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Louisville - Sunday Evening

by Bob Funkhouser

It had had been building for the past few weeks. The buzz rang throughout the industry that Louisville was upon us again and sure enough at 6:30 p.m. announcer Peter Fenton called to the ring class one of a scheduled 245. Saddlebred and Hackney enthusiasts from coast to coast and several foreign countries made the trek to the Kentucky State Fairgrounds to take part in and witness the show of shows.

There were a few things different about the start of the 110th World’s Championship Horse Show, namely the traditional ASR Futurity Of Kentucky Weanling was not the first class. Instead, we started with the 18-horse ASR Four-Year-Old Sweepstakes Park Pleasure class, surely a record number of entries for a Sweepstakes class. When the class had been worked and stripped and the results announced, Dena Lopez and Princess Warrior were called to the winner’s circle. This wasn’t this team’s first visit to the Louisville winner’s circle as they won the ASR Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Futurity World’s Championship last year. The winner of $4,682 for her performance, Princess Warrior is sired by Dorian Warrior’s Song and out of Alyssa Lopez’ former Three-Gaited Pony World’s Champion, Our Sunbeam. Continuing their great season together, Sheri Brandl and Stick To Your Guns collected the reserve money in the tough class, while Robert Gardiner and Niki Mianaj rounded out the top three.

Next up was the 31-horse ASR Futurity Of Kentucky Weanlings with many of the top sires in the country represented. Just purchased last night by Candy Hyman’s Hy Horse Farm, First Encore was called out for the first unanimous decision of with Bret C. Day on the lead. The finely chiseled son of World’s Champion I’m first and Dancing Nightly could march a trot fix himself like a world’s champion should on the way to an $8,300 payday. The crowd also roared its approval of reserve world’s champion Patrick Jane (PVF’s Shriver This x Gia), an entry led by Zach Duffy for the Backer/Cherry ownership. Another colt sired by Matt Shiflet’s top, young stallion, Tango’s Parting Kiss, Let’s Go Tango was third with Shiflet presenting for Sharon Anderson.

It was time to kick off the 2013 Kentucky County Fair Championships with the harness horse division first up. Melissa Moore got the call tonight for Golden Creek Farms, driving the Harlem’s Renaissance son, Costa Nostra, to the title. Moore and Mary McClean had been sharing the driver’s seat this season with Costa Nostra winning at Rock Creek, Mercer County Fair, May Classic and Ky Spring Premier. Dena Lopez was making a strong bid for her second win of the night, however, she had to settle for reserve with Written Stone, an entry of Kay Marschel.

Last year Golden Creek and Majestic Oaks won all the County Fair pony classes and they started off that way again this year. Rich and Maureen Campbell directed Kilbro’s Code Red and Toni Nastali to the Kentucky County Fair Harness Pony Championship, followed by last year’s winners, Last Call and Mary McClean.

All three judges agreed that HS Baby Steps was the winner of the ASR Four-Year-Old Fine Harness Sweepstakes. First place money of $4,682 was awarded to the 2012 ASR National Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity World’s Champion with Larry Hodge providing the winning driver for Hillcroft Farm. Sir William Robert put his stamp all over this gifted champion. Reserve among the five entries went to Carl T. Fischer’s Samuri Lady. With lots of presence, Samuri Lady was driving by Peter Palmer.

Bred for the green shavings, The Nutcracker Prince (Undulata’s Nutcracker x CH Heir Style) paraded as the Kentucky County Fair Three-Gaited Grand Champion with an elated Chris Reiser riding for Tina Stood. They garnered a unanimous decision among the nine entries. Continuing their great season, Patsy Lloyd and Callaway’s Undercover Blues earned the reserve nod for Larry Hodge.

The best of the County Fair pony classes was the 10-entry road pony championship. They came hard and they came strong, but no one topped the performance given by Heartland Flurry and owner/trainer Jerry Cummins. Mercer County, Lawrenceburg, Bourbon County and Burlington Spring were among the champions’ winning venues this year. Heartland Smooth Operator stays at the top of the ribbons and did it again with Donna Whatley in reserve.

The star of the Sunday evening performance came from the ASR Four-Year-Old Five-Gaited Sweepstakes where $11,700 was waiting to be won. In this one, Fox Grape’s The Tiger Lily had all the athletic ability and presence one could ever want to rack and trot her way to a $4,682 payday. Steve Wheeler rode the daughter of Dorian Wild Temper and Callaway’s Carnation for owner/breeder Fox Grape Farms. Hard charging Callaway’s Cassia was put in all the right spots by Debbie Foley to garner the reserve world’s championship for Debbie Barkley.

With $8,326 first place money on the line, 19 of the nation’s top yearlings gathered for the ASR Futurity Of Kentucky Yearlings. The first and second places finishers were no strangers to winning this event. Darrell Case provided the winning lead for the light chestnut Quinella (Mr. Las Vegas x Caraway) Cleveland, Tennessee’s Blythewood Farm did was right there for reserve with Watch The Trick (First Watch x Harlem’s Rose Magic). Twice their handler came out of his shoe en route to the reserve world’s title.

Moving right along, literally, Spellbound and Debbie Foley were named champions of the Kentucky County Fair Road Pony Championship for Jeffrey Purcell. Juan Rios was at the gears for Street Legal to command reserve honors for Dr. Chip Pugh.

The Junior Three-Gaited Park star at Lexington Junior League, HS Daydream’s Celebrity was sporting a new haircut in Freedom Hall to win the ASR Four-Year-Old Three-Gaited Sweepstakes for owner/breeder Scott Hagan. From Pleasantview Farm, Alexandra Willie-Irmiter rode First Round Pick to reserve honors for the James Orr family,

Regal’s Trademark LF and Mary McClean returned the Kentucky County Fair Hackney Pony Championship to the Golden Creek Farms tack room. Adorned with a most unique headpiece, Elisabeth Goth drove Heartland New Leader to the reserve honors for Majestic Oaks.

Night one came to a close with the 10-entry Kentucky County Fair Five-Gaited Championship. This proved to be a highly competitive class with Tre Lee and the handsome bay horse, You Can Kall Me Lucky (Callaway’s Guy Park x Kall Me Inkredible) maneuvering through traffic to turn in the winning performance for Saddlebred Rowe LLC. A.J. Bruwer was aboard New York’s Real Magic to accept the reserve championship for Rudi Benke. 

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