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Louisville - Friday Evening

When it comes to Freedom Hall, it is no guts no glory. If you want to talk about guts, look no further than a girl signing up to ride two high-powered, high-test, ultra competitive classes in one night… with a torn ACL. Then throw a second workout at her. Watch her get better. With the black knee brace all but disappearing into the sheen of her drop dead gorgeous formal suit, Hunter Chancellor rose to an occasion that few in the world, let alone a 17-year-old girl, would be capable of rising to. It was the class of the night and in the conversation for class of the week. The 14-17 Three-Gaited Championship was a knockdown, drag-out fight, so tough in fact that after these young riders gassed their horses to vie for that sought after tri-color, three were asked to do it all over again. Let’s put the reigning World’s Grand Champion, the reigning World’s Champion of Champions in this division, and a qualifier winner back on the rail and have some fun. As loud as the crowd was in the first go, they got louder the second time around.

Each one of these lady riders laid it all on the line, and why not? This is the final year of junior exhibitor competition for all three. With nothing left to lose, they rode for all they were worth. With the traffic out of the way, it was a Platinum Moon rising to the top, as the brilliant bay gelding brightened up and got even better. Hunter hung tough, digging in for the DeLovely banner and Steven E. Chancellor. The crowd cheered every pass of these three, urging on their favorite. It was Hunter that took the big prize here, as Platinum Moon was judged to be the best. The announcer kept both the second and third place horses in the ring to acknowledge one of the greatest juvenile classes Louisville has ever seen. Hannah Houske and The Mighty Mouse were the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions, as the raucous crowd let them hear a great salute of appreciation. Milo Jones came to the gate to head up their trot out for Shelby Farm and Stable. The twice World’s Champion of Champions made the most of his final time in this spotlight with Hannah. Maya Manilow came in the ring loaded for bear tonight, blasting down the chute with Glenview’s Excelalante. The Section Two World’s Champion left a lot in that first go round, settling for a hard-earned third for Skyline Stables. It was no small feat in this class, as this level of competition will rarely if ever be seen again. Caroline Rainbolt Forbes was best of the balance of the field in fourth, yet another great prize in here. She rode Watermark’s A Kiss For Luck for the Rainbow Princess Farms.

A feat that sets our breed apart from the Thoroughbred race horses, full siblings that are the same age showed today. One went this afternoon in Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited as a Reserve World’s Champion; the other opened the show tonight as the ASR Two-Year-Old Fine Harness National Futurity Champion. While it was Undulata’s Optical Illusion ERB during the daytime, it was Undulata’s Crystal Crown AMF tonight. This Undulata’s Nutcracker x CH Crystal Illusion filly carries the “AMF” suffix of Alde-Mar Farms and Janet Kellett, owner and breeder of this breathtaking young horse. Johanna Kapioltas made the drive from the Undulata Farm team to win the lion’s share of the purse. Rose Arbor Farm and Joellen Fisher Blount have produced some tremendous prospects in the last few years, with many of them coming from her harness mare, Tornaado’s Tidal Wave. The Reserve World’s Champion here is out of her walk-trot mare, World’s Champion She’s My Desire BH. Rose Arbor Destiny took this prize with John Conatser at the lines. Sired by Undulata’s Nutcracker, Destiny was a winner in this division at Midwest Charity. The Code Cracker, Amateur Two-Year-Old In Hand Futurity winner yesterday, won even more money today in third with Smith Lilly for Anita Simpson.

