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Louisville - Friday Night



Friday night at Louisville tends to have its ups and downs. The ebb and flow of the program of classes is chopped up by a myriad of things like presentations to scholarship winners, junior judging awards, and occasionally a retirement like that scheduled for CH Tigerlee tonight. Add to that the fact that a good portion of the classes have to be stripped and the vast array of trophies to be given and read off by the announcer in most all of them gets longer as the week progresses. With all that, it always seems to end strong, with three fast and furious events to cap it all off, Junior Five-Gaited, Amateur Roadster to Bike, and Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited.

There is no better place to begin the story of Friday night than with the very last class. It was the stuff of Louisville legend, a story that will be remembered. The story of Bono has been told and re-told everywhere that horses are discussed. The Cliff’s Notes version is that he was injured at Midwest in 2007 and was rushed to Rood & Riddle for surgery. The long road back led him up and down the long aisles of Grey Ridge Farm, working his way back into form. With the patience of saints, owner Karen Mayer and sister and jockey Linda Fischer watched and waited and hoped. Wins at River Ridge and Indianapolis Charity had Bono right where he needed to be, and he went home for the summer to get ready for the big dance. Monday night’s Amateur Ladies Gelding qualifier saw a slightly tentative ride that ended with a fourth place finish.

Heading into tonight, good friend Mary Gaylord McClean got a hold of Linda and told her, "You remember what Redd used to tell us? ‘You go in there and lead the parade!’" Apparently that got the job done, because Linda Fischer rode the hair off of that gelding tonight. When the class was being stripped, Linda said to longtime friend and wardrobe consultant Jeffrey Fetzer, "If I get the green ribbon I am blaming you for making me get this green coat!" Mr. Fetzer need not be worried. As Bono’s name was called out as the unanimous World’s Champion of Champions, Bret Day leaped into the air and punched the sky, letting go with a bloodcurdling "YES!" as he ran through the gate with wife Susi at his side. Assistant Kendall Blue joined them in the ring, earing Bono up for his round of honor. Bret himself was on the opposite side of the ring, overcome with emotion, just walking slowly down his own victory lane, or maybe it was more memory lane. Wiping the tears from his eyes, you couldn’t help but wonder all of the thoughts that must have been going through his mind. Taking this horse that one June night just two years ago, he was struggling to save, all the way back to the top was a monumental task. He would tell you just as he has told countless others that it took the patience and understanding of great owners like the Fischer sisters to make this night possible.

The cavalry arrived to take pictures out in the warmup area, where one of Linda’s very best friends, Lisa Rosenberger, came up and gave her a best friend hug after Linda had dismounted. And dismounting was probably a good idea, because Bono was all set to go another class! Ironic that Bono would want to do an encore. And perhaps it was appropriate that Mark Bodnar was one of the first on the scene back at Grey Ridge, just as he had been on the scene that fateful night in Springfield, joining his father Stan in driving through the night to get Bono to the help that awaited him at Rood & Riddle. A story for the ages, it will go down as one of the best nights of their lives for all involved: Linda Fischer and Karen Mayer, Karen’s husband Trace and daughter Astrid, Astrid’s good friend Griffin Day, and Bret and Susi Day. All of these and many more will never forget the events of a late late evening on August 28, 2009.

A Dream In Color was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions for Kate Codeanne and trainer Rob Turner. Romping to two wins at UPHA Chapter 14 Spring Premiere to open the season, she announced that she was better than ever and ready for 2009. Two hard-fought outings at Bonnie Blue led to two hugely important wins on The Red Mile. Fully back in business, Kate Codeanne whipped the Monday night crowd into a frenzy in Freedom Hall in winning the Amateur Ladies Mare qualifier. We like to write about how this mare is bred, she is by Worthy’s Prodigy and out of Make It Magic, longtime teammate of the one and only Katherine Hansil. The color of her dreams tonight were red, white, yellow and green, as it was a Reserve World’s Championship on the green shavings tonight. Theresa Vonderschmitt had Bob and Tonya Brison more than pleased with her third place performance aboard I’m Something Wicked in one of their best goes to date. It is always a tough call to make as an announcer when to let the crowd loose in full voice for a competitor, and Peter Fenton is the best in the business for a reason. Though this time he really didn’t have much of a choice, as the building shook for the gray mare and her great rider, CH Callaway’s Born For This and Allison Combs. Smith Lilly stood at the gate with his fist in the air, earing up his fourth place finisher on her way out of the ring, with the smile of a lifetime all over her face.

