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Louisville - Thursday Evening

Thursday evening was an action packed night from the first class to the last and it started with a big Kentucky State Fair Senior Equitation Championship. When the gate opened and the horn sounded, they just kept coming down the ramp. Each one in the great group of 21 had to find a place on the rail in hopes of finding a place on the cards of Fran Crumpler, Kent Swalla and Steve Crabtree.

By the time the class reversed, it had become a class of 20 and when they lined up it took serious discussion by the panel to decide who would perform the workout. Announcer Peter Doubleday called out 12 numbers beginning with back number five Cassie Bell. The remaining riders selected to perform the intricate workout were Aleia Brown, Alice Rowland, Kailin Baechle, Catherine McCool, Courtney McGinnis, Caroline Moeller, Juliette Dell, Jessica Wuesthofen, Alexandra Albrecht, Sydney Budzinski and Lexie Freidrich. As 12 riders prepared to work again, the remainder exited Freedom Hall.

Riding in numerical order, all 12 did a great job with a demanding workout and the panel had to decide in what order their numbers should be called by Doubleday.

Not only were the top three riders from the same barn, they were each riding horses that had earned their champion of equitation prefixes.

In the end, it was 17-year-old class winner Jessica Wuesthofen named as the world’s champion of champions with her horse CH-EQ Chanti’s Prayer. This was yet another tricolor title for the talented young lady from Illinois. DeLovely Farm teammate Courtney McGinnis claimed the reserve world’s champion of champions title with her mount CH-EQ Kiss Of The Zodiac and Juliette Dell, reserve finisher in the 16-year-old class, exited with the yellow streamers on her horse CH-EQ Imagine My Surprise. Sydney Budzinski and Royal Tryst, 14-year-old reserve world’s champions, were fourth from Knollwood Farm and were followed by fifth place finisher Kailin Baechle on Harley Rally riding under the direction of Gary Garone. They had already earned the world’s championship blue ribbon in the 16-year-old class.

 Knollwood rider Lexie Friedrich and Autumn’s Rainmaker were sixth followed by 17-year-old reserve world’s champion Caroline Moeller with He’s My Beau from DeLovely Farm. The eighth and final ribbon went to Alexandra Albrecht, riding (SA) SJ Denmark’s Geronimo under the direction of Scott and Carol Matton.

The Junior Three-Gaited Championship, with 12 entries, set up a battle for the top spots between sweepstakes class winner HS Daydream’s Celebrity, 15.2 and under class winner Nutter Butter and over 15.2 class winner Undulata’s Secret Rendezvous. All three made plenty of leg waving passes amidst a strong challenge from several others in the class. One entry had elected to leave the class to compete another day so 11 horses were stripped for conformation judging.

When riders remounted it was Rob Byers who headed with the Undulata’s Nutcracker and Aisling’s Treasure son Nutter Butter to the presentation of the tricolor and trophies as the unanimous world’s champion of champions for Sally Groub Gayeski. Nelson Green and HS Daydream’s Celebrity, sired by Sir William Robert and out of the great hall of fame broodmare A Daydream Believer, took the reserve title for owners and breeders Hagan Saddlebreds and Undulata’s Secret Rendezvous (Undulata’s Nutcracker x Gotta Secret) was third with John Conatser up for Rose Arbor Farm.

The amateurs headed down the ramp and onto the green shavings with their fine harness horses and all nine horses did a great job but in the end it was amateur ladies qualifier winner Military Secret named as the unanimous world’s champion of champions. Grace Arnold’s gelding, sired by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Secret Smile, defended his title from last year with plenty of support from the crowd and showed under the direction of trainer Jim Cherry and Cherry Stables assistant Brandon Jones.

Vicki Reed and Kalarama’s New York Lady had their fan club in place to cheer their reserve world’s championship in the amateur ladies class earlier in the week and they returned to cheer Reed and her I’m A New Yorker daughter out of Lady Whitney to their reserve world’s champion of champions title.

The Audrey Gutridge Award was presented to Babs Spencer Santarelli before the Five-Gaited Pony Championship entries came through the gate. Nine junior exhibitors and their ponies put on a great show but it was the highly decorated and multi-world titled CH Sprinkles named as the Five-Gaited Pony World’s Champion of Champions with Eleanor Rainbolt-Forbes up for Rainbow Princess Farms LLC. The spotted mare is always hard to miss and she put on a powerful performance to take the tricolor.

