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Louisville - Saturday Night

World's Grand Champion. It is the highest distinction a horse can achieve in this little world of ours. Each year, there are but seven individuals that earn this title, winning a championship in an open division. The rest are deemed World's Champion of Champions, which doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but the distinction between the two is necessary. Seven. A measly seven opportunities for a horse trainer or a gutsy amateur to do something that so few have ever done before or will ever do. Think about this: In the 8,760 hours of the year, there are just four in which you can earn a “WGC.”Just three little letters, but a prefix that will follow you for the rest of your life. WGC The Daily Lottery, WGC Macadamia, WGC Nutcracker's Nirvana, WGC Emerson, WGC Twin Willow's McDreamy, WGC Giselle, and WGC Heartland Majestic. That's it for 2014. That's all of the names that are entered into the record books, four new names and four repeat winners. It is the rarest of opportunities to have a horse capable of winning a class here, let alone one on Saturday night, and still rarer to have one to win an open stake. Over 2000 horses and ponies showed here this week, and these seven are the ones to carry that banner into history.

It is also the highest achievement that a horse trainer can attain. Three new names entered this fraternity tonight: Steve Wheeler, Jim Stachowski, and Holli Hayes. The others have been there once or twice, with Raymond Shively leading the way with 21 wins of the Roadster to Bike World's Grand Championship. It was a night of first timers in the Saddlebred divisions, as all three World's Grand Champion horses had never won that title before. This was the first time since 2008 that three brand new WGCs were crowned, with that crop including Our Charming Lady, Mother Mary, and... wait for it... Breaking News. So the last two times that this has happened, Peter Cowart was aboard the Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion.

Peter's ride aboard CH The Daily Lottery tonight packed all of the athleticism and brilliance that we love about gaited horses into one 30-minute block of time. He quite literally rode the horse right out of his shoes, losing a shoe on the final racking pass of the workout. In both of his post-class interviews, Peter talked about “opportunity.” He spoke of the great opportunity that owners Ray and Nancy Hawley had given him to show this particular horse on this particular night, an opportunity that until just a few weeks ago might have been Kim Cowart's opportunity in the Ladies Five-Gaited Championship. Kim had another mount for that one, so the honor fell to Peter. What an opportunity. Peter spoke with ReporTV later on about how all it takes is an opportunity, and great things can happen for anyone. While Peter has never lacked in confidence, he might be selling himself short here. Thomas Edison had a quote that Peter would love: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” These Cowarts are some hard-working folks. And they have deserved every opportunity they have been given, because they work for those chances and when given them, take them to the fullest extent.

Think about CH A Sweet Treat, the first of their World's Grand Champions, ridden by Kim to the 1999 Three-Gaited Worlds' Grand Championship. That grand mare had never even cantered in the show ring before Kim stepped up on her at Pro-Am that year. There was yet another horse bought for a junior exhibitor that went on to win a WGC. Then there was CH Breaking News in 2008. In 2004, he was a 16-17 Five-Gaited World's Champion with Megan McClure. Campaigned by Megan and Peter both over the next few years, he was given over solely to Peter in 2008. What did Peter do with that opportunity? Ho-hum he won the Triple Crown. Fast forward three years to 2011. Here we see a horse that had never been shown by an amateur, a striking open horse named Real Action, winner of that year's Three-Gaited World's Grand Championship. Kim and Peter had swapped the duties aboard this horse back and forth, settling on Peter as having the best opportunity with him. That is a rarity but a necessity for a husband/wife training team. They have to be able to put egos and intense competitive desires aside for what is best for the horse. Perhaps that could have been Kim's second win in that class, but instead she was there to celebrate and adjust that blanket of yellow roses. Perhaps now their World's Grand Championships will come in these three-year increments, and 2017 will see Kim wrapped in roses once more. But tonight, it was the silver fox making the walk down victory lane.