First of those last three classes to close out the evening was the Junior Five-Gaited World’s Championship. In what was a bit of a chaotic class, there were 16 horses to start with. The most up and down, carousel-like breed of show horse turned into a different carnival ride in this one, as it was bumper cars for much of this one. If you’re going to play bumper cars, you better have the biggest, baddest boy in the ring, and Melinda Moore absolutely had that. Coming back from just the second loss of his career on Monday night when he was the Junior Stallion/Gelding Reserve World’s Champion in a huge field and a 10-horse workout, Our First Class Day TS was a standout star tonight. Jet black and strongly built with a wide white stripe, First Class Day just loves to get out and go. Melinda Moore kept him as out of trouble as could be, pounding out a rhythm and rolling down the rail. This is the horse that Donna Moore just can’t get enough of. The grand Miss Donna doesn’t miss a step of her big boy’s performances, coming out at Lexington Junior League to see his double wins there. Grown up, filled out and even more of a show horse this year, First Class Day was the ASR National Futurity Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited World’s Champion and the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic National Champion last year.

Oddly enough, it was a repeat one-two finish from that very UPHA Five-Gaited Classic, as last year’s Reserve National Champion, Break On Through, was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions tonight. That is an interesting bit of trivia, and a rather remarkable feat, as a lot can happen over the course of those nine months between shows, especially with two phenomenally gifted young horses. Then known as Caper’s Spotlight and shown by Louis Louw, Break On Through did just that tonight for Bret Day. Incidentally, Bret was sporting a Burberry vest tonight that good friend Brad Seacrist of Becker Brothers put together along with Dale Becker, who brought back just enough Burberry fabric from New York to make one vest. It was a good luck charm for Grey Ridge tonight, as owner Michelle Krentz burst into tears and leapt into the arms of Tuffy Owens as her entry, co-owned with her mother, Mary Krentz, was called out for second, with a first-place vote. Stallion/Gelding winner Walterway’s Pardon Me was third tonight for Merrill Murray and Larry Hartsock. He was working in high style once again, as all of Merrill’s horses seem to do. Jim Lowry had Catalyst's Blonde Ambition in top form for KC's Dream LLC. By Catalyst and out of a Harrods Burg mare, she made a great show tonight for fourth. It has been a very good week at the fair for Lowry Stables as well.

In between those two classes, Charlie Jones gave the crowd, and certainly himself, a thrill, winning yet again with the powerfully built, long-striding Mr’s Bones. The overall winning streak now sits at 15, as Jones and Bones put it into overdrive and went for broke, romping down victory lane as the Amateur Roadster to Bike World’s Champion of Champions for the second year in a row and their second time showing in this class. Just remember, this team wasn’t even on the map in 2007! They debuted at Tampa Charity in 2008 and took off from there, bursting fully into the public eye at Lexington Junior League, an appropriate track for a Standardbred to make a breakout performance. They captured the Amateur Roadster to Bike Championship there and never looked back. It’s been smooth sailing ever since, as Bones and Jones did just that and sailed down victory lane under the direction of Charlie’s lady, Miss Jan Lukens. Reserve in that very same 2008 Lexington Amateur Roadster to Bike Championship, Valparaiso was reserve tonight for Tom Fiedler under the direction of the busy Jim and Fay Lowry. With a first-place vote in tow, Fiedler tipped his hat as he rode to pick up his reserve tri-color. Ribbon man Ethan Roetman put that tri-color right into Mr. Fiedler’s doffed cap as he sped by on his way out of the show ring. They were this year’s Roadster to Bike Grand Champions at Junior League. Thunderbolt and Judy McNeish, always crowd pleasers, were third tonight for DeLovely, while All Glory and William Shatner earned fourth for Belle Reve.