CH Sunken Treasure and McGee Bosworth were rewarded for their great team effort with a big share of the crowd’s applause and exited wearing the reserve tricolor. Mary and Even Orr met them at the out gate for the trip back to the barn.

It’s been acknowledged many times before that the green shavings and a screaming crowd in Freedom Hall can make even the most veteran of competitors nervous or intimidated and the class of six Ladies Roadster To Bike entries became a class of five even before the final entry was in the ring.

When the gate closed and the action was underway however, all five had the crowd behind them including the winner Iamnotacow. Rebekah Cloninger drove the popular roadster to the ladies class win under the direction of Jon Walker. Debbie Foley drove Spellbound to the reserve ladies title for owner Jeff Purcell.

Speaking of intimidating, there aren’t a lot of owner-trainer combinations that would choose to make Freedom Hall the place for a show ring debut. There are even fewer combinations that would choose to do it with a three-year-old but Kenny Smith and Barbara Goodman Manilow teamed up to do just that in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Mare class with Master Suite.

Smith and the daughter of Master Class and Callaway’s Mother Macree faced four other teams and turned back all challengers with a strong effort to win in unanimous fashion. Chris Brannan, of Wingswept Farm, teamed Just Browsing, also a daughter of Master Class, to the reserve world’s title.

The road horses always get the crowd worked up and help increase the noise level and the excitement level regardless of whether they are being shown to the bike or to the wagon. The lady drivers had already put on an exciting class so by the time the Roadster To Wagon Championship entries finished their class, the crowd was worked up and ready to cheer on the winner. Mark Catron was on top of the world after Cookie Monster’s win earlier in the week so as he took his hat off and headed to pick up the tricolor, his excitement over going two for two was infectious. Last Call and Raymond Shively put together the reserve effort and they left the ring with the a lot of the crowd’s support.

The Junior Fine Harness Championship hosted six entries and Sir William Robert sired three of them including HS Baby Steps. Larry Hodge drove the Hagan Saddlebreds-bred daughter of I Am The Dream to the win for Hillcroft Farm. The mare earned her unanimous decision and second world’s championship title after having already been named Sunday night’s ASR Four-Year-Old Sweepstakes Fine Harness winner.

Tempt Me, sired by (SA) Dorian Wild Temper and out of the mare Marty Jones, was a popular choice of the crowd not only because of the mare’s powerful effort but also because of whip Tiffany Wheeler’s elegant turnout. The pair exited with the reserve tricolor for owner Sally Jackson.

The crowd was on their feet more than once as Ceil Wheeler and her beloved gelding CH Walterway’s Remember Me put on one last show in Freedom Hall during his retirement ceremony. The wonderful tribute closed with a blanket of roses laid across his back for his walk out of the ring.

The three-gaited pony riders came into the ring to vie for their own blanket of flowers to be placed across the back of the winner and all nine teams turned in a strong effort. Showing to defend a world’s championship title can put added pressure on an exhibitor but Alexis Landreth and CH Manhattan’s Irish Cream proved they were up to the task and they were unstoppable on their way to the winner’s circle as the unanimous Three-Gaited Pony World’s Champion of Champions for Equestrian Investments of Tennessee LLC. Tammy Devore was ecstatic as she ran in the ring to meet the team she directed to their second Three-Gaited Pony World’s Champion of Champions title in a row.

Camille Cowart piloted A Silver Charm for Little Cahaba Properties into the reserve world’s champion of champions win after having won the qualifier earlier in the week under the West Wind Stables banner. CH Powerful Tango and Emilea Stinnett moved way up in the ribbons and turned in a strong team effort for third place for Woodlea Farms LLC under the direction of Mary and Evan Orr.

Ladies night continued with their elegant presentation of their harness horses in the Ladies Fine Harness Championship. Lynda Freseth had Our Brilliant Belle in top form hoping to follow up their win from the ladies class for Priscilla Gise Revocable Trust. The flaxen mane and tail mare exudes presence and athletic ability with every step. No stranger to top prizes, CH His Supreme Reflection and owner Joy Warren had earned the reserve world’s title in the ladies qualifier under the direction of Nelson Green who directed the gelding to his win on the green shavings last year in the Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited Over 15.2 class.

They joined the four other lady drivers who all presented their horses beautifully and in the end it was Our Brilliant Belle who made it two for two with Freseth in the viceroy to pick up the tricolor as the world’s champion of champions. CH His Supreme Reflection added the reserve tricolor and title to his accomplishments for the week with Warren.

