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Louisville - Saturday Night

by David "Tuffy" Owens

There are many different kinds of standing ovations that have been seen over the years. There are the celebratory salutes like Faydelle Schott and Heartland Victory Maker have received the last two years. There are the ovations of respect for a life of achievement as are rained down on Hall of Fame inductees or show horses retiring here in Freedom Hall. There are even the ones you see at Hollywood award shows, where half the crowd is standing, while the other half looks around as if to say, “Oh we’re doing this now?” before begrudgingly joining in.

What we bore witness to in Saturday night’s finale was like none of these; it was a beast all unto itself. It was electric, and it was most certainly hard-earned. Peter Doubleday no more than got “Champion Callaway’s” over the airwaves when the crowd leapt to its feet and screamed. Hands were raised over heads, hugs were given for no reason other than the overwhelming excitement and emotion had to be transferred rather than explode within one’s own body. It was instantaneous. And while Debbie Foley held her breath and waited for that moment she had dreamed of since she was nine years old, the crowd let loose that long held breath on her behalf. She slow gaited to the far end of the ring, patting her horse’s neck, smiling and shaking her head, shedding more than a few tears of joy to be sure. Her horse show family celebrated with her.

Family has been a strong theme for Debbie, with the tale going that her parents brought her to the fair, where she saw the grand mare CH My-My win here with Frank Bradshaw in the late ‘60s when Debbie was just nine. As is now well known, she said that night that she would win the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship, having outgrown her dream of winning the Kentucky Derby. She would go on to take on the grand My-My shortly thereafter with the less-legendary Missy B at the Shelby County Fair in the Five-Gaited Mare Stake, simply because she had a mare that did five gaits, so obviously she should show in that division! It was her mother socking away extra grocery money and scouring the ads in the Louisville Courier Journal that led to that purchase of Missy B. Her first gaited mare led to her father purchasing her a horse that Elizabeth McBride had won several Equitation Finals on from the Crabtrees. That also led to Helen Crabtree teaching Debbie the finer points of how to ride a horse. She certainly would be proud of her pupil tonight.

Debbie’s extended family joined back at Silver Brook Stables following her crowning moment with CH Callaway’s Annabel Allison. As the mare cooled out after a hard ride, the line of well-wishers wound out from the stalls and out to the road. Merrill Murray was sitting at her stalls waiting for her, a man Debbie described in her center ring interview as her “Best Friend in the Whole World.” They have certainly been instrumental in each other’s careers, with Debbie sending SS Genuine to Merrill, who would go on to win his second gaited stake with the big chestnut gelding. The two of them could probably talk about racking a horse for days on end.

Debbie Foley took her place in history tonight as one of two professional women to have ever won this class, the other being Dena Lopez. Michele Macfarlane was of course the first amateur woman to win it in 1988 with the incredible CH Sky Watch. But let’s delve a little deeper and touch upon the fact that Debbie is not only the rider and trainer of CH Callaway’s Annabel Allison, she is also the owner. Let’s go back and look at the not-so-long list of horses with a sole-owner/trainer/rider professional aboard to have won this greatest of Saddlebred achievements. The wayback machine (also known as the Official Kentucky State Fair World’s Championship Horse Show program) stops off in 1926 to see Edna May’s King and Revel English listed as owner and rider. But wait! The famed California horseman was famously the first amateur to win the gaited stake. Let’s keep going… 1924 we stop on Revel again and applaud his great accomplishment. We come to 1918. With our stipulations of sole-owner, trainer, and rider in place, this is the last time it happened. Cascade and R.E. Moreland of Lexington, Kentucky were the winners that year. Before that, we could throw in Nickel Plate and Sterling Nicoll, as the ownership of J.L. Nicoll and Son could be assumed to include Sterling, but still not a sole ownership. The other potential addition that will be left out is Bourbon King, ridden by Allie G. Jones for W.M. and A.G. Jones in 1905.

Basically what this history lesson is trying to say is that what Debbie Foley and CH Callaway’s Annabel Allison achieved tonight was incredible and almost singular, having been done just one other time by a professional, and never before by a female professional.