It has been a long time, if ever, since the Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion was led from the ring, but with the cast shoe, there would be no racking with the roses for CH The Daily Lottery. Farrier James Quiram made a valiant effort to put the shoe back on, but it got rather sporty in the winner's circle with an amped up horse that had just gone two classes! Even stepping back up into the saddle wasn't on the agenda for the winners, so it was an applauded walk from the ring for the great horse with a huge heart.

What heart this horse showed here on Saturday night! He came rocketing down the chute, loaded for bear, with Peter Cowart riding out this wave of energy throughout the entire first direction. Firmly established in the workout group by then, he settled in second way and conserved some energy, still brilliant, yet much more relaxed in the ring. The workout, however, was a thing of beauty. This was the third straight year for The Daily Lottery to be involved in a Saturday night workout here in Freedom Hall. He has learned his lessons well.

John Conatser, a good friend of Peter's who trained this horse throughout his amateur career with Gabe Deknatel, loved him because of his second way rack. He feels that that is the judge's final impression of a horse, and hence the most important. The Daily Lottery did not disappoint. Never dropping an ear the entire second round of work, he slammed the door at that second rack, just flying down the rail. When he threw that shoe, call judge Jim Taylor sent the group to the lineup. He had seen enough.

CH The Daily Lottery has had a great career. Actually if you spread out his career over 10 horses, you would think that each one of them had a great career. He came out in 2007 for breeder Penny Lane Farm, with Jon Wallace riding him to two wins. He went to live at DeLovely after that under the ownership of Dan and Diana Martin. Mark Turner got him ready for their daughter Mandy to show, and show she did. She rocketed this chestnut gelding to fame as the Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding World's Champion and the Junior Five-Gaited World's Champion of Champions. Selected by Carol Hillenbrand after his junior year, he would be sold within the Carriage Lane family to High Hickory Farm to become the new teammate of Gabe Deknatel. This storied team turned in one of the greatest three-year runs in horse show history. Beginning with a win in their Amateur Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class at the Royal in 2009, they ripped through the division, winning all but one of their classes together, with that one requiring an epic two-horse duel with the then three-time defending World's Grand Champion.

His pedigree says he should be a good one. He is by Sultan's Great Day and out of Callaway's Lady Lottery, by another winner of this class, Will Shriver. His second dam is the Broodmare Hall of Famer, Lady Gambler, dam of such greats as CH Lady Luck BG and Will's Lady Kate. Keep following that line back and you come to other names hung from the balcony like Wing Commander and Edna May's King. He was bred to rack. And he racked a hole in the ground tonight to ascend to the throne of the Saddlebred world as the Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion. He will join his forefathers in that hallowed ring of honor, a place in history that can never be taken away from him.

Let's also look at this from a historical perspective. How about the trend of horses peaking in this class right around 10 years old? If we look back at the last dozen or so iterations of this event, we have The Daily Lottery winning it here at 10. Last year, Callaway's Annabel Allison won it at nine. Bravo Blue won it in 2012 at 10. Courageous Lord won it in 2011 at 10 years old, but he had also won at nine and eight in his remarkable run. CCV Casey's Final Countdown (SA) won it in 2007 at 11, while the two aberrations on this list, He's The Man and Five O'Clock, both won it at the age of five in 2006 and 2005 respectively. Before that we find Boucheron at 11 in 2004 and Callaway's Forecaster in 2003 at 11! How about one more for good measure? SS Genuine in 2002. How old? ELEVEN! It takes a long time for a horse to be able to hold up to the rigors of this class, the test of champions.

Elisabeth Goth has a passion for this business. She continues to strive for greatness as an amateur rider, wanting to add this greatest of jewels to her crown. She made her best ride yet in this class, finishing as the Reserve World's Grand Champion tonight with the grand chestnut gelding, CH Bravo Blue. The 2012 World's Grand Champion had all of that hinge and beauty on display tonight under the direction of Neil Visser. Bravo Blue is by Northern Blues and out of Amp Leigh, by CH Ready Kilowatt. This giant golden horse just oozes stake horse quality and charisma. The Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding World's Champion on Wednesday night, he followed the same qualifier to championship run that he would have made if he had shown in the gelding stake. This was the first time all season that Elisabeth and Bravo Blue had done anything but win together, leaving with heads held high after a job incredibly well done. Her quest for her fourth World's Grand Championship win continues, having won those three with CH Hollywood Excellence in 1997, 1998, and 2000. Elisabeth was once again the lone amateur taking on the professionals in the Saturday night finale, yet again besting many of them and securing a place in the workout, a place of great honor.

