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Louisville - Thursday Evening

The evening session was action-packed from the first class to the last class and it began in a big way with a 17-entry Kentucky State Fair Senior Equitation Championship. A beautiful group of riders came through the gate to be judged by Barbe Smith, Midge Hunt and James Nichols and there were so many good riders in the class, 10 were selected to perform the workout.

Jessica Moctezuma, Rachel Machamer, Eleanor Watkins, Jacqueline Beck, Sarah Jane Smith, Deanna Lanigan, Brittany McGinnis, Callie Smith, Faye Wuesthofen and Ellen Medley Wright all vied for the eight ribbons to be awarded. When the cards were turned in, it was Ellen Medley Wright selected to take home the tricolor under the direction of DeLovely Farm. Jacqueline Beck exited the ring with the reserve ribbon which goes home to California. Callie Smith finished in the top three from Delovely followed by stablemate Faye Wuesthofen in fourth.

The Junior Three-Gaited Championship featured 10 nice four-year-olds competing for the title of World’s Champion Of Champions. A Travelin’ Man (SA Tornaado x Travelin’) and Todd Miles were named at the top of all three cards and gave the Wright Family and Shamrock Saddlebreds the first two wins of the night. I’m McDreamy, sired by Supreme Heir and out of Getting Fancy, finished with the reserve title and lots of crowd support. Kim Cowart, of West Wind, rode for owner Jacqueline Ware.

The Amateur Fine Harness Championship featured eight strong teams and they put on a great class. Nurse Goodbody and John Scheidt were met by Nelson Green for the presentation of the tricolor and flowers. Lace’s Last Tango and Priscilla Marconi were right there with a lofty performance to take the second place tricolor under the direction of Jim and Fay Lowry.

The Five-Gaited Pony Championship was next on the agenda and all seven ponies worked hard for the panel of Barbe Smith, James Hale and Gene van der Walt. When the ponies lined up, it was Billy Jewel selected as the winner with an elated Allison Combs riding and an equally elated Smith Lilly heading to the far end for the presentation. This was Allison's last junior exhibitor appearance in Freedom Hall, and she made the most of it! Last year’s winner Moon Charmer. with Tyler Miles, took the reserve tricolor back to DeLovely Farm.

The United States Three- and Five-Gaited World Cup teams filed into Freedom Hall for a special presentation prior to the Ladies Roadster To Bike class. Both teams head to South Africa for their 2008 World Cup competition later this year along with three-gaited coach Jo Cornell, manager Gary Garone, five-gaited coach Anne Speck and manager Missy Hughes.

Six ladies drove their road horses hard and put on a great show. Marilyn Macfarlane and Braveheart headed to the winner’s circle to pick up the blue for Walnut Way Farm. Rum’s Last Shot and Jennifer Robertson turned in the red ribbon effort for Infinity Stables after winning the Kentucky County Fair Championship on Sunday evening.

The three-year-olds had their chance to shine in the evening session and all three of their classes (three-gaited, five-gaited mare and five-gaited stallion/gelding) were split, although the splits barely had enough horses for ribbons and in one case did not have enough to award all the ribbons. The quality in each was a wonderful testament to the future of the industry as undoubtedly, many of these young Saddlebreds have a long and bright future in the show ring.

The Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Mare Sec. I class hosted eight sporty mares, but it would prove to be Debbie Foley’s night as she piloted the Callaway’s Blue Norther x Callaway’s Twice The Spice daughter, Callaway’s Don’t Sass Me, to the winner’s circle for Bill Walsh. Foxcross’s Divine Asset, sired by Attache’s Royal Assets and out of the mare Step-N-Time Venus, followed in the ribbon count for reserve with Billie Rae Graham up for Miller Marketing Comm. Inc. Gene van der Walt, James Hale and James Nichols tied the class.

One of the highlights of the night was watching the final appearance at Freedom Hall of Power Ranger as he won the Roadster To Wagon World’s Champion of Champions title for the fourth year in a row with Mark Turner. Power Ranger topped three other wagon horses for the win including the reserve grand champions Invincible Summer and Judy McNeish to give DeLovely Farm the top two spots.

The Junior Fine Harness Championship hosted a nice group and once again demonstrated that the future is bright for the young Saddlebreds coming up through the ranks. Last year's UPHA Classic National Champion Voulez Vous, with Tiffany Wheeler driving, won the class with a strong effort for Christopher Nalley and Jean Nalley. The Periaptor daughter, out of Akasha, is a homebred product of the Nalleys' breeding program. She topped the nine-entry championship pulling the harness cart once drawn by the great CH Rejoice. Lynda Freseth drove Elegant Dreamcatcher (Attache’s Royal Assets x Entirely Elegant) to exit with the reserve streamers for Thomas Brock Jr.