If you want to continue on the family trend, just watch Debbie with her World’s Grand Champion mare and her Keeshond, Casper. She treats them like family members, showing the soft side of Debbie that is brought out by these two animals more than anything else in the world. She held Casper in her arms with the red roses of a Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion draped over them both as the paparazzi blasted away to chronicle it. She and “Ricketta” had already worn those roses that night, and nobody was going to leave Casper out!

It had been 10 years since a Callaway prefix was called out as the winner of this class, though last year’s winner was by a Callaway’s Blue Norther stallion. Tony Weldon of Callaway Hills certainly was in that line of fans to congratulate Debbie. She has been on the “This One’s For The Girls” promotional bandwagon from the very beginning, getting that big payoff tonight. Annabel Allison is by Tony’s favorite stallion, CH Caramac, and out of a Talk Of The Town mare, Callaway’s Love Lucy. Annabel Allison, for those who never took the time to Google it, was the title character played by Lucille Ball in the 1938 film, “Annabel Takes a Tour,” hence the name.

She took a tour of the winner’s circle tonight as the lone mare in a field full of stallions. In fact, it would be an interesting research project to see the last time the gaited stake was made up of 50% stallions! They couldn’t keep up with the ladies tonight, as Debbie Foley rode her ride like they needed to beat her, not vice versa. It’s hard to tell with Debbie’s hard-charging style, but she looked as though she was saving a little something for the end, which she unleashed on the reverse in the workout. People will always talk about being a “closer” in a five-gaited class, and Debbie and Annabel Allison were that tonight. They had the fuel left in the tank to take on the boys and a badger, finishing as the World’s Grand Champions, number one on the cards of Kim Crumpler, George Knight, and Steve Crabtree.

On the workout for the third straight year was two-time Reserve World’s Grand Champion Kalarama’s Ultimate Choice, earning that second RWGC title here tonight with Larry Hodge. The athletic bay stud was the winner of the Five-Gaited Stallion World’s Championship on Monday night, his second time earning that title as well. Owned by Joan Hamilton, Ultimate Choice is a South African import by Redwood’s The General’s Choice and out of Greyfour Captivation. Bold and imposing, he was the champion at Asheville in a class that looked quite similar to this one. In fact, the top three in our Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship were the three in the ring for the Five-Gaited Championship at Asheville Lions Club, a true testament to the depth of that horse show. Third here went to Matt Shiflet and Honey Badger. The Five-Gaited Gelding World’s Champion took it to them in the workout, as young Matthew rode hard for Christina and Andrea Athanasuleas. This was Matt’s best finish in the gaited stake, having earned fourth with CH Glider’s Star in 2005. It matches his best finish in a World’s Grand Championship, as he has been thrice third in the walk-trot stake. As is his custom in these big stakes, Matthew had his grandfather Claude and father Harrison as his pit crew for the strip, even having “PawPaw” lead Honey Badger up for conformation judging. Family rises to the surface once again, and there are few families in the world like the Shiflets.

Rounding out the workout crew was the lone amateur in the bunch, Elisabeth Goth, riding hard to follow in the footsteps of Revel English and Michele Macfarlane. Elisabeth is of course no stranger to Saturday night, as she was three times the Three-Gaited World’s Grand Champion with now Broodmare Hall of Famer CH Hollywood Excellence. She had the wildly talented Fort Chiswell’s Royal Kiss in from his Amateur Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding World’s Championship to take on the big boys in the open stake.

Left off the workout this year after having made it a year ago, Marc Of Charm and Lionel Ferreira were fifth for Riverdreams LLC. Melinda Moore and CH Attache’s Crown Royal were sixth for Annika Bruggeworth, followed by It’s Double O Deuce and Melissa Moore for SGF Winning Ways Farm. Wicked In A Winning Way and Tom Thorpe rounded out the prizes for BRK Equestrian LLC.