Debbie Foley and CH Callaway's Annabel Allison rose to the occasion in the workout as well. They would not give their title up easily. The five-time Five-Gaited Mare World's Champion made it more than difficult on her competitors, putting on a tremendous show in the workout, full of heart and desire. The 2013 World's Grand Champions came up just short in third this time around with a valiant effort for Silver Brook Stables. They rounded out a top three that featured Callaway Hills breeding within the first two lines of each and every pedigree. Where would we be without the Weldon family? It makes one shudder to think.

Some old blood is close up in the pedigree of Roselane's Angelo. Not many horses in today's show ring have Wing Commander on the third line of their papers. The fourth place finisher also has a great one on his bottom line in dam's sire Prize Contender, the 1998 Reserve World's Grand Champion with the great Don Harris. Angelo is owned by Janet Kellett, having shown under the ownership of Don and Phyllis Brookshire for his Lexington tricolor last month.

Rounding out the workout group in fifth was Marc Of Charm. He and Lionel Ferreira gave everything they had tonight for Riverdreams LLC and the adoring crowd. This was the second year in a row for this team to claim this prize, though this year they were rightfully included in the second work. While the crowd rained down its applause upon the two gentlemen, they walked up to get their prize with heads hung low together. There is a picture of the two of them out there with Lionel's hat raised to the crowd, not in a brash or brazen way, but just in acknowledgment of their ovation. You would swear the blonde stallion and his trainer shared a soul in that moment. Marc Of Charm will be nine next year.

County Fair winner It's Double O' Deuce and Melissa Moore are always in there and fighting hard for SGF Winning Ways Farm. They made their connections proud in sixth, with Two Sweet To Kiss and Larry Hodge in seventh for Hillcroft Farm. CH Attache's Crown Royal got a gutsy catch ride from Lisa Rosenberger Jones in eighth for Annika Bruggeworth.

Obviously the stallions of Willowbank don't follow the careers of their get, though judging by Facebook, they could very well be smarter than some humans that can work a computer. But if those studs were talking after Louisville 2013, Sir William Robert must have made Undulata's Nutcracker mad with his bragging about being the first of these two celebrity Saddlebred stallions to have sired a World's Grand Champion. Vengeance was dished up tonight, as Nutcracker's offspring scored not just one but two WGC titles in the same night, both unanimously! Two out of three ain't bad, with the Three-Gaited World's Grand Championship going to Macadamia for Glasscock Financial Services. Mary Jane Glasscock Fitzpatrick was jumping for joy as part of the winning ownership team, but more likely because she is the prospective teammate for this remarkable chestnut gelding. Sired by Nutcracker, Macadamia is out of Sass With Class, a daughter of Santana's Charm. Second dam here is Buck's Aria, a daughter of World's Grand Champion Buck Rogers. Go three lines back on this pedigree and you find three World's Grand Champions. The aforementioned Buck Rogers is joined by Sultan's Santana and Will Shriver. The fourth stallion on that line is The New York Times, a hugely influential sire of World's Champions.

Macadamia has a dreamlike headset. After his lauded win of the Junior Three-Gaited Over 15.2 class, the decision was made to show him back on Saturday night to put all of that floating animation on display on the biggest of stages. He came through in the clutch for Steve Wheeler to earn both of their first World's Grand Championships.

The careers of Steve and Tiffany Wheeler have taken off over the last few years with a great string of horses and a great group of customers under their Autumn Hills banner. This is but the beginning for the young team, a first World's Grand Championship win and a first blanket of roses to be hung from their curtains. Nothing is written in stone, and there are no certainties in this business, but these two look destined for great things. They do things the right way, too. Tiffany was getting ready for her ride in the Ladies Five-Gaited Championship while this walk-trot stake was in the ring, so they needed somebody to help with the strip. Why not give Chuck Herbert, who sold this horse to them, the honor. Chuck was the winning rider just last year in the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic National Championship, joining to hang the roses here tonight along with good friend Martin Teater.

