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Louisville - Friday Night

The marathon that is Friday night in Freedom Hall crossed the finish line at just past 10:45, checking in at a cool four hours and fifteen minutes. It ended with a bang however, as the Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Championship looked good on paper and then delivered with a flourish. Earlier this week, Laura Michelle Dozer-Elliott scored a second straight Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding World’s Championship with Break On Through. Tonight, they took it to the next level, as “Jimmy” put on a sensational show. This rackin’ fool has always done well in this ring, but tonight he had another level to his game. As he continues to get older and stronger, he rocks even farther back in the bridle. Tonight, he wore his ears every step of the way and looked incredible doing it. Steve and Tiffany Wheeler have had about as good a week as could be asked for, winning a deep and talented class here in this one. Two years ago, Break On Through was the Junior Five-Gaited Reserve World’s Champion of Champions. His familiarity with this track made it plenty easy for Laura Michelle to put him everywhere she needed him to go. They made a couple passes racking off the rail that were just textbook. Also making a rollicking show was Ali DeGray, as she made the most of her time in the ring, working Most Definitely Diamonds to the utmost of her ability. Winners of the mare qualifier, these two were reserve tonight for James and Helen Rosburg and Ruth Gimpel Stables. These were the same prizes these two picked up in the amateur division at Lexington. Ali did her happy dance, the side to side bouncing in the saddle one, as she picked up the reserve tricolor. A year ago it was CH Callaway’s Born For This wearing gray trimmed in tricolor. She settled for the yellow ribbon tonight, as Allison Combs gave it her all for Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie Shires and the Mercer Springs crew. Ceil Wheeler and The Mighty Moe earned a fourth place prize for Ceil and Kenny Wheeler and Carriage Lane Farm. Brittany McGinnis and Stravinsky took on the competition in the amateur division for the first time to take fifth. Their junior exhibitor career ended a year ago with three world titles to their credit.

While it was Autumn Hills capping off the performance, it was Autumn Hills kicking it off as well! Steve Wheeler took the first last pass of the night, this one in the ASR Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity. Steve was at the lines of a big framed chestnut colt with a wide, white stripe. His beautifully shaped neck is set on just right, and he couldn’t be any truer trotting. Obviously by Belle Reve’s Renaissance Man, this is Renaissance Man’s Medici. Named after one of the godfathers of the Renaissance, Medici is out of Steel Available, by General Steel. A strong contender as a futurity baby, Medici earned nearly $18,000 in finishing third in the All American Weanling Cup in 2009. Another who found good success as a baby, Bump In The Night earned about $6,500 last year, with a Reserve World’s Championship in the ASR Yearling Futurity and a top three in the Yearling Breeders Open. Somewhere, Jim Aikman is reading this and smiling. A second top entry by At Night on this Friday in Freedom Hall, Bump In The Night is out of CF Chief’s Happy Days. Her second dam is Happy Twenty-First, the dam of the great stallion, CF First Night Out. At Night himself was the winner of this very class in 2005. He accumulated over $30,000 in futurity prize money as a youngster and now seems set on becoming a good breeding horse, perhaps the heir apparent to First Night Out in the Blythewood shed. Talk Is Money finished third with Rob Tanner at the lines for the Double D Ranch. This full brother to Let’s Talk is by Sir William Robert and out of Soft Spoken. His second dam is none other than the grand walk-trot mare, CH Jane Doe. Winner of the Most Fun Name and Best Celebrity Parents awards in this one went to fourth-place finisher Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut. Darrell Case drove the cross of Undulata’s Nutcracker and Heavenly Thunder for owner and breeder Nancy Leigh Fisher.