Continuing on the theme of family, have a look at the Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship. Melinda Moore earned her first under saddle world’s grand championship with Sir Silver Knight. While even the newest of newbies to the Saddlebred world will know the name of Tom Moore, they may not know (though they should become acquainted with) CH Valley View Supreme. It was 1956, 57 years ago, when a young trainer won his first World’s Grand Championship, riding for Valley View Farms. Tom Moore would of course go on to win a myriad of accolades, to the point that the United Professional Horsemen’s Association’s Hall of Fame is named in his honor as one of its founding fathers. Valley View Supreme also happens to be the last stallion to win this walk-trot stake… Until tonight. Half a century later, it is Tom’s daughter riding to the roses with Sir Silver Knight, a stallion son of Sir William Robert, for Annika Bruggeworth. This is the first World’s Grand Champion sired by Sir William Robert. Silver Knight is out of R.R. Silver Lady, also the dam of Three-Gaited Pony winner this week, A Silver Charm, and twice a World’s Champion herself. His second dam is CH Sultan’s Supremacy BHF, an Amateur Three-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions who would go on to produce Louisville winners as well.

Melinda hasn’t had this dark chestnut stud much more than a month, as it was Jesse West making the winning ride for the first jewel of the Triple Crown at Lexington for Siren Song Stable. Not only was Melinda showing this horse for the first time, it was just the stud’s second show back in the three-gaited division, having shown as a park and fine harness horse over the past few years. He has the same fineness of his predecessor, Valley View Supreme, who incidentally shows up three different times in the pedigree of our World’s Grand Champion. Family indeed.

Reserve World’s Grand Champion for the second year in a row was HS Daydream’s Heads Up with Tre Lee. Owned by Hagan Saddlebreds, Heads Up has been reserve in this stake now as a three-year-old and a four-year-old. Top two in this class were produced by neighbors in the Willowbank barn, as Heads Up is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of A Daydream Believer (BHF), who has likely qualified for the Broodmare Hall of Fame three times by now. Undefeated in three straight years of qualifiers here, Heads Up is extreme in the bridle, rocked way back by the masterful Tre Lee. Heads Up is exquisitely fine for a gelding, looking every bit the part. Bold and four-cornered, Kentucky Proud and Smith Lilly also got sent out with a nice ovation in third for Karly Morgan. The Over 2 World’s Champion put on a great display for the yellow ribbon. The Mercer Springs crew also did a great job with Kentucky Proud in the strip portion of the class, added to the entertainment value of this world’s grand championship.

A night that ended with a never before began with a repeat, as Call Me Regal and Barbara Goodman Manilow were Amateur World’s Champion of Champions for the second straight year. Riding under the Skyline Stables banner, the big chestnut son of CH Call Me Ringo and New York’s Crown Jewel put all of his presence and athleticism on display tonight under the direction of Kenny and Donna Smith. Brought out to a World’s Championship as a two-year-old walk-trot by Tre Lee, Call Me Regal has been a Louisville sensation ever since, winning in harness the next year with David Blevins then once again the following year with Kenny Smith in Junior Three-Gaited. Barbara has now taken over the reins with four World’s Championship rides to her credit. Undefeated in the Amateur Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under qualifier, CH With Style And Grace and Tara Grom have been a force in this division for now four straight years. Twice the World’s Champion of Champions here, they settled for the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions prize for the second year in a row for Bob and Kim Grom and DeLovely. The three-time defending National Champions are as a game as the day is long, having gone to a workout twice in the four years they have shown in this class. Carol Hillenbrand had one of her best goes aboard Work It to take a strong third in this class back to Biggins Stable. Nick Maupin and Kalarama’s Blue Mac, Amateur Gentlemen’s Three-Gaited World’s Champions, were fourth for Golden Lantern Farms.