Barbe Smith, Gene van der Walt and James Hale judged the second section for the three-year-old five-gaited mares and they had seven hard working teams to evaluate. Once again, Debbie Foley headed down victory lane when the panel named Callaway’s Glimpse Into The Future the winner. Sired by Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of Callaway’s Zerelda, the mare picked up the win for Callaway Hills. Silver Brook made it a one-two sweep as Kohler’s It’s Magic, sired by Yorktown Magic out of Radiant High Rise, was named to reserve with Tracy James up.

The Three-Gaited Pony Championship was the biggest class of the night and a tremendous group of ponies came through the gate and all the young riders handled the deep water well. When the cards were turned in however, it was Manhattan’s Irish Cream who successfully held back all challengers to earn the tricolor for the second year in a row. Lindsey Shields rode for owner Kathleen Bagdasarian. The Attache Orchid and Hunter Chancellor were the reserve world’s champion of champions in the great class for the Steven Chancellor family. Jessica Wuesthofen and Amelia Heir Cat exited with the yellow ribbon for third to continue Glenmore Farm’s successful week and CH Tip O’ The Hat was fourth with Brittany Balagna up from Centre Pointe Stables.

The horses took a break from the green shavings as the action stopped for the special presentation of the American Road Horse and Pony Association’s Hall Of Fame Induction of Merrill Murray. Murray joined an elite list of previous inductees and Peter Fenton stepped into center ring to read the speech for the presentation.

When the gate call sounded, four ladies hit the ring with their fine harness entries and although the class was surprisingly small, it was a proven group of champions high-stepping their way onto the judges cards.

Chris Kaplan and Lady Vol won the class last year for Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery under the direction of Mike Roberts and the panel named them repeat Ladies Fine Harness World’s Champion Of Champions. Gone Platinum had plenty of crowd support as well and Patty Milligan drove to the reserve grand championship title for Mary Sally Aylward.

The Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited division featured two groups of nine elegant youngsters and in the first split, Gene van der Walt, Barbe Smith and James Nichols named Callaway’s Flying Blue the world’s champion after a strong effort with Larry Hodge. Hodge rode the Callaway’s Blue Norther, Callaway’s Sedona youngster for Luci Nouwens of South Africa. Sandy Currier and Ed Perwein’s hardworking Bebop Lady (CH Shoobop Shoobop x Undulata’s Penelope) marched to the second place red ribbon.

The USTA Roadster To Bike Classic is always a crowd favorite and Gene van der Walt, James Nichols and James Hale were all in complete agreement that Debbie Foley and Trio Bolero G were the champions of the competitive 10-entry class for Thomas Caisse. Emerson and Raymond Shively were right there for the second place finish for DeLovely Farm.

The first section for the three-year-old five-gaited stallions and geldings was next on the schedule and a stellar group of horses put on an impressive display for the crowd. It was the team of Bob Brison and Theresa Vonderschmitt’s night as Brison rode Undulata’s Health Nutt (Undulata’s Nutcracker x Heir’s Heiress) to the blue after a great display of teamwork for B & T Vonderschmitt. Tammy Devore exited with the red ribbon and a loud ovation from the crowd with reserve champion High Time’s Image Of Love (Supremacy’s High Time x Callaway’s Love You) for Noble Heritage Saddlebreds.

The second section for the three-year-old three-gaited horses was yet another competitive class and the eye-catching grey horse Paranormal took the victory pass with a unanimous decision. Lee rode the son of Deep Blue and Yarbrough’s Strawberry Delight for Belle Reve. Gene van der Walt, James Nichols and James Hale awarded the reserve title to Pretty Penelope, sired by Adriatic and out of CH Sultan’s Wing Solo, with Carter Cox riding for Betty Cox.

The final class of the evening, the second section for the three-year-old five-gaited horses ended the session on a high note and ended Bob Brison and Theresa Vonderschmitt’s night on an even higher note as they made it two for two.

Sterling Price (El Dorado’s Stonewall Jackson x Absolute Obsession) took the victory pass in the nine-entry class of hardworking stallions and geldings. I’m Looking For You and George Schmid drew a lot of attention on their way out with the reserve finish. Schmid rode the Roseridge Heir x Worthy Fun son for owner Kaye Bowles Durnell.

From the young equitation riders to the young five-gaited Saddlebreds, and great classes in between, the night showcased just how bright the future will be for this industry for years to come.

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