It is a rare thing when the Louisville crowd salutes both the winner of a class and the reserve winner with similarly loud ovations. That's how good this class was, as Don O'Neill was named the Reserve World's Grand Champion with Chris Reiser. Chris was attempting to make it one heck of a 10-year anniversary of his third of three World's Grand Championship rides aboard CH An Heir About Her. Winner of this class from 2002 to 2004, An Heir About Her was the last junior horse to win this class before tonight. She won it as a three-year-old in 2002, the first time that had been accomplished since Forest Song. Don O'Neill is the same age as that grand mare was the last time she won it in 2004, five years old. He is a remarkable story, having shown under the Autumn Hills banner just last year with Dr. Owen Weaver. He was the Adult Country Pleasure Reserve World's Champion of Champions in 2013, blessed with loads of natural athleticism. Chris Reiser saw that potential and selected the horse for World Calm LLC. They started him out as a country horse at River Ridge, moving up to park pleasure by Asheville Spring Classic. By a month later at Indianapolis Charity it got serious. The mane came off, and he stepped off down the road to history. He took the Three-Gaited Jackpot Stake at Rock Creek, then scored an under two win at Lexington as well as the reserve championship there. He started the week here on Tuesday night with the Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under World's Championship, earning this Reserve World's Grand Championship tonight. Yet another by Undulata's Nutcracker, who went one-two in this class, he is out of none other than World's Grand Champion Garland's Dream, a member of the Broodmare Hall of Fame even before this wonderful horse scored his win this week.

Third and fourth also had some similar parentage. They are out of full sisters, one by Sir William Robert, the other by Undulata's Nutcracker. HS Baby Steps was third here with Larry Hodge for Hillcroft Farm. The Three-Gaited Over 15.2 World's Champion is by Sir William Robert and out of I Am The Dream. HS Daydream's Heads Up, Best In Show at Midwest Charity this year, was fourth with owner/breeder Scott Hagan aboard. He is by Undulata's Nutcracker and out of A Daydream Believer (BHF).

Another member of the First Timers Club joined the fraternity in the Fine Harness World's Grand Championship. Jim Stachowski had to beat out a couple of gentlemen with multiple wins of this class to earn his stripes. He had the gorgeous black stallion Nutcracker's Nirvana in high style for a unanimous blanket of white roses. An entry of wife Shawn Stachowski, Nirvana was spectacular in the Wednesday night qualifier, winning that one to the delight of the crowd. The Louisville crowd could be a study in psychology. This horse's Reserve World's Grand Championship win last year about lifted the roof off of Freedom Hall. His performance and win on Wednesday night did it again, and then tonight he got a nice ovation, louder than many winners but not as loud as some, but nothing compared to Wednesday night. It's as if the crowd wants to tell the judges how wrong they were until the judges agree. Then they're over it! The underdog is no longer the underdog. David is now Goliath, and they will wait to see the next great one that comes down the line to try to topple the one they loved so dearly. Even though Nirvana overcame the biggest hurdle on Wednesday night, he still had to sparkle in the money round here, and he did just that. The first ever World's Grand Champion sired by Undulata's Nutcracker, Nirvana will hold a place in the record book as that list will undoubtedly grow rapidly. His brilliant, floating park trot chews up the ground as he moves down the rail for Stachowski.

Nutcracker's Nirvana is by Undulata's Nutcracker and out of Kingwood's Harlem Harlem, by Harlem Globetrotter. Bred by Robert and Margaret King of New York, he was selected as a three-year-old, then-named The Jackal. Here is yet another example of Shawn Stachowski finding a horse that she sees potential in and showing him the way to the winner's circle. Let's think of some of the most celebrated harness horses of recent years: The DaVinci Code and Wild Carrissima. Both of those horses were discovered and brought out by the Stachowskis!