Another hearty round of applause shot up for the Road Pony World’s Grand Champion, Twin Willow’s McDreamy. The crowd always loves this pony with his wild way of going. He has added more speed and consistency to his repertoire and put all of that learning into action tonight to take this highest of honors for owner Deborah Jahn. While the people love the pony, they also love his driver. At 86 years of age, Dr. Alan R. Raun became the most veteran winner of a World’s Grand Championship title. The UPHA Hall of Famer has been a boon for the business for what seems like forever. His last WGC came in 1996, when he took Brass Lass to the Harness Pony World’s Grand Championship for the Wheeler family. This was a first Louisville win for McDreamy, having finished twice reserve previously in his career. What better way to breakthrough than with the roses on the line? Glenn T. Werry, whose relationship with Doc Raun models that of grandson to grandfather, gave a Tiger-esque fist pump as he ran to the winner’s circle along with Reedannland trainer Scott Wendt. Three times in the top three in this class, Moment Of Excellence moved up a spot to be crowned Reserve World’s Grand Champion for the heard to beat team of Larry Ella and Bent Tree Farm. Sired by the great Mark Of Excellence and out of a Rhythm’s Spirit mare, Moment Of Excellence has been the 50”-and-Under Road Pony World’s Champion the past three years. He has also won the past two Road Pony Championships at the Royal Winter Fair. Mitch Clark was all smiles in third with Cruz’n Susan for Leslie Schaefer. Kentucky County Fair Champions Heartland Flurry and Jerry Cummins were fourth.

If you want a ladies horse, apparently the man to look to is Deep Blue! Sire of both the Ladies Three-Gaited and Ladies Five-Gaited World’s Champions on this night, Deep Blue was likely quite proud of the threepeat performance of Mr. Center Stage. Ridden to this title by Mary Gaylord McClean for the first time, Mr. Center Stage and Sarah Byers took this crown the past two years. Undefeated on these green shavings for the past three years, Center Stage is out of Daphne Dearest, by CH Caramac. He has also been the Ladies Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under World’s Champion the past three years. This was just the second show of the year for Mary and Center Stage to show up, as Sarah Byers rode him to an undefeated record at Rock Creek and Lexington.

Winner of her qualifier and reserve in her championship the past two years now, My Hail Mary earned another big prize for owner Annika Bruggeworth and rider Karin Folkers. Winners of the Ladies Over 2, My Hail Mary and Karin also had but a limited time to come together as a team, doing so in high style to be crowned Reserve World’s Champion of Champions. This was the first show back in this walk-trot division for the five-year-old daughter of Revival and Crimson Blue. She now has four Louisville wins and two reserves to her credit in her young career. Heavenly Thunder and Nancy Leigh Fisher enjoyed success in this class once again, placing third here under the Willowbank banner. St. Nick EGF and Jacqueline Manzo were a good fourth for Blue Willow Farm.

It takes a lot to win a World’s Grand Championship, and it takes even more to win three in a row. That is the company that Bret Day and Wild Carrissima put themselves into with a third win of the Fine Harness World’s Grand Championship. Here are the names of those that have won the harness stake three years running: CH Callaway’s Copyright (twice), CH Radiant Success, CH Vanity’s Showcase, CH Tashi Ling, CH Colonel Boyle, CH The Lemon Drop Kid, CH Meadow Vanity, Allen Adair, and Lady Beautiful. The names of the trainers stand out as well. Just in the last half century we’ve had Art Simmons, Jim B. Robertson, Donna Moore, Nelson Green, and John T. Jones as winners three years in a row. Tonight, Bret C. Day added his name to that esteemed list. An entry of Dr. Robert “Chip” Pugh, Wild Carrissima ran his record in this ring to six straight victories. Champions rise to the occasion, and the Grey Ridge team did that once again tonight. Derek Wooderson and Billy Jarrell, along with Kendall Blue once again reprising his role on the team, had their work cut out for them getting the white roses in place aboard the cranked up dark bay son of Rare Perception and a Foxfire’s Prophet mare.

