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Louisville - Thursday Evening

The Thursday night kickoff was once again the home of the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship. The extensive hardware that is awarded to the winner of this class speaks directly to the history, importance, and distinction that comes with this title. The World’s Champion of Champions was greeted in the winner’s circle by a full dozen dignitaries and luminaries of the equitation world to present all of the trophies. This year’s World’s Champion of Champions had to weather a pattern that featured an extensive trot with no stirrups, including a circle at the trot. What a way to end a career in Freedom Hall. Aleia Brown was that World’s Champion of Champions tonight with her longtime partner, CH-EQ Madeira’s Fame. It ends for Aleia with five World’s Championship wins and six Reserve World’s Championships in her storied career. The Cape Cod Equestrian Center team of Reese and Erin Richey ran stride for stride to the far end, as Aleia spent most of the rest of her time in the ring seemingly with one hand on her reins. First she covered her face with her white-gloved hand as the tears came, then she gave her wonderful teammate several pats on the neck before waving up to the Cape Cod crowd and her mom in the stands. Even in the victory pass, her blanket of flowers was slipping and she deftly reached down and slid it back into place, even though this could very well be the first time she’s ridden with a floral blanket. She is just a natural on a horse, and she added this title to her NHS Good Hands Event National Championship and USEF Saddle Seat Medal National Championship wins.

Inexorably linked with Aleia is the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions, Cameron Kay. Teamed once again with CH Reedann’s Heir To Glory, Cameron has been pushing Aleia for the last two seasons, as they have swapped places back and forth throughout their campaigns. They always seem to be up against each other, especially since they are the same age. You can trace it all the way back to the 2009 Morgan Grand National, where Cameron scored the top spot in the 11-and-Under Saddle Seat Equitation National Championship, with Aleia coming in top three. They have crossed breeds and prizes and have grown together and because of each other. Cameron is about as correct a rider as they come. She has the ability to step down the rail faster than most any other entry, as she proved once again tonight, an asset that led her to last year’s UPHA Challenge Cup National Championship. It is sad to think that this will be the last time these two square off, as they swept all three national titles last year between the two of them. Macey Joan Miles and Lemon Shake-Up WRF stepped up with a big score in third for DeLovely, with Courtney McGinnis giving the red-and-black two-three-four in this class aboard CH-EQ Imagine My Surprise. Sydney Budzinski represented Knollwood in fifth, with Molly Codeanne sixth for Cater Stables. Ada Johnson was seventh under the guidance of Arcola Farm, with Kaeley Arterburn eighth for Zubrod Stables. Also making the workout and representing the younger group were Clara McCool and Scotty Bruggeworth, acquitting themselves quite well in this group of 19 to make the pattern.

Andy Freseth doesn’t always get the credit for being a jovial sort of fella, but those who know him have seen the sense of humor and enjoyment of his horses that are at his heart. Those things were shown to the masses tonight when his number was called to top the Junior Three-Gaited World’s Championship with Look Of Success. He had a momentary look of shock and then a big smile broke out before he made the ride down victory lane. The exceptionally beautiful Look Of Success is by Designed and out of Glenview’s Successful, by Radiant Sultan. Also the winner of the Junior Three-Gaited 15.2-and-Under World’s Championship this week, Look Of Success is owned by Amanda Dellinger, who was teary-eyed with the elated Hollow Haven crew. The crowd gave a good sendoff to Reserve World’s Champion of Champions Carson Nation. It’s hard to fault the dark bay gelding with all sorts of charisma. His head and neck sit in such a wonderful place for Neil Visser and owner Elisabeth Goth. The three-time World’s Champion was the Junior Three-Gaited Over 15.2 World’s Champion on Monday night. He is by Leatherwood’s Starlight and out of I’m Real. Soquili’s Harvest Moon and Mitch Clark were a good match again in third for MLS Equestrian LLC. It’s All About Grace and Peter Cowart continued their walk-trot tour in fourth for Ellen Susman.