Perfect and precise every single step of the way, CH Doctor Zhivago reigned supreme atop the Amateur Park World’s Championship. His consistency all the way around the ring shone through in the acclaim of all three judges. The black and white spotted gelding went a powerful park trot, making consecutive straight line passes down the middle that were accentuated by the fact that he never dropped an ear. Maguire Hall put on a clinic tonight, rating him perfectly and never finding herself out of position. Dena Lopez directed this team to the tricolor this year. A year ago, it was Dena herself aboard to take the Open Three-Gaited Park World’s Championship. It took that kind of a performance for them to come out ahead of the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions, as Lady Bravada took that honor with Barbara Goodman Manilow. Tasting defeat for the first time in their career together, Barbara and Lady Bravada were also unanimous in reserve. It was more a credit to the impeccable ride by Maguire than a censure of Lady Bravada’s performance. She was exquisite, just as she was in winning the Amateur Park Mare class. She is everything that the park division represents, with her big, free-moving ways. She resides at Skyline Stables under the direction of Kenny and Donna Smith. World’s Champion of Champions a year ago, CH Perfect Vengeance took Tara Grom to a third-place finish here for Bob and Kim Grom. Directed by DeLovely, Tara put on yet another grand performance, as she always seems to raise her game on the green shavings. Reserve World’s Champion of Champions a year ago, Cumberland Crescent came in fourth for Candi Covino Aversenti.

Two different types of harness ponies topped the Amateur Harness Pony Championship, as it was Twin Willow’s Handsome Dan taking top honors as the unanimous World’s Champion of Champions. Jeff McClean was at the whip as per usual for the Golden Creek Farms, Tom Lowry joined him in the winner’s circle. Jet black with a white star and stripe, Handsome Dan is an expressive and athletic example of a longtail. He is long and fine and well put together. By Twin Willow’s McMillan, he is out of a Vindicator mare. Impress My Daddy has enjoyed one of his finest weeks in Freedom Hall, winning two Reserve World’s Championships with Georgia Blevins for Blevins Farm and the Majestic Oaks team. Punched up and pretty, this longtime star of the longtail division is now 15 years old and is enjoying one of his finest campaigns. Finishing third for the second consecutive year, Regal’s Norma Jean LF and Stephany Monteleone accepted the yellow ribbon   under the direction of Abel Vega. They were the 2009 UPHA Harness Pony Classic National Champions.

Hunter Chancellor showcased her gaited partner to perfection tonight with one electric pass after another. CH Platinum’s New Look hit the ring and set it ablaze, with a phenomenal first direction, followed by an even more impressive second way. It’s hard to say which is Tonto’s best gear, as he is strong and true in all of them. Buckled up in the bridle, he took the 14-17 Five-Gaited World’s Championship back to DeLovely for Steven Chancellor. For Platinum’s New Look, this is his eighth Louisville round of honor, his sixth with Hunter aboard. Undeniably a true team, they were undeniable in victory tonight. While “turn of foot” is a big buzzword up the street at Churchill Downs, it could be used to describe Reserve World’s Champion of Champions Thunderstorm Warning as well. Speedy moving with fast legs and that aforementioned quick turn of foot, Thunderstorm Warning is shown in wide open style by Tyler DeVore for Tammy and Tyler DeVore. Always a crowd pleaser, especially with the popular young Tyler aboard, Thunderstorm Warning was reserve a year ago in the County Fair Five-Gaited Championship. Wearing the blanket of flowers and tricolors a year ago, Fight Night was third tonight with Andrew Slater up for Pamela Slater under the Kalarama banner. Maya Manilow and Out With The Ladies capped off the top four ribbon winners for Barbara Goodman Manilow.

It was black on black with plenty of bling, as the perfectly turned out CH America’s Lass and Suzanne Bradshaw took their second World’s Championship of the week in the Western Country Pleasure division. With just two years of western experience under their belts, this team turns in consistently brilliant performances, winning eight times on the year against just one reserve. The lovely Grace Arnold was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions aboard Buttoned Down. Just seven years old, the beautiful chestnut matches well with the beautiful blonde. Directed by Jim Cherry, Buttoned Down was reserve for the second time this week after taking the tri-color a year ago. Luanne Kilday and O Ain’t I Somethin’ capped off their first Louisville with another third place prize, while CH Worthy One’s Party Dude and Megan Novak took the white ribbon back to Country Meadow Farm.