"I’m so glad it’s over!" said a relieved Kelsey Herbert as she cheered for her dad, Chuck, on his way to the winner’s circle with the ASR Kentucky Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity winner, Nuttin’ To Lose. The day of the Nutcracker continued here in Freedom Hall, as this Friday night session opened with yet another "Nut" in the top spot. After a smashing debut at Midwest Charity, Nuttin’ To Lose made another spectacular performance tonight to take the unanimous decision and over $16,000 in prize money. He is out of Ridin’ On Heir, a Supreme Heir daughter out of an Attache mare. With the Nutcracker chrome, he was a sight tonight. Completing the Nutcracker exacta, Double Or Nuttin’ and Darrell Case were reserve. Another cross with Attache blood, this bay star is out of Beat The Odds, more on her in the next paragraph. Completing the Willowbank trifecta, Tango Cat was third with Dena Lopez for Kay Marschel. This one is by Sir William Robert and out of an Arborlane Tangos Wee Pee mare. A non Willowbank-sired fourth place finisher, Birthday Kiss and Wendy Winstead made some excellent passes for Carl Holden. Birthday Kiss is by Callaway’s Northern Kiss and out of a CH The Talk Of The Town mare.

And here is that next Beat The Odds mention: It was a heck of a way to start the night for this proud mom, as her unbelievably gifted son of Supreme Heir, CH His Supreme Reflection, was crowned the Amateur Park World’s Champion of Champions for the second year in a row. With owner Kimberly Jones cheering her on from the stands, Jacqueline Manzo made a picture perfect performance with her partner under the direction of Tom Sworm. There are few horses in the world like this one. He loves what he does, he is great at it, and he is as consistent as they come. A great representative and ambassador for the breed, he truly is the reflection of his legendary sire. With husband Jim as the talk of the show grounds after the Fine Harness Mare Stake, Shawn Stachowski stepped up to the plate with CH High Heat. Putting on quite possibly their best show together, Shawn and High Heat were rolling along strongly as the Reserve World’s Champions. Cumberland Crescent and Candi Covino Aversenti were once again third, while a qualifier winner, CF Burn Out, was fourth with Cindy Sherman Siders riding for Rita Wheeler.

Harness Pony World’s Grand Champion for the past two years, Heartland Expectation transitioned to the Amateur ranks this year and earned yet another Louisville tri-color. Mary Gise drove once again under the direction of Andy and Lynda Freseth. Liver chestnut with that memorable white stripe, Expectation coming down the rail at you is a look you won’t soon forget. She made memories again tonight as the World’s Champion of Champions. A relatively new longtail teammate for Mary Gaylord McClean, Last Call was the Reserve Champion with an athletic performance. They were reserve in the Amateur Ladies qualifier as well. They were Amateur Champions at Midwest earlier this year.

The 14-17 Five-Gaited Championship was a rollicking affair, as the crowd started picking up on one rider and then another, carrying them down the rail. It was a showdown of the two qualifier winners, Stavinsky and Freaky Links in this one, as Freaky Links hit the ring first, blasting down the first rail with Angela Darrow. Stravinksy and Brittany McGinnis moved in their smooth, steady manner, keeping a good tempo all the way around the ring. Smooth and steady won this race, as Stravinsky never backed an ear and went about his job with style under the direction of DeLovely. By Nureyev, this big, pretty horse has really matured into his role over the course of this year. The Reserve Championship honors went to Freaky Links. Angela Darrow soaked in the applause of the appreciative Louisville audience as she tearfully hugged her horse and made a pass around the judge’s stand on her way out of this ring for the last time as a junior exhibitor. Freaky has been a fan favorite here at Louisville since all the way back in 2003 with Matt Shiflet.

Looking like he wanted to be in the previous class and not in the retirement ceremony planned for him, eight-time World’s Champion CH Tigerlee hit the ring with a vapor trail behind him as he smoked down the rail for Ali DeGray. With a very obvious music choice, it was "Eye of the Tiger" blasting through the speakers after a few tiger roars opened the gates. Ali rode him all the way up the chute with the tri-color ribbon and flowers in tow. Just 12 years old, Tigerlee heads to a life of luxury with his forever family, the Rosburgs and Ali DeGray.

It was forest green for the green shavings, as Dr. Catherine Gallo and Toreador made their third victory pass together in Freedom Hall, first in the Western Country Pleasure Invitational Championship. It was four for four for the West Coast in this Championship, as Fiasco and Doug Glick won the first two events, and Michele Macfarlane and CH Like Thunder were the winners a year ago. With Tim and son Ryan Arcuri making the trip directly to Louisville from showing their Morgan string in Santa Barbara at the Morgan Medallion Classic last weekend, everything was in top order once again tonight for the tri-color jog down victory lane. CH Like Thunder was back again this year as the Reserve Champion. Another one by Chubasco, Thunder is the 19-year-old full brother of CH Sprinkles, the 13-and-Under Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions earlier today. It was a good day for the grand stallion and Faraway Belle, the dam of both of these champions. O Aint I Somethin’ and Luanne Kilday were third, while Monsignor and Marie Gwinn finished in fourth.