It was an absolutely loaded Amateur Fine Harness World’s Championship tonight, featuring some of the brightest names in the game. It took a special horse and a special drive to win it, and that’s just what Phyllis Brookshire had up her sleeve tonight. Costa Nostra was the World’s Champion of Champions tonight for Don and Phyllis Brookshire and Matt Shiflet Stables. A winner here in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Costa Nostra is a black gelding son of The Harlem Renaissance and The Golden Bough. That resume got padded a whole bunch this week with two more Louisville victory passes. Janet Sterba made a highlining show, giving it all she had at the lines of CH Caraway’s New York Minute in a valiant title defense. Last year’s World’s Champion of Champions in this division is trained by Mercer Springs Farm. Husband and co-owner Jeff Sterba was on hand once again this year to cheer on his lady. She made him proud with a great performance. Amateur Gentlemen’s Fine Harness World’s Champion Renaissance Man’s Medici settled for third behind the two ladies. Chad Graham again was at the lines for William and Elizabeth Shatner and Autumn Hills Farm. Kalarama’s New York Lady and Vicki Reed are always factors with the pretty picture they display. The black mare was trimmed in white tonight for A.J. Bruwer Stables.

The oldest of three full siblings owned and bred by Bob and Tonya Brison, The Brightest Blue earned the Fairview team a World’s Championship tonight in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Mare Stake. You could see her sire’s stamp on her, as she is by Bluesville, the full brother to World’s Grand Champion Bravo Blue who is fast becoming a favorite of the Missouri horse trainers. Bob knows plenty about Bravo Blue, as does his brother in law, Virgil Helm. This filly is out of Undulata’s Something Special, an Undulata’s Nutcracker mare who traces back to the great Lady Gambler (BHF) on her bottom line. Tonya was all smiles along with assistant Nick Kinsinger as they headed up the victory pass. Roman Marcos smiled and saluted the crowd aboard Storm Seeker as the Reserve World’s Champions. By Thundergun, Storm Seeker is out of Spicy Champagne, an Heir To Champagne daughter. She made a fast forward show for the red ribbon for owners Dazzo Arabians and Saddlebreds LLC. Tre Lee and Absolutely Sassy were up next in third for Robert and Kim Grom. Sara Smile and Kelly Self took fourth here for James Orr.

With just one day off in between qualifier and championship in this schedule spanning eight days, the Roadster to Wagon horses returned for their final round of competition. Scatman Du scooted down victory lane in this class for the third time in this division. Also the winner of the qualifier here on Tuesday night, Scatman Du once again teamed up with Steve Crabtree for the win. It was a unanimous decision for the tricolor team. James Nichols and Ice Man got a nice salute from the crowd as the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions. The reigning National Champion in this division is owned by Betty Tucker.

CH Take A Guess’s first trip into the Louisville show ring came in 2004, showing in harness with Virgil Helm. He was back a year later as a gaited horse with the masterful horseman. After that, he went to Virgil’s niece, Morgan Brison, and she would go on to great success with the big bay son of CF First Night Out and Most Fair as a kids horse. Morgan got three seasons with the gelding in 13-and-Under Five-Gaited and juvenile gaited pleasure before the Grey Ridge team came calling to look for the next mount of Michelle Krentz. It was a match made in heaven from day one, as Michelle could jump aboard and point the dark bay wherever she wanted him to go, blasting down rail after rail, using her excellent ringmanship to her advantage. Susi Rambler Day got to present the CH Moses Memorial Trophy to “Picasso” that first year in 2010. They would win it again in 2013, and now this final time around, they got all three first place votes in one of the most thrilling Five-Gaited Pleasure World’s Championships in recent memory. With a group of 16 in the ring, four were selected for an additional round of work. Take A Guess kept getting bigger and brighter, and Michelle’s smile kept getting broader and wider. The crowd lit up for their first trotting pass, and followed them around the ring. Perhaps somehow knowing this was his last shot at glory, Take A Guess cranked back into the bridle in a spot that we had never even seen before, that’s just how extreme it was. He went out on top, as Peter Doubleday reported it would be his final show ring appearance. Bret Day and Katy Sterba headed up the round of honor one last time for owner Mary Krentz.