Take a visit to Mantua, Ohio, to see their main farm, the one with somewhere in the neighborhood of 126 stalls and a work board with 105 names on it. That's the main facility. Let's repeat that. That is just the main facility! Go ahead and visit their second and third locations in Scottsdale, Arizona, and San Marcos, California. Theirs is a name synonymous with success in the Arabian show horse world. Winning at our World's Championship Horse Show is their hobby. This is their fun thing that they do on the side. Oh, and why not go across the street to their alpaca farm? They probably raise world champion alpacas for fun too! It is now 30 years ago that Jimmy Stachowski set Freedom Hall on its ear, however that was aboard Countess Vanessa at the US Nationals. They were the Half-Arab Park Reserve National Champions that night, setting the ring ablaze, beaten out by Jimmy's brother Peter aboard Sufis Fancy Free. Countess Vanessa would go on to redefine the division with Stachowski aboard.

It is fitting that Nirvana gave them their fist blanket of roses here. He will be the centerpiece of their breeding program, already registering 17 foals in 2014, with what will certainly be more than that in 2015. Remember here that all of those 2014 breedings were done before his sensational showing here last year that made him a celebrity. The future is bright for this just-six-year-old stud.

Jim had to go a long way to win this one. It takes a whale of an effort to get the better of Nelson Green in this class. Give that man a nice harness horse, and he will beat you six ways to Sunday with it. Just ask anybody showing against him in this class from 1996-2000. In '96 and '97, he had another mare, the great CH A Sweet Treat as the Fine Harness World's Grand Champion, while from '98 to 2000, it was CH Radiant Success to wear the roses all three years. This year, Nelson has teamed up with a gloriously talented chestnut mare once again. The Fine Harness Mare World's Champion this week and the Junior Fine Harness World's Champion of Champions in 2012, Trust My Imagination is by Trust Fund and out of Titleist Imagination, a full sister to World's Champion CH Titleist Symbol, longtime equitation mount of Rachel Machamer. The wild-going Trust My Imagination is owned by B & T Vonderschmitt LLC. She and Nelson Green earned the Reserve World's Grand Championship tonight.

It is a rare achievement to win any class here three years in a row, let alone a World's Grand Championship. The last two horses to have won this class three years in a row were the aforementioned Radiant Success and our third-place winner tonight, CH Wild Carrissima. Bret C. Day made a valiant title defense tonight for Dr. Chip Pugh, leaving with the yellow streamers in third in what was a wildly talented group. Jim Cherry had the junior horse We Must Be Nuts looking every bit the part of an open horse, finishing fourth for Grace Arnold.

From the young guns to the old guard, Raymond Shively won the Roadster to Bike World's Grand Championship for the 21st time according to announcer Peter Fenton. It has been one blood line winning the last 10 of those 21, as Big Red and full brother Emerson have teamed up to be untouchable in this class. From 2005 to 2009, it was Big Red winning this class five times. With his untimely passing, brother Emerson ascended to the throne in 2010, now winning it here tonight for his fifth time. Prior to them, it was Power Ranger in 2001 and 2004 and Invincible Summer from 2002 to 2003. The turn of the millennium saw Raymond win this class with When & Where. That's 15 years in a row, folks. One-five. As a writer, being at a loss for words is less than ideal, but wow! That's just impressive. It took a horse named Braveheart to be the last to top Raymond in this class, though of course he was the Reserve World's Grand Champion that night, just missing the roses. Emerson closed out the week for the red-and-black DeLovely curtains with a triumphant victory to be crowned the World's Grand Champion.

The crowd always loves a tough young competitor showing against the big boys, and when it is a young lady, they really get into it. Rebekah Cloninger fit that bill well, taking the celebrated IamNotACow to the Reserve World's Grand Championship under the Jon Walker Stables banner. The Ladies Roadster to Bike World's Champion on Thursday night in a solo performance, they decided to take on a big field of competition on Saturday night, looking awfully smart as the crowd roared their approval. While this gorgeous Standardbred has three Louisville wins to his credit now, this reserve win might be the most memorable. Larry Hodge was up for the yellow ribbon with Live Action for Hillcroft Farm, followed by Sudquest and Merrill Murray in fourth for Richardson Stables. This was as competitive a bike stake as we’ve seen in some time.