Jim Stachowski is not unfamiliar with our World’s Grand Champion. He brought him out here as a three-year-old, returning two years later in harness to earn the Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding Reserve World’s Championship. Sold after that to Mary Gaylord McClean and then to Chip Pugh the following year, Wild Carrissima would wear the roses just a year after the Stachowskis sold him. Jim is also not unfamiliar with the title of Fine Harness Reserve World’s Grand Champion with the big crowd raucously cheering him. It was 2009 when he and The Da Vinci Code set the green shavings ablaze with a huge sendoff from the crowd with this same reserve prize. Tonight, it was a jet black stallion that had the crowd jumping, as Nutcracker’s Nirvana was the Reserve World’s Grand Champion. The son of Undulata’s Nutcracker and a Harlem Globetrotter mare has shown here three times, finishing reserve in all three classes for owner Shawn Stachowski. His floating park trot barely touched the ground, as Jim Stachowski drove like he couldn’t even hear the crowd, focused on the task at hand.

The depth didn’t drop off as the remaining ribbons were handed out. Fine Harness Mare World’s Champion Roselane’s Clemency was up for third with Lisa Strickland driving for Ready for the Limelight LLC. Lexington champions Merrill Murray and Cosmic Charm were fourth for Grand Vin Stables LLC.

The Amateur Five-Gaited Championship set up a rematch between The Daily Lottery and Courageous Lord. With a workout seemingly predestined, these two went at it full throttle once again. With a class called quickly by Steve Crabtree, the two went back out for a second work for the second straight year. This time, however, Gabe Deknatel had a secret weapon. Having become something of a workout warrior over the past year since his one and only loss aboard The Daily Lottery, Gabe has slimmed down to the point where you would think he could wear the same suit he wore on CH Net Worth and CH My Sunday Shoes as a junior exhibitor. It showed in the workout, as not only did Gabe have more stamina to ride at the grand chestnut gelding, but the horse was carrying less weight than the year previous, keeping his ears bright and allowing him to rise to the occasion even more. He did all that and more to the unanimous acclaim of the judges. By Sultan’s Great Day and out of Callaway’s Lady Lottery, The Daily Lottery claimed his third Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions title here tonight.

Reserve honors went to the great CH Courageous Lord, one of the winningest horses here in Freedom Hall over the past five years. With seven wins and three reserves over that stretch, the three-time Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion and 2012 Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions tonight with Dr. Owen Weaver riding for Fox Grape Farms. The Autumn Hills team has done a tremendous job with the grand gelding son of Roseridge Heir and Lord Have Mercy, though they have had the good fortune of having a great amateur rider to pair him with.

Giselle made her season debut count this week, winning twice with Larry Ella for Bent Tree Farm. It was a threepeat in the Harness Pony World’s Grand Championship as well, as this petite yet fiery mare was the winner in 2011 and 2012. Also by Mark Of Excellence, as was Road Pony Reserve World’s Grand Champion Moment Of Excellence, Giselle is out of My Sweet Georgia Brown, by Vindicator, one of Karen Waldron’s all-time favorites. This team is undefeated on the green shavings having won all six of their classes to date. For the third time in his career, The Remington was the Reserve World’s Grand Champion in this one, driven by John Wrather for owner Charlotte Wrather in their first Louisville as a team. Also out of a Vindicator mare, The Remington is by Twin Willow’s McMillan. Also winner of this title in 2009 and 2010, The Remington was the Harness Pony Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion earlier this week with John at the lines. This was the debut show for this new team, as the Wrathers recently acquired the pony from the Majestic Oaks string. Heartland Pursuit and Ronnie Graham were in the top three for Helen Rosburg, followed by Heartland Expectation and Randy Harper for Tamra Arndt.

The World’s Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame class was inducted, featuring the past two winners of the Five-Gaited Stake, Rob Byers and Merrill Murray. Also inducted were William David Mountjoy II and William David Mountjoy III. Farrier to last year’s Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion, Bud Willimon was also inducted with the statistic that in 2012, Bud and his team shod approximately 80 World’s Champions and 48 Reserve World’s Champions.