The 14-17 World’s Champion of Champions a year ago with stepsister Sarah Werry aboard, CH She’s My Desire BH, was shining brightly once again tonight under the Freedom Hall lights, this time with Jessie Wuesthofen up. Reserve in the qualifier, Jessie put on a park trotting clinic in this one for Glenn A. Werry Jr. and trainer Tom Bombolis. I’m McDreamy made a crowd-pleasing performance to earn the Reserve Championship. With the silver formal coat dancing under the Freedom Hall lights, Hunter Chancellor put on a phenomenal show. This is a horse that can really squat down and strut, moving at a brisk pace down the rail. Drew Taylor Hewitt and Callaway’s Kiss & Tell were third for Lenwood Farms. Folks are going to start picking up on the fact that no matter what horse she is on, "DT" is going to get the best performance out of them. The Great Gaspar and Eleanor Rainbolt Forbes were fourth in this one, not a bad string of show horses for Miss Eleanor, World’s Champion earlier today with Sprinkles.

Undefeated since this very class last year, Regal’s Trademark LF and Mary Gaylord McClean had white carnations to match the white in her blue and white silks and a nice contrast against the dark coat of Trademark. They were number one again tonight as they were in their qualifier, carrying the World’s Championship tri-color back to the Golden Creek banner. This made six victory passes in the five years that Trademark has been to the Kentucky State Fair. Calvin Hobbs had a harness issue in the lineup that had Rich Campbell sprinting across the green shavings to assist Lynda Freseth in correcting. This put driver Kevin Ingram on foot on the green shavings, walking off with the Reserve World’s Championship tonight. They were the tri-color team last season in their tri-color silks. Patrice Watson O’Brien and Mr. Lucky Man, the entry that Rich Campbell was in the ring heading, were third tonight. Heartland Painted Creation and Luanne Kilday were fourth, while the crowd went wild for Free Willy and Jayne Romano in fifth.

Junior Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions last year with Todd Miles, A Travelin’ Man and Ellen Medley Wright topped their tenth class in 10 trips to the show ring, this one on the biggest stage of them all, the 14-17 Three-Gaited World’s Championship. Traveling to the winner’s circle in her green formal coat, Ellen Medley was a shining star on the green shavings. By Tornaado (SA), Travelin’ Man is out of Travelin’, by Harlem Globemaster and out of CH Gamin, a walk-trot World’s Champion. The other Wuesthofen girl, Faye, Jessie’s older sister, was the family’s star in the older age group as she picked up the reserve tri-color with Heir To A Star for Glenn A. Werry Jr. Heir To A Star was Amateur Gentlemen World’s Champion in 2006 and 2007 with Glenn T. Werry up. The girls’ nanny, Margaret Courter, must be doing a terrific job! CH Heathermoor’s Prince and Emily Druckman earned a tough third, while Tyler Miles, who always seems to bring the crowd into it, was fourth with CH Callaway’s Merry-Go-Round for Dorchester Farm.

It looked like CH Call Me Ringo was going to win the ASR National Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity, but then they called him Call Me Regal instead. About as dead ringer as a horse can be for his sire, Call Me Regal has the same markings, the same coloring, that same signature strut. Watch him come at you down the rail and, other than the thickness and extra muscle that comes with being an aged stallion, you wouldn’t realize it was the bigger son and not the original. Three trips to Louisville have been turned into three World’s Championships for Call Me Regal, all with different exhibitors. In 2007, it was Doug Fritz at the lead for the ASR Kentucky Amateur Yearling Futurity World’s Championship. In 2008, he was the stunner that set the crowd on fire as a Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Champion, still under the ownership of Belle Reve. That one was with Tré Lee aboard. Purchased at Louisville by Robin McKenzie Vuillermet, he was bought again later that fall by current owners, Crown Valley Farm LLC. Now directed by David Blevins, he is working on an undefeated career in harness and under saddle, the lone blemish was in the ASR Kentucky Yearling Futurity, where he was fourth. He is as pure "Fine Harness" as they come, and he showed the world what he is made of tonight. The Reserve Champion was Hillcroft Rare Fortune. With Smith Lilly driving for Bill Beckley, Rare Fortune worked in the style of all of Smith’s horses, very high in the bridle and enjoying his work. Bred by Misdee Wrigley Miller, he is by Lakeview’s Rare-A-Phi and out of Fortune, herself a winner of this class in 1997. A bit of an oddity, but not as rare in these days of embryo transfers, the third and fourth place horses in this class are full brothers. By Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of CH Heir Style, Tchaikovsky was third with Darrell Case driving for Cherokee Saddlebreds LLC. In A Nutshell was fourth for Bob Brison and B & T Vonderschmitt LLC.