Also from the old guard was the winner of the Road Pony World's Grand Championship. Dr. Alan R. Raun reset his record as the oldest person to win a World's Grand Championship title, as he made it two in a row with Twin Willow's McDreamy. It had been since he won here with Brass Lass that the ageless Doc Raun had driven down victory lane on Saturday night. Now he has done it two years in a row with the dynamo owned by Deborah Jahn. Doc was joined in the winner's circle once again this year by trainer Scott Wendt and a young man who might as well be one of his grandchildren, Glenn T. Werry. The UPHA Hall of Famer Doc Raun has always done things his own way. A font of knowledge, he has forgotten more about horse breeding and training than most will ever hope to know. He has done a masterful job with the sometimes fractious McDreamy. While they have still not won a qualifier blue here, they are now twice World's Grand Champions in the money round. They rose to the challenge again in this one. By Twin Willow's McMillan, McDreamy is out of Twin Willow's Katrina. Another Hall of Famer, this one minted tonight, Mitch Clark drove to the Reserve World's Grand Championship. He entered the World's Championship Horse Show Hall of Fame in a ceremony held here on Saturday night. First to business, though, he drove Cruz'n Susan to the biggest prize of her young career. Also a Reserve World's Champion in the 50-52” qualifier on Monday night, they were twice in the top three here last year. Cruz'n Susan is an entry of Leslie Schaefer. With a great name for a road pony, she is by Kingsley Claim To Fame and out of Anna K, by Dun-Haven Ringmaster. Moment Of Excellence and Larry Ella finished third for Bent Tree Farm, with Jeff McClean fourth at the lines of Regal's Lightning Strike LF for Golden Creek Farms. This class was full of World's and Reserve World's Grand Champions, with all five of the top five holding one of those titles at some point in their careers.

While there were no repeat winners from a year ago in the Saddlebred ranks, two of the three pony World's Grand Champions knew their way to this winner's circle already. Giselle was right on top of her game to score a fourth straight Harness Pony World's Grand Championship with Larry Ella. Owned and bred by the Bent Tree Farm, Giselle is now nine years old. She is by their great Mark Of Excellence and out of My Sweet Georgia Brown, by the great Vindicator. When she hit the show ring for the first time at Bonnie Blue in 2009, she had the pony boys diving for their phones, desperate to get in on her. Of course she wasn't for sale, as she is such a pure product of the Bent Tree program and one of the greatest they have ever produced in their long and storied history. Since winning the Harness Pony Championship with her at Lexington in 2011, Larry and Giselle have been beaten just once over the last three years.

The brilliant Twin Willow's Handsome Dan wrapped up his first year of open competition here since 2010, taking the Reserve World's Grand Championship back to Golden Creek for driver Jeff McClean. Sired by Twin Willow's McMillan and out of Twin Willow's Arianna (another mare by Vindicator), Handsome Dan is nine times a winner on the green shavings. Long a star of this division, he was the Amateur Harness Pony World's Champion of Champions in 2011 and 2012. The jet black stud is now the centerpiece of Golden Creek's pony breeding operation, adding a wonderful title to his resume tonight. Heartland Pursuit and Ronnie Graham were a good third in this one for Helen Rich, followed by Heartland Expecation and Karen Frickey in fourth.

