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Louisville - Sunday Evening

It’s hard to believe we’re back in Freedom Hall for the 111th World’s Championship Horse Show. The summer has been a blur but this is what everyone has worked towards, seeing how they fit with the best of the best. As it has been for the past few years, opening night was dominated by the ASR Weanling and Yearling Futurities, the ASR Four-Year-Old Sweepstakes and the longstanding tradition of the Kentucky County Fair Championships.

Steve Buttleman sounded the bugle for the first of 245 scheduled classes for the week, this one being the 26-entry ASR Futurity Of Kentucky Weanling class with $15,781 in prize money waiting to be paid out. Many of the veteran breeders, owners and handlers were on hand for this one and when the winner was announced, Larry Hartsock sprang from his seat pumping his fist in the air. The reason for his celebration? The winning weanling, Whassup?, was sired by his stallion Exalted Effect. Whassup? had the benefit of being by a champion show horse and out of the winning gaited mare CH Pucker Up. Smith Lilly made the winning presentation for Kenny and Ceil Wheeler. They received a check for $7,890.

Reserve honors in the deep class went to Lady Elizabeth Coal, an entry exhibited by Bobby Dunn and J.D. Gardner for Cavitts Creek, Inc. Lady Elizabeth Coal is by Coal, a son of Five Minutes Til Midnight (by Jamestown) out of a CH Night Prowler daughter. A nice round of applause also went to third place finisher, Rock Man (Undulata’s Nutcracker x Torrential), an entry owned by Grey Ridge Farm and Willowbank Farm.

The first performance class of Louisville 2014 was the eight-horse Kentucky County Fair Fine Harness Championship where there was no shortage of talent. Lexington Junior League’s Fine Harness Grand Champion Cosmic Charm made the tricolor victory pass with Merrill Murray once again providing the winning drive for Grand Vin Stables. Samuri Lady provided strong competition to command reserve honors with Peter Palmer driving for owner/breeder Carl T. Fischer, Jr. who was honored by the ASHA later in the evening as its first ever Member Of The Day.

DeLovely Farm won its first world’s title of the week when Todd Miles piloted Sir Surreal (Sir William Robert x Harlem’s Irish Lass) to a unanimous decision in the ASR Four-Year-Old Three-Gaited Sweepstakes. Ashlyn Farms was the winning owner and received $5,499 for Sir Surreal’s performance. Junior Three-Gaited Champion at Midwest Charity and J.D. Massey, the talented Undulata’s Simbara was the reserve champion for trainer Neil Visser and owner Diane Sembler Kamins.

Three of Kentucky’s top pony establishments went head to head for the Kentucky County Fair Harness Pony Championship. The roses and tricolor in this one returned to Golden Creek Farms as Mary McClean piloted Last Call down victory lane. Last Class has several wins this year, including Lexington, Mercer County and Rock Creek. Last Call was also the winner of this Kentucky County Fair Championship in 2012. Former World’s Grand Champion Heartland Expectation marched to the reserve prize with Karen Frickey driving under the direction of Randy Harper.

Tammy DeVore had a huge smile on her face as she ran to the far end of the ring to greet brother Derrick Westbrook in the winner’s circle of the Kentucky County Fair Three-Gaited Championship. Westbrook and Soquili’s Manolito (Undulata’s Nutcracker x Mandala Remembered) turned back 11 other challengers to take the title for Susan Hanna. Among them, Leatherwood’s All Smiles was the reserve champion. Merrill Murray was catch riding for trainer Stephanie Sedlacko and owners Bransen and Denese Patch.

A unanimous decision went the way of Belle Reve’s Sgt. Pepper and Melinda Moore in the ASR Four-Year-Old Fine Harness Sweepstakes where they received $5,495 for their efforts. This youngster got its name from his sire, the former fine harness great CH Call Me Ringo. A reserve world’s champion in the ASR National Futurity last year, Rose Arbor’s Valentino (Undulata’s Nutcracker x Tornaado’s Tidal Wave) was reserve again this year with Dena Lopez on the lines for owner/breeder Joellen Fisher Blount.

The Kentucky County Fair Road Pony Championship was special for Meredithe Steinhauer, not only because she won it unanimously with CH Thunderation, but because it was announced that this was the 17-year-old pony’s last class. His career began back in 2003 with Rick Wallen winning the Mid West Hackney Four & Five-Year-Old Road Pony Jackpot. There would be many, many more titles over his storied career, including Blue Ridge Classic, Asheville Invitational, Bourbon County and the ARHPA show this year. Regal’s Night Shadow LF scored the reserve title with Jeff McClean driving for Golden Creek Farms. Majestic Oaks had two of the top three prizes as Holli Hayes drove Jayne Romano’s Heartland Painted Creation to third.

A total of $15,781 was paid out in the ASR Futurity Of Kentucky Yearling class, which featured 16 entries. A reserve world’s champion weanling in 2013, Patrick Jane moved up a notch to be crowned world’s champion in this yearling class and in doing so received a check for $7,890. Tre Lee made the winning presentation for Tim Cherry and Sandy Backer Cherry. Patrick Jane is sired by PVF’s Shriver This out of Gia, a daughter of World’s Champion CH Captive Spirit. Exalted Effect was the sire of the Weanling World’s Champion and now he was the sire of the Yearling Reserve World’s Champion. Walterway’s Think Big was Larry Hartsock’s entry presented by Smith Lilly.

Majestic Oak’s Holli Hayes was a busy young lady on this first night of the show. She warmed up in the Kentucky County Fair Road Pony Championship and by the time she hit the gate in the Kentucky County Fair Roadster To Bike Championship she was full throttle with Fast Track GRS to wear the roses for Lisa McMackin and Holli Hayes. They had just come off the Roadster To Bike Jackpot Championship at Blue Ridge Classic. Reserve honors in this one went the way of Nothing Else Matters and one of the biggest road horse enthusiasts in the business, Judy McNeish.

Sunday night was a great start to the week for the Kenneth Wheeler family and Mercer Springs Farm. The owner/trainer combination had already won the ASR Weanling world’s title to start the night off and now the ASR Four-Year-Old Five-Gaited Sweepstakes was theirs as well. Aboard Nuttin’ But Talk, Smith Lilly rode the son of Undulata’s Nutcracker and Intoxicating Conversation, herself a two-time reserve world’s champion and half sister to World’s Grand Champion CH One For The Road, for the Wheelers. They had a payday of $5,495.

From all-out fast to primped and beautiful, Holli Hayes continued her great evening for Majestic Oaks with a unanimous decision in the Kentucky County Fair Hackney Pony Championship. She drove Elisabeth Goth’s Heartland Majestic to the unanimous title. Last year’s winner, Regal’s Trademark LF, marched to the reserve streamers for Mary McClean and Golden Creek Farms.

The first session of Louisville 2014 came to a close with the five-entry Kentucky County Fair Five-Gaited Championship and earning the blanket of flowers and tricolor streamers was the multi-titled It’s Double O’ Deuce. No one was happier than his proud owner Sherry Frankel and trainer Melissa Moore. The grand stallion has seen his share of glory and this unanimous decision just added to his prolific record.  Kurt Tunstall and Diamond Designer have had their fans all season long and tonight was no exception as they scored the reserve title for Silver Brook Stables.

Day one is in the history books and horse show fans, especially trainers and exhibitors, hope tomorrow will be a little drier when the first division of the Country Pleasure Driving class is called to the ring at 9:00 a.m.

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