The night had provided numerous highlights and memorable moments so far but no one knew yet that the next class, the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited, would prove to be one of the best of the night.

Fourteen youngsters had to fight to find a place on the rail and they settled in to work first direction when a thrown shoe required a time out. When Use Your Illusion and James Stachowski headed to the center to replace the shoe, it wasn’t quite yet apparent how their night was going to go. The big class was incredibly deep with talent with the large majority of entries having at least one win to their credit before coming to Freedom Hall. When Use Your Illusion returned to the rail, the big group continued to make great passes and the crowd picked their favorites. Things were heating up when there was a collective groan as Use Your Illusion threw the shoe at the canter.

Stachowski had a choice to make. Since he couldn’t take another time out, he had to either stay in and show the entire second direction without the shoe or take the gate. He knew what he had but the crowd didn’t when he decided to turn around and go for broke.

The challenge the mare faced was that she was battling a group that included the Lexington winner, Shelbyville winner, JD Massey Classic winner, Missouri State Fair winner, Big D winner and Central States Benefit winner amongst others.

It didn’t take long however for the crowd to realize that Use Your Illusion was going the same with three shoes as she had been going with four. As she headed down the rail the crowd cheered her on and Stachowski was now faced with the task of keeping her contained. Meanwhile, Neil Visser and Tefnut were challenging and Matt Shiflet and Heartbreak Warfare had declared warfare with their strong effort.

Stachowski and the daughter of Mountainview’s Heir To Fortune and My Prom Night that he and wife Shawn bred were accompanied by the roar of the crowd as they headed to claim the world’s championship blue ribbon.

Tefnut and Neil Visser put on a strong performance and they had plenty of crowd support as they headed out with the red ribbon. Sired by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of the mare Beat The Odds, Tefnut is owned by Diane Sembler Kamins. Tefnut was Beat The Odds’ second reserve world’s champion of the evening as she is also the dam of CH His Supreme Reflection.

Heartbreak Warfare (Tango’s Parting Kiss x Supremacy’s Melody) was third for Maple Lane Farm, while Zach Duffy teamed Heir To The Prince to fourth. Sired by The Town Prince and out of All Heir, Heir To The Prince is owned by Steven Lease.

Royal Rooster and Gerhardt Roos were fifth for Bob Shields and Revere was sixth with Tommy Benton up for Dr. Cheryl Brown Tilghman. Marie Bouvet exited with Madeira’s Reality Check and the seventh place ribbon for Julie Rouse and the final ribbon went to Reedann’s Fantastic Design and Scott Wendt who rode for Sheilds & Associates.

There were two American Road Horse & Pony Association Hall of Fame Presentations for Elton Cates and Steve Hanks before the USTA Roadster To Bike Classic. The class is always exciting and with 10 entries this year’s competition was no exception although this was yet another class with a time out.

Raymond Shively had Taking Care Of Business speeding around the turns and navigating through the crowd to be named the world’s champions and when Peter Doubleday announced his win it was for new owner Belle Reve Farm. Mike Felty and Mountain Beach were right there for the reserve ribbon for Lucas Equine Services. Mary Jo Schmidt and the horse she co-owns with Sarah Melnikoff were third and Holli Hayes drove Fast Track GRS to fourth for co-owner Lisa McMackin.

The final class of the evening brought the railbirds out in force to see who would win the 15-entry event. There was such depth and quality and so many great passes that the crowd excitement was palpable. They had plenty of good passes to cheer for. Neil Visser and Here Comes The Boom! were unstoppable and they took the win for Elisabeth Goth LLC after a powerful performance. Goth’s gelding is sired by Callaway’s Northern Kiss and out of Madame Cost A’Lot. Smith Lilly acknowledge the crowd’s support for his ride with Ceil and Kenny Wheeler’s Nuttin’ But Talk as they headed to pick up the red ribbon. The reserve world’s champion was sired by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Intoxicating Conversation.

Lucky You Lucky Me and Clark Clouse also had plenty of fans in the audience who supported their third place effort for owner Harold Denton, Jr. Mike Tunstall rode Blues In The Night to fourth for High Hickory Farm and Debbie Foley teamed Deputy’s Heir to fifth for Calvin Patton.

Noble Charm and Jim Lowry were sixth for Tri-Color Ventures and they were followed by I’m On First and Lisa Rosenberger-Jones and Always First with owner Darell Cruse.

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