It was a bay kind of day in the Amateur Park Championship. All four in the top half of the prizes were that gorgeous combination of brown and black. It was 10 years ago this week, perhaps even this same day of the week, that CH Brookhill’s Periday made his show ring debut. Jackie Tanner was aboard that day, as the Periaptor x CH It’s A Beautiful Day cross took a Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Championship. It’s A Beautiful Day, as an aside, is also the dam of CH She’s My Desire BH, producer of the Reserve World’s Champion in our night’s opener. Periday has made a habit of being in the upper half of the qualifier prizes, then coming back to claim the tri-color. He did this in 2008 as the Open World’s Champion of Champions with Jim Cherry, then again last year and once again this year. The now two-time defending Amateur World’s Champion of Champions and James Sigmon made a great show to take this tri-color yet again under the direction of Mike Barlow. Qualifier winner Kalarama’s Delightful was up for the reserve title. Megan McClure made a top show for Karen McClure and the West Wind banner aboard the Harlem’s Friendly Conversation son. Putting it all together in the biggest week of the year, this team rode loose and relaxed in a wide-open park horse style. Seven Spanish Angels and Deborah Orr were a delight in third, followed by CH Juliette’s Deja Blue, Amateur Mare World’s Champion, and Andrea Athanasuleas in fourth.

With a packed house of 13 in the Amateur Harness Pony World’s Championship, it was good to stand out. It’s hard to stand out more than a golden chestnut pony with all sorts of blonde trimming. Combine that with tremendous turnout of Susan Olcott, and you have a recipe for a tri-color. Mike Hylton directed this round of honor. On the week now, Heartland Queen Of The Road has finished three classes with the prizes blue, red, and yellow. She combined all three of those in one ribbon tonight. Producer of two World’s Champions this week, Twin Willow’s Handsome Dan earned the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title with Jeff McClean driving hard for Golden Creek Farms. They were the Amateur Gentlemen’s winners earlier this week and had won this class the previous two years. CH Crystal Creek’s Commander and Sandra Surber made a great drive for third, followed by Major Impact and Karen Frickey in fourth.

Out With The Ladies won his first ever World’s Championship on Tuesday. He won his second here tonight, as Maya Manilow continued a dream week in her final show as a junior exhibitor. This tri-color came in the 14-17 Five-Gaited World’s Championship. Donna Pettry Smith was fist pumping like a champ as Kenny Smith headed up Maya’s victory pass. Mom Barbara has been absolutely beside herself with pride all week long as her daughter has ridden the hair off of horse after horse. Camille Cowart stepped it up for the money round, finishing as the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions with her Callaway’s Born To Ride. The wildly athletic chestnut gelding is by CH Callaway’s Born To Win and out of Callaway’s Carina. Third in this class a year ago, they have been on a terrific run ever since, finishing in the top two at every show they have been to. CH Platinum’s New Look and Hunter Chancellor closed out their junior exhibitor career on the green shavings in third, with He’s Full Throttle and Drew Taylor Hewitt rocking in fourth under the Clouse Stables banner.

It’s been a heck of a summer for Liz Schultz. Not only did she graduate from the University of Wisconsin this year, she has also been on a great run with CH The Evangelist. Winners of the Shatner Finals last year, these two have rattled off a dozen wins since then, including the Western Country Pleasure World’s Championship tonight. Instead of going with the bright white outfit that sent her to the winner’s circle in St. Louis last year, Liz went with a pale blue choice to offset from the white rails of Freedom Hall. No matter the clothes, she was twice a World’s Champion this week for the Equitate LLC banner of Sheri Brandl. From the Idle Hour Saddlebreds, Late Last Night and Jennifer Moritz had perhaps their best ride yet, saving it for the biggest of stages. With the lights up bright, they made a comeback performance to be crowned Reserve World’s Champion of Champions. Buttoned Down and Grace Arnold were top three once again, followed by Laurie Fowler and The Power Of One in fourth.

Jess Holmes and the Grey Ridge team had a grand moment on the green shavings tonight, as the great CH Ninety-Eight Degrees graced Freedom Hall for the final time. The long list of his accomplishments in this ring was impressive indeed, as Bret and Susi Day stripped his saddle and set the stage for a final walk of honor. The cast of characters was numerous, as was his list of accolades as one of the grandest show horses this ring has ever seen.