Three times a World’s Champion in harness, HS Dignitary earned his first under saddle world title in the 13-and-Under Three-Gaited World’s Championship. As part of A Daydream Believer Day here at the fair, Dignitary could have capped off the incredible mare’s Broodmare Hall of Fame resume in a single day. She had two World’s Champions and a Reserve World’s Champion show today. Dignitary is by Sir William Robert. He made a wonderfully consistent show today, with his impressive headset on full display. Courtney McGinnis finished off an outstanding week with this trip down victory lane, wearing her sky blue formal coat. Directed by DeLovely, Dignitary is owned by Fish Creek Stables. Famously the 14-17 World’s Champion of Champions a year ago with Marjorie Townsend, CH An Heir About Her’s riding assignment fell to lucky girl Alice Rowland. Trained by Missy Hughes at Ever Glades Farm, An Heir About Her needs no introduction to the green shavings. She has 10 World’s Championships on her resume, including three World’s Grand Championships and the 13-and-Under Three-Gaited Section One blue earlier in the week. Molly Codeanne made some stellar passes to take third for Cedarledge Farm with Callaway’s Born With Style. Molly is also born with style, as her mom is Triple Crown winner Kate Harvey Codeanne. She was the 13-and-Under Champion at Lexington with “Zoey” under the Cater Stables banner. Macey Miles caught another ride aboard Hillcroft Claret to finish fourth for Hillcroft Farm and Kalarama.

The grand old man finished as the Amateur Road Pony World’s Champion of Champions. No, we are not speaking of Charlie Jones, though he did head up the round of honor. This was, in fact, the great CH Free Willy. Jayne Romano put him through his paces, always staying ahead of the pack and romping down the rail. She had a ball, as her daughter, Paula Percoco, and granddaughters cheered her on. Jan Lukens strode out into the ring with her one of a kind (much like Jan herself)  cane to join in the winner’s circle. As Jan left through the side gate, Bret Day suggested that Jayne should have stopped in her victory pass and picked her up to give her a ride back to the barn, to which Jan wholeheartedly agreed! Showing as always with his chin to his chest, another champion pony, CH Calvin Hobbs, took the reserve honors with Kevin Ingram. The navy red and gold silks shone brightly under the lights of Freedom Hall, as the entry of James Dellinger cruised to a second Reserve World’s Championship on the week, his eighth overall to go with his seven World’s Championship wins. He is an incredibly gifted athlete and one that always brings his “A game” for the Hollow Haven team. The purple and lime green silks of Amy Roberts left the ring in third with Heartland Resplendent, while Landon Rowland got a nice sendoff in fourth with The Wizard LF.

Following the road ponies to the ring was the annual retirement ceremony. This one was for one of the finest and most elegant walk-trot mares to ever grace the show ring. It is the right word to use here for CH Our Charming Lady, as that was the barn name given to her, “Grace.” Joining from the far end of the ring for the “Our Charming Lady, This Is Your Life” show were the likes of Bill and Debbie Tomin, Rob and Jackie Tanner, Dave and Dena Lopez, Mike Roberts, Gayle Lampe, Avis Girdler, Bud Willimon, Bridget Parker, Vickie Byrd, Gordon Ingram and Andy Johns. Leading that group to the ring were Grace’s forever owners, Jack and Donna Finch. Their love for this mare was palpable throughout the beautiful ceremony, as Mary Orr smiled through the tears as she led the two-time World’s Grand Champion from the ring for the final time. Never beaten in Freedom Hall, Our Charming Lady wore the roses one final time, leaving the ring to a second, rousing standing ovation.

