper Midwest, Nancy Leigh Fisher, had the 2007 Junior World’s Champion of Champions and this year’s under 15.2 qualifier winner, Heavenly Thunder, elevated and primping and bouncing down the rail. It was a tightly contested Louisville as both of the top two entries made fantastic shows. Finishing a popular third, Manila Thrilla and Theresa Vonderschmitt, the over 15.2 winners, put together yet another fantastic performance. World’s Grand Champion in 2006, Manila Thrilla is always a joy to watch.

It was a unanimous win for Seamair Simply Awesome and John Wrather in the Amateur Hackney Pony World’s Championship. In their second year together, Simply Awesome and Wrather moved up a spot in their amateur gentlemen qualifier and the championship, taking both victory passes under the watchful eye of Janet Crampton. Classical Dancer, by Dun-Haven Classic Contender, was the reserve world’s champion tonight, making a powerful show for Kathy Buente.

In the Five-Gaited Pleasure World’s Championship Champagne Treat and  Jennie Turner Garlington repeated their section one win. The CH Heir To Champagne son is out of Great Treat, by Sultan’s Great Day, a full sister to CH Mark Ye Well and a half sister to I Prefer Gold. Garlington and Champagne Treat were simply on fire this week, and there was no stopping them. Last year’s Senior Equitation World’s Champion of Champions, Ali Judah, always brings that flair and pizzazz to her performance rides. She had it all working tonight with Divine Renaissance, earning the reserve world’s championship in their first year in the gaited pleasure division. CH Chandler, no stranger to the winner’s circle in Freedom Hall, was third tonight with Lisa McClaren aboard. Stonewall’s Stargate and Stefanie Sanchez finished up in fourth with another strong show. They won their qualifier earlier in the week.

The last class before the Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Championship saw the Amateur Roadster to Bike entries vie for their world’s championship. Making his fourth performance of the week, Charlie Jones took Mr’s Bones all the way to the winner’s circle, repeating his qualifier win after finishing with a hard-earned third-place tie in the USTA Roadster Classic. A happy and proud Jan Lukens ran down to the winner’s circle to meet this crowd-pleasing team. “Mr’s Bones and Charlie Jones.” It just has a nice ring to it. And it looks great in the ring as well. Amateur ladies winner in her qualifier, Judy McNeish took Thunderbolt, 2007’s USTA Roadster Classic World’s Champion, around the Freedom Hall show ring at top speed to pick up the reserve world’s championship. William Shatner made an appearance with All Glory to pick up the yellow ribbon. Shatner came in for the championship round last year as well, famously flying off with the world’s championship in tow.

So one Title Bound victory pass later, the Friday evening session came to its denouement, with what seemed like the entire Saddlebred community packing into the new North Wing and the Saddlebred Café to take part in CH Blackberry Delight’s retirement party, as well as a live auction put on by the ASHA. It was an historic night on a lot of different levels to be sure.

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