It was a bit of a rodeo for a while in the 13-and-Under Three-Gaited World’s Championship, but the young riders held it together and weathered the herky jerky tempo of the class. Every time you looked up, Emma Sanchez was there, making pass after pass with CH Heathermoor’s Prince. Long a star with kids in the three-gaited division, the Merchant Prince son has won this class before. It was 2007 when he took top honors back to West Wind once again, that time with Camille Cowart aboard. Since then, he has had different teammates and won another world title, that one with Gabe Deknatel in 2010. Sharyn Lackey brought him back to the West Wind row for granddaughter Emma, and the rest is history. Alex Rudder turned it around in a big way, rocking the green shavings in reserve aboard her beloved The Proof Is In The Heir. There was a big hug for the Wingswept-trained entry of David Rudder when his number was called out. Alex and trainer Stephanie Sedlacko have a special bond, as do Alex and her equine best friend. Twice winners at Lexington again this year, they were right on point tonight. “I went from zero to hero,” said Alex, putting it all in perspective for us all once again. Caroline Brackenridge and Payton Lynn Walker finished up in third for Ronald and Virginia Stanley, with A Storm Star and Rose Marie Wheeler fourth.

Sugarland finished off his greatest Louisville with another Freedom Hall victory pass with Elisabeth Goth. Rich Campbell headed them up for Majestic Oaks. Four for four on the year, they have faced down the toughest of competition to come away as the Amateur Road Pony World’s Champion of Champions. This is their third world title together. Sugarland was breathtaking at Midwest, drawing comparisons to some of the greats of all time, and he continued his winning ways here under the bright lights. World’s Champion of Champions a year ago, Regal’s Lightning Strike LF came up one spot short tonight with Mary Gaylord McClean driving to reserve honors for Golden Creek Farms. The 2011 World’s Grand Champion has speed to burn, keeping his consistent form as he steps on. Lightning Strike is by Dun-Haven Regal Attraction and out of a Rhythm’s Spirit mare. Candi Aversenti made a great drive in this deep field to earn third for and Ed and Candi Aversenti and trainers Randy and Denessa Harper. Ali DeGray and Romeo’s Kristy Lee LF continued their great run with a fourth place tie for Helen Rosburg.

It has been an undefeated career for We Must Be Nuts, and it continued tonight in the ASR National Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity. Twice a winner here as a weanling and the winner of the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity a year ago, We Must Be Nuts was shown this time by Jim Cherry. Purchased after his winning drive a year ago, the Undulata’s Nutcracker x Evangelique cross is owned by Grace Arnold. Big with an impossibly long, hingy neck, We Must Be Nuts is a star in the making, now seven for seven in his lifetime. Earlier today we wrote that Tornaado’s Tidal Wave needed one more Reserve World’s Champion in order to be eligible for the Broodmare Hall of Fame. Along comes Rose Arbor’s Valentino. This one is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of the brilliant producer. Dena Lopez was the driver tonight, as she was this afternoon with Rose Arbor Heartbreaker. Joellen Fisher Blount is the owner and breeder once again, as she continues to raise top young stock. Melissa Moore and Las Vegas First Edition finished in third for Sandra Corney Stables, followed by I’m A Fashionista and Bob Brison in fourth for Redwing Farm.

The Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited World’s Championship had a theme of three, as CH A Travelin’ Man was the choice of all three judges, winning it for the third straight year with Ashley Wilson. Having come up one spot shy for just the third time in his career in the Monday night qualifier, Travelin’ Man was primed and ready to defend his crown for the DeLovely team. Jacqueline Beck was the pick as the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions with her new teammate, Heir To A Kiss. Neil Visser directs this new team for Golden Lantern Farms. By Callaway’s Northern Kiss and out of Belle Heiress, this chestnut gelding never drops an ear, loving his job. Hi On Heir and Phyllis Brookshire were third from Matt Shiflet Stables, followed by Jim Carrey and Patrice Watson O’Brien in fourth for Ashlyn Farms.