The Mighty Mouse was most definitely on his way, but this time it was not to save the day, he was just headed to the winner’s circle. Hannah Houske was the happiest girl in the ring, as she rode to the far end to collect her first Louisville win. Milo Jones and Koren Mercer joined her for a celebration and round of honor. A winner at Lexington and Reserve World’s Champion in their qualifier, this son of Sir William Robert and Hollywood Bucks topped this 14-17 Three-Gaited World’s Championship. Absolutely ecstatic, laughing, hugging her horse, and smiling from ear to ear, Ashley Baird capped off a dream day on the green shavings with Reserve World’s Champion of Champions honors aboard Callaway’s Rosemary And Thyme. A Reserve World’s Champion in her qualifier a year ago, Ashley put on her best performance yet with “Rose” to earn this prize. Scott Matton directed from the rail, as the MBA Equestrians entry gave Ashley the ride of a lifetime. She had perhaps the best reaction of the week to her reserve win, proving once again that at Louisville it’s not always about the ribbon, sometimes it’s about the ride. Section One qualifier winner CH I’m McDreamy took top three honors for Hunter Chancellor and owner Steve Chancellor. CH Marching Orders came back strong to finish fourth for Maya Manilow and her mom, Barbara Goodman Manilow.

A year ago, it was a Saturday night show and a Fine Harness Reserve World’s Grand Championship for CH A Travelin’ Man and Todd Miles. Tonight, Todd did his directing from the rail, as it was Ashley Wilson taking a unanimous World’s Championship in the Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited division. Travelin’ Man may be as consistent a show horse as has ever graced these hallowed halls. In 36 trips to the show ring in his still young career, he has won 34 blues. The other two classes? He finished second, with one of those being in the aforementioned Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship. Sired by Tornaado and out of a Harlem Globetrotter mare, Travelin’ Man puts his head in just a perfect place and inexorably marches to the winner’s circle. Andrea Athanasuleas made it two years in a row to earn the reserve title in this class, as her homebred CH Juliette’s Deja Blue made that lilting park trot work to perfection. She is as light a mover as can be found, barely seeming to touch the ground, and hanging in the air in that wonderful walk-trot way. Matt Shiflet couldn’t have been prouder of his team, nor could mom and owner Chris Athanasuleas. Twice a winner of their qualifier here, Deja Blue and Andrea are always in the mix wherever they go. World’s Champion of Champions the last three years, Glenview’s Excelalante! finished up in third tonight with Barbara Goodman Manilow. Kenny and Donna Smith direct this team from their Skyline Stables. One of the most celebrated young horses of all time, Excelalante has six World’s Championships to his credit. He was famously the 2007 Three-Gaited Reserve World’s Grand Champion with Chuck Herbert before being selected by Barbara Manilow. Wee Pee’s Storm and Ali DeGray finished up in fourth for James and Helen Rosburg.

Simply awesome. Simply stunning. Simply a star. And simply the Amateur Hackney Pony World’s Champion of Champions. Again. It has now been four years without a Freedom Hall loss for Seamair Simply Awesome and John Wrather. Owned by Charlotte Wrather and trained by Janet Crampton, Simply Awesome will go down as one of the greatest cob-tails to ever park trot over the green shavings. Reserve in this class a year ago and champion at Junior League just last month, On The Mark has been just that. Amateur Ladies World’s Champion on Tuesday night, he once again teamed with Karen Waldron to take the reserve title for Bent Tree Farm and Ella Stables. By the great Mark Of Excellence, he is out of Putting On The Ritz, by Tijuana Brass. Incredibly fine for a cob-tail, Heartland Rough And Ready was third with Toni Nastali driving under the Majestic Oaks banner.