Here’s another stat for you. In this millennium, no one but Raymond Shively has won the Roadster to Bike World’s Grand Championship. In 2000 it was When And Where. In 2001 and 2004 it was Power Ranger. The years 2002 and 2003 saw Invincible Summer wear the roses. In 2005, an unbelievable run began with Big Red winning five years in a row until his untimely death. Little brother Emerson picked right up from there, winning the next four, including tonight for DeLovely Farms. The full brothers are closing in on a decade of dominance in this division, with Emerson now one away from matching Big Red’s run. Top three twice a year ago, Chanteur PV was twice reserve this week, taking the Reserve World’s Grand Championship with Merrill Murray driving for Jackie Tanner. Winner at Shelbyville and Lawrenceburg this year, Chanteur continues to improve year after year. The highly decorated Mr. Bones and Charlie Jones represented the amateurs well in third.

He’s In Style was the other half of the Deep Blue Daily Double, winning the Ladies Five-Gaited World’s Championship tonight with Kim Cowart. Kim works the ring like the pro that she is, making her first two shows with the chestnut son of Deep Blue and She’s In Style. She’s In Style was herself a Reserve World’s Champion and a full sister to World’s Champion Bono. He’s In Style is just a five-year-old. He capped off what was an incredibly successful week for owner Sharyn Lackey. Two of Sharyn’s three blue ribbon wins on the week came from this team, as they were also Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding World’s Champions. Kim made her only two rides of the week count, though this is not unfamiliar territory for her. She has earned a Ladies World’s Champion of Champions title here the last two years, including this very same title in 2012 with My Wonder. Flashback to 2007 and you will find a third time she was the Ladies Gelding winner, that one in a catch ride on Platinum’s New Look.

On a busy night for Mary Gaylord McClean, Lynn Williams really stepped up for her, as the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare Reserve World’s Champion was a sensation in this championship go-round to be named Reserve World’s Champion of Champions for owner/breeder Golden Creek Farms. Directed by Rob and Sarah Byers, Lynn Williams is a bay daughter of  Mary’s former Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Champion Of Champions CH Top Spool and the great Carol Lynn (BHF). Winners of this class in 2010, Mary and Lynn Williams are right back at the top of the division once again in 2013. Vickie Byrd cried tears of joy as the crowd saluted her during the strip of the class. No doubt she had wonderful memories of days gone by with her longtime partner CH Jaunty Janette. A crowd-pleasing team, the two were Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Mare World’s Champions and Amateur Ladies Five-Gaited Reserve World’s Champions of Champions in 2000 and 2001 when the Amateur Ladies division was just in its infancy. She has another crowd pleaser in Iconium. They racked to third under the High Caliber banner. Undulata’s High Society and Anne Neil rounded out a terrific top four for Pidgeon Roost Farm.

With just four in the Hackney Pony World’s Grand Championship, the top three entries were all bred by Heartland Hackney Farm. The winner here was also the Hackney Pony World’s Champion earlier in the week, Heartland Globetrotter. Kentucky County Fair Hackney Pony Grand Champion a year ago, With loads of expression, Globetrotter stepped it up for Maureen Campbell and owner Sandra Surber to take the roses back to Majestic Oaks. This was a second time for Maureen to win this title, having taken it in 2009 with Heartland High Tech, the same night she won the Harness Pony World’s Grand Championship with CH Dun Haven Phenomenal. The Four-Year-Old Hackney Pony World’s Champion showed back in the open  stake for the second year in a row, claiming the Reserve World’s Grand Champion title for the second straight year as well. A different style of cobtail than the winner, Heartland Road Show was driven tonight by Mary Gaylord McClean for Golden Creek Farms. Her second reserve title in as many classes showed the excellent prep work of Tom Lowry, as she came out of the ring with Lynn Williams and jumped right into the viceroy with Road Show who continues to show extreme motion and head set.

Before Debbie Foley’s moment in the sun, Governor Steve Beshear gave the crowd a nice talk while the judges held their conclave to determine the workout participants in the gaited stake. He welcomed all to the Commonwealth once again, mentioning the $1.2 million in prize money doled out this week, He did right by his constituency with his best line of the night, “We’re glad to have you here, not only to watch these horses, but to spend your money!” After that, the back numbers for the workout went from the hands of Bill Whitley to Beth Snider and on to Peter Doubleday, setting the stage for yet another historic moment in Freedom Hall. 

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