It was back to back years with a standing ovation for Faydelle Schott and CH Heartland Fortune Maker. Another who was reserve in the qualifier and cranked it back up for the money round, these two were directed to the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship by Bob Phillips for the second year in a row. Syracuse’s perennial Best In Show, Fortune Maker is a punched up powerhouse of a pony, always seeming to rise to the tenor of the moment. Qualifier winner Heartland Rough And Ready was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions tonight with Toni Nastali. Driving under the Majestic Oaks banner, Toni has enjoyed some great success this week and all season long with both horses and ponies. Rough And Ready is a totally different type of cobtail, long and lean with a more open way of moving. On The Mark and Karen Waldron finished up third for the Bent Tree Farm.

Getting better and better as the class wore on, CH Take A Guess was the Five-Gaited Pleasure World’s Champion of Champions for the second time in the last four years. Showing under the Grey Ridge banner, Take A Guess got brilliant guidance from longtime partner Michelle Krentz Partridge. It’s always a special moment for a Grey Ridge team to win this class, as it comes with a trophy in honor of CH Moses, shown by Susi Rambler to many a World’s Championship in this division. Twice reserve this week, CH Callaway’s Kit Carson and Susan Shepherd took this Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title back to the Pleasantview banner. A World’s Champion a year ago, Kit Carson and Susan have had an incredible career thus far, and they show no signs of slowing down, continuing to churn out great performances. Jennie Turner Garlington and Champagne Treat were third, followed by Grand Master Flash and Deborah Butler in fourth.

Fox Grape’s The Tiger Lily has been one of the most talked about horses of the last two years. Impossibly talented, she burst onto the scene a year ago as the ASR Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited National Futurity World’s Champion with Steve Wheeler. She won again here on Sunday night in the ASR Four-Year-Old Five-Gaited Sweepstakes and capped off her week with the Junior Five-Gaited Championship tonight. Bred and owned by Fox Grape Farm, Tiger Lily is by Dorian Wild Temper and out of Callaway’s Carnation, by Caramac. She combines ethereal beauty with big movement and athleticism. This class was another example of two totally different types of entries, as Undulata’s Special Ed was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions with Mitch Clark making a California cool ride for Edward R. Bennett. By Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Callaway’s Someone Special, Special Ed is a powerhouse of a chestnut with lots of icing. He racked and trotted up a storm for reserve honors. Nelson Green and the hooked up Forever A Mystery were third for owner/breeder Theresa Vonderschmitt. Tiffany Wheeler completed the prizes for Fox Grape and Autumn Hills in fourth with Fox Grape’s Sierra Madre.

Thunderbolt struck again in the Amateur Roadster to Bike World’s Championship, as William Shatner beamed his way up to the winner’s circle for the second straight year. It was just last season that he and Thunderbolt really came together in this very class, and they haven’t looked back since, winning seven of eight since that night, including the championships at the American Royal and Lexington. Bill drives the heck out of this horse for the DeLovely banner. Ann MacMurray Cox made the trip in from Bloomfield, New Brunswick to claim the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title with Zeus. This horse was third a year ago in the USTA Roadster Classic, which was actually won by his new trainer, Luman Wadhams.

Both of the Amateur Ladies classes tonight featured threepeats, as CH Break On Through earned Laura Elliott another blanket of flowers, two tri-colors, and a ReporTV interview. The Autumn Hills team was yet another that took it to the next level for the Championship, stepping up one notch to take the last pass. These two really got it going second way, closing with that all-important second-way rack that sealed the deal in unanimous style. Jacqueline Beck earned her second Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title of the night with a grand ride aboard Divine Asset. She teams these two reserves with two top threes and three World’s Championship rounds of honor in a phenomenal week. This team won the Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Mare title earlier this week. My Rosalita and Barbara Goodman Manilow closed strong in third for Skyline Stables, while Memories Of Cabo and Caitlin Leith had a consistent ride in fourth from West Wind. 

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