DeVore Stables continued their good night, as Tammy DeVore and Scott Perrelli made the run to the winner’s circle to greet Billy Deluxe and Cece Hagan in the Five-Gaited Pleasure Championship. Way high up in the bridle and never backing an ear, this racking machine was the unanimous choice of the judges. Billy Deluxe was 100% show horse here tonight. Sired by CH Superior’s Successor, he is out of a Talk Of The Town mare, hence the slick rack. He was born to it. Making his best show yet with Cece Hagan on the biggest of stages, Billy Deluxe could be one to star in this division for many years to come. Wearing a lovely pale blue coat, Kate Codeanne picked up the reserve tricolor with a big smile on her face aboard A Dream In Color. “Carmen” has taken to her new division in high style this year under the direction of Rob Turner. Such a beautiful mare, she stands out from the crowd even before Kate puts her in just the right spot to be seen. She made a smashing show for Cedarledge Farm here tonight, as mother and daughter both finished in the top three in this session. Mrs. Lynn Harvey McNamara had to be quite proud of her girls tonight. Ally Ehle made some knockout passes aboard CH Titleist Right Tonight to earn the yellow prize for Bob and Nancy Ehle and Team Kierson. This was the second year in a row for them to pick up this ribbon. They were World’s Champions in their qualifier last year and National Champions in 2009. Callaway’s Unsolved Mystery finished fourth with Lizelle Hill up for B & T Vonderschmitt LLC.

Amanda Dellinger’s newest mount, The Plaza, is a dark chestnut by I’m A New Yorker out of Penelope Cruz, by Leatherwood’s Starlight. He has made an extensive campaign this year for a junior horse, working out all the kinks and getting everything just right for when the lights got bright. It all worked to perfection, as he was crowned Junior Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions, his second world title of the week. It was 20 years ago that Gypsy Supreme carried off this prize. His rider that day? Andy Freseth. Here we are 20 years and three days later, and it is Andy Freseth back atop this division, making a spectacular show with his Hollow Haven crew cheering him on. Reserve in the junior mare class, Cavalia was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions with Larry Hodge up for Hillcroft Farm. By CF First Night Out and out of the black mare, Viola Madden, this exquisitely beautiful mare was the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic National Champion a year ago. Matt Shiflet made his final ride aboard this horse a month ago to win the Junior Five-Gaited Mare class at Lexington. She has a light and open way of going that sets her apart. Lisa Rosenberger Jones made a hard-charging performance aboard Kenny Dawson to place third. A year ago, he was a Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion for new owner Dorchester Farms. Receiving a thunderous ovation, My Royale Charm was fourth here with AJ Bruwer up for Parker View Farm. AJ gave a tip of his hat in response to the crowd’s support as he left the ring. Sired by Santana’s Charm and out of My Bugatti Royale, this bay stud has a very familiar pedigree from tonight’s session. Full sister Our Charming Lady finished her Freedom Hall career just an hour prior.

It was an incredible night for Lukens Stables, as they swept the speedster classes. Thundering down victory lane tonight was Mr’s Bones and Charlie Jones, or Charlie Bones as Jayne Romano called him in her ReporTV interview. This was lucky number seven World’s Championship for Bones and Jones. This bay gelding puts his head in a place that seems impossible for a road horse. Not for Bones. He just keeps on trucking, head held high and tight. Charlie’s joyful exuberance in driving this once in a lifetime horse is contagious, as when he left the ring, everyone in center ring was smiling after watching his round of honor. Amateur Ladies World’s Champion earlier this week, Debra Clark had Iamnotacow up for the reserve title here. A superstar all over the Carolinas, this Jon Walker-trained team had a breakthrough week on the green shavings. A veteran of the USTA Roadster Classic, Iamnotacow was the Reserve World’s Champion in that event in 2009 with Jon Walker driving. Thunderbolt got a thunderous sendoff in third with William Shatner at the lines for Belle Reve and the DeLovely training team. Bill is another one who is always entertaining to watch (both in the ring and on the screen). He has had himself a blast all these years he has crossed the green shavings, and it never seems to get old for him. He always just enjoys the heck out of it.

With that final victory pass by Break On Through, the long Friday night ended, leaving but a handful of Saturday classes remaining. It will be a wide open gaited stake on Saturday night, with an undercard of wild and wooly appetizers. It is setting up to be a great one, with practically no overwhelming favorites going into the open stakes. Stay tuned! We’ve got all the action right here at!

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