In an examination of the cards from the Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited World’s Championship, it becomes abundantly clear just how closely matched the top three horses were last night. So close in fact, that we were a single vote away from sending them back to the rail with a true tie! It was a 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-4 that ended with Glenview’s Excelalante! heading to the winner’s circle with Barbara Goodman Manilow. It was a direct reversal of the top three from the Over 2 qualifier. In a battle of three different styles, it was the big, rangy, impossibly long-necked Excelalante that won out, earning this tri-color ribbon for the second year in a row. By Designed, he is a son of the great black harness mare, Tra La La. Second in the Over 2 qualifier, Angel Innocence was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions tonight with Laura Dozer Elliott. Punched up and strokin’ Angel Innocence is by Belle Reve’s Renaissance Man and out of a General Steel mare. Over 2 winner Juliette’s Deja Blue was third tonight with Andrea Athanasuleas. High and lofty in the bridle and displaying as true a park trot as they come, Deja Blue’s performance tonight was dedicated to Andrea’s grandmother, Frances Johnson, who was here tonight from California celebrating her 91st birthday. "We’ll see you back here next year," said announcer Peter Fenton.

Seamair Simply Awesome. Can we just leave it at that at this point? We wouldn’t do that to you, loyal readers, but really what is left to say about this incredible bay gelding? He made it 22 in a row tonight with John Wrather driving under the direction of Janet Crampton to take the Amateur Hackney Pony World’s Championship. Brought out by Darrel Kolkman as a three-year-old, Simply Awesome is by Dun-Haven Truly Awesome and out of Heartland Simplicity, the dam of Seamair Strutter and Seamair Sensation. They were repeat World’s Champions of Champions tonight in Freedom Hall. Kathy Buente was up for reserve to also repeat her finish from last year with Classical Dancer. By Dun-Haven Classic Contender, Classical Dancer is out of a Mr. Hawkeye mare. This was the same finish for this star performer as in 2005 and 2006, when it was the late Ed Frickey at the lines. New England’s new team of Marjorie Kenny and Exhilarating made for a strong third place finish.

Steve Buttleman sounded the "Call to the Hall" for the Five-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship. A qualifier winner in 2006, 2008 and again here in 2009, Stefanie Sanchez had never been able to capture the tri-color here in Freedom Hall. That all changed in a big way, as it was CH Stonewall’s Stargate to be the top dog here. Sanchez put it all on the line, making her finest performance on the biggest stage. The brightest lights in the business shone down on this gorgeous chestnut son of Society’s Bright Penny. He is out of a Sultan’s Santana mare. Kim Cowart’s 50th birthday just kept getting better as she and husband Peter are the trainers of this star. Stefanie rode all the way to the winner’s circle patting her teammate and friend on the shoulder. Susi and Griffin Day were part of the presentation picture, giving the CH Moses Perpetual Trophy in a poignant moment, as this is the first time it has been presented since his passing. A scholarship was also given in his memory. Reserve in her qualifier and the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions here, Elisabeth Goth has certainly teamed up well with Love Bite. Directed by Kalarama, Love Bite is a big, big chestnut gelding by Time Out For Lovin’. He has a rangy way of going that fits his size perfectly. The winner of this class last year and a qualifier winner this year, Champagne Treat and Jennie Turner Garlington were third, also trained by Kalarama. Just Heavenly and Anitya Marlowe looked every bit of the CF First Night Out mare’s name to take fourth.

A few classes later, Bono sent the Friday night crowd out into the already late night, with just one more day to play at the 106th edition of the World’s Championship Horse Show.

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