The top three in the Hackney Pony World's Grand Championship were all bred by Darrel and Sandra Kolkman, with top honors going to Heartland Majestic. It was Holli Hayes driving to her first World's Grand Championship here for Elisabeth Goth and the beaming Majestic Oaks team. This one follows in his father's footsteps in winning this class. He is by the great Heartland Equality and out of Seamair Glitter. That name might not be a household one, but full brothers Seamair Strutter, Seamair Sensation, and Seamair Simply Awesome certainly are. Heartland Majestic had a week off between winning the Kentucky County Fair Hackney Pony Championship on Sunday night. He lit up Freedom Hall here on Stake Night to be crowned the best of the best as the World's Grand Champion. Holli's first World's Grand Championship is well-deserved, having helped put the Majestic Oaks string of 50 ponies into the ring this week. She has long been an integral part of their team, getting to shine brightly under the big lights tonight. Bob Phillips made a hard-charging show at the lines of CH Heartland Fortune Maker. This former World's Grand Champion team gave all they had for owner Faydelle Schott, coming up just short as the Reserve World's Grand Champions. Twice the Amateur Hackney Pony World's Champion of Champions with rockstar Faydelle at the lines, Fortune Maker was shown back tonight by Bob after Faydelle lost her balance over the choppy going of Freedom Hall in her qualifier, taking a tumble from the viceroy. The pony trotted a few steps and then stopped when he saw his trainer. That's about the best marketing campaign you could come up with for the Hackney pony. Also as an aside, why does Freedom Hall never see a drag? It's understandable to not want to hold up the show, but what about during the lunch break between the morning and afternoon sessions those first three days? There is a 30 minute break where the ring sits empty.

Heartland High Tech and Ali DeGray represented the amateur drivers in third for Helen Rich, while On The Mark and Karen Waldron did the same in fourth for Bent Tree Farm. CH Heartland Globe-Trotter and John Wrather made it three-four-five for the amateurs for owner Charlotte Wrather.

The top two in tonight's opener couldn't have been more dissimilar. Callaway's Reality Show was crowned the Amateur Three-Gaited World's Champion of Champions, as Deborah Orr accepted her second blanket of flowers of the week under the Kalarama banner. Also the winner of the Amateur Three-Gaited Over 15.2 qualifier, Reality Show is by Callaway's The Gipper and out of Callaway's I'm A Lady Too. This team saved its best shows for the green shavings, taking their first tricolor together in Saturday night style. Qualifier winner at both Asheville and Lexington, Reality Show is long and lanky, making powerful passes down the middle. The cute-as-a-button World's Champion of the Amateur Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under class, Callaway's Naughty And Nice was the Reserve World's Champion of Champions with Ceil Wheeler. Directed by another freshly minted World's Championship Horse Show Hall of Famer, John Conatser, Naughty And Nice is by Callaway's Blue Norther and out of The Supreme Machine, by Mean Machine. Supreme Machine is a full sister to World's Champions Madame Machine and Strapless, hence her appeal to Ceil. This week was the first time Ceil had shown Naughty And Nice, selected just last month from Carriage Lane. They stay neatly tucked up on the rail, never dropping an ear. Kalarama's Blue Mac and Candi Aversenti were third from Frickey Farms, with Work It and Cindy Hettinger Carcione fourth.

The dominance of CH Mr. Center Stage continued in the Ladies Three-Gaited World's Championship. He was crowned the World's Champion of Champions for the fourth year in a row for Golden Creek Farms. Shown to the first two wins by Sarah Byers, it has been Mary Gaylord McClean making the winning rides for these last two titles. Sired by Deep Blue and out of Daphne Dearest, by CH Caramac, Center Stage is a brilliant chestnut gelding that is always ears-up and looking down the rail. Daphne Dearest is another out of the great Callaway's Agatha Christie (BHF). Four years in a row a Saturday night winner, Mr. Center Stage has been a sensation for the Premier Stables team. Barbour Childress got what was probably the biggest ovation of the night as the Reserve World's Champion of Champions aboard Undulata's Susan McGee. Matt Shiflet had this team cranked and ready to rock on Saturday night, as Susan McGee made some passes that seemed otherworldly. Reserve World's Champion in the 15.2-and-Under Stake in 2012 with Matt Shiflet up, Susan McGee made her best show yet with Barbour to take this reserve title. She is by Undulata's Nutcracker and out of Cherry Cherry a half sister to World's Champion The Billy Bob. Ceil Wheeler was back just two classes later to claim third here aboard Kentucky Proud. This one is trained by Smith Lilly. Maya Manilow made a hard-charging show with CH Glenview's Excelalante for fourth from Skyline Stables.

Phyllis Brookshire made her last ride aboard CH Callaway's No More Mr. Nice Guy count, as she earned the Amateur Five-Gaited World's Championship for Matt Shiflet Stables. Now headed to DeVore Stables to be teamed with Payton Walker, No More Mr. Nice Guy actually came to the Brookshires from Devores. Don and Phyllis made that selection last summer and have now sold him back to his old home! Only an old horse trainer like Brookshire and a Shiflet like Matthew could pull off what amounts to a yearlong lease of a horse where they not only get to make money on the deal but also win two World's Championships! Also the winner of her qualifier, Phyllis delighted the Matt Shiflet Stables screaming section with a great performance here tonight. No More Mr. Nice Guy is by Callaway's Blue Norther and out of that great line of Sweet Sachet and Town Flower, both Broodmare Hall of Famers. Town Flower was herself by CH Yorktown, three times a winner here on Saturday night. Another horse that was selected from DeVore Stables, Out With The Ladies made one of his best shows yet with Maya Manilow. Twice a World's Champion last year in their final junior exhibitor campaign, Maya and the son of CF First Night Out took on the adults and came away as the Reserve World's Champion of Champions for Barbara Goodman Manilow and Skyline Stables. Out With The Ladies is out of Suzy's Lady Bug, bred by the Goodman family out of their grand World's Champion gaited mare, CH Lady Luck BG. She has gone on to produce multiple World's Champions for Blythewood Farms. Gabe Deknatel couldn't let an amateur gaited stake go by without him. He blasted into third with Many Pearls for Carl Fischer. Undulata Pressure and Camille Cowart were fourth here in Camille's step-up year from junior exhibitor.

The greatest of the ladies this year was Mary Gaylord McClean, as she swept the ladies division here on Saturday night, scoring the Ladies Five-Gaited World's Champion of Champions crown with the homebred Lynn Williams. The long-necked bay mare is looking better than ever to earn two wins this week. Also the Ladies Five-Gaited Mare World's Champion on Wednesday night, Lynn Williams was the World's Champion of Champions in this division in 2010. Reserve World's Champion of Champions a year ago, she is by CH Top Spool and out of Carol Lynn (BHF). This makes her a product of the stallion Mary rode to the Amateur Five-Gaited World's Championship and the mare that has produced some of the grandest show horses in recent memory for Golden Creek. Lynn Williams was once again directed to this honor by Premier Stables. She made a spectacular show at Lexington last month to earn this same tricolor and blue. Though the scoreboard said “He's In Style” as the winner of the class, Kim Cowart settled for the Reserve World's Champion of Champions title in this class for the first time in the last three years. Winner here in 2012 with My Wonder and World's Champion of Champions last year with He's In Style, Kim came close to doing it again here tonight with a great ride for Sharyn Lackey and the West Wind banner. Also the Reserve World's Champion in the Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding qualifier, He's In Style is by Deep Blue and out of She's In Style, by Desert's Supreme Memories. This family has been remarkable on the green shavings, as She's In Style is also the dam of World's Champion The Cat Walk and Reserve World's Champion Cat Can Do. She herself is a full sister to World's Champion Bono. Tiffany Wheeler had to miss out on Steve's World's Grand Championship ride but made up for that with a great turn of her own in third aboard Fox Grape's Sierra Madre for Fox Grape Farms. He's Taylor Made and Kristen Bagdasarian racked up a storm in fourth for Johnny and Linda Bowen.

The rainiest Saturday night in memory wrapped up a week of unseemly weather. Apparently we got lucky at Lexington this year, so we paid for it at the fair. What a week it was, with over 2000 horses and ponies vying for those coveted blue ribbons. Let's keep that momentum rolling. Let's keep pushing forward for a brighter future. Don't rest on the laurels of a great week, but press on into the unknown of changing our industry for the better.  

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