The Reserve World’s Champion of Champions tonight had never before been beaten in a five-gaited pleasure class here on the green shavings. CH Break On Through and Laura Elliott didn’t go down without a fight. In fact, they went down swinging. At the final rack of the workout, Laura made two sharp cuts of the ring with the chestnut athlete to take a pass side by side with Take A Guess that about brought the house down. The two horses = swapped places for one more rail as they headed to the lineup, delighting the crowd and putting the “Show” in horse show. Laura is never one to back down from a challenge. Who can forget her riding right at all of the ladies, including the great Nancy Leigh Fisher in the Ladies Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Championship last year? The World’s Champion of Champions a year ago settled for the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title tonight for Stockings N Stripes LLC and Autumn Hills Farm. He will no doubt pick right back up where he left off with his great run in this division. Also on the workout tonight were So Swank and Drew Taylor Hewitt, finishing third for DTH Saddlebreds. Janet Sterba got into her first Louisville workout, riding hard for fourth with CH Callaway’s Born For This, finishing out a tremendous night for the ownership team of Jeff and Janet Sterba.

A superstar here a year ago, Tango’s Token Kiss kept that status tonight with a stirring win in the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Championship. Fighting off a field of really nice young horses, Token Kiss took Smith Lilly to a great victory for owner Grace Arnold. By the up and coming stallion Tango’s Parting Kiss, Token Kiss is out of CF Deny Me Not. This chestnut stunner has yet to be beaten in his young career. Jim Stachowski had a talented black daughter of his Nutcracker’s Nirvana in here for Rhyann Stables. Nirvana’s Nevermind is out of Aurora’s Annie, a Callaway’s Northern Kiss daughter. This black filly was a powerful mover, all up and down and marching to the red prize in reserve. Another nice youngster by Samur, Samur’s Cover Girl was third with Danny Lockhart up for James Orr. Sedgefield’s Mirror Image and Rob Byers came fourth for Golden Creek Farms.

The Ladies Fine Harness World’s Champion of Champions was CH Our Brilliant Belle for the third straight year. Mary Gise scored her first tricolor on the green shavings with the brilliant blonde mare, as trainer Lynda Freseth did the honors the past two years. This was an eighth Louisville win for the daughter of Joe Fabulous and Finally In Tune. Mary has really come together with the game and talented mare, making two great drives and two great victory passes this week. The royally bred St. Nick EGF scored his best prize yet in this division. The Reserve World’s Champion of Champions is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of World’s Grand Champion An Heir About Her. St. Nick was a Reserve World’s Champion in ladies walk-trot in 2013. Patrice Watson O’Brien got the driving duties for Ashlyn Farms. She was also at the lines for wins at Rock Creek and Shelby County Fair. Happy Boy and Tammy Devore were up next in third for Helen Rich, while A Magical Melody and Jan Beardsley Blanco finished fourth for Fairfield South.

You could really tell how much Mike Tunstall enjoyed riding the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion. He delighted the crowd when, instead of retiring to the in gate at just a walk, he ripped off one more racking pass aboard Be The First. Owned and bred by Frank Cook, Be The First possesses a ton of athleticism and speed, not often seen in a three-year-old. He made a special show tonight to win it for sire I’m First and dam Roselane’s French Lavender, a Top Spool mare. Faydelle Schott owns the Reserve World’s Champion, Undeniably Undulata ERB. By Undulata’s Nutcracker, he is out of a full sister to World’s Grand Champion Callaway’s Forecaster. Jim Lowry rode the chestnut with the ashen mane to a good reserve win tonight. They were also reserve at Lexington, having won the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic earlier in the year at Rock Creek. Emily Lee took We Must Be Really Nuts to third for R and L LLC. Callaway’s Brioni and Smith Lilly were up next, finishing fourth for Callaway Hills Stables.

Futurette followed up her Sunday night win with a tricolor performance tonight. She was a sight for Larry Hodge, turning around and really getting rolling for Tim and Mary Shea. This daughter of Wine Women And Song has plenty of chrome and plenty of park trot. She is out of Miss Moriarty, by For What It’s Worth. She has really come into her own this year, earning a Reserve World’s Championship last season. Also keeping it going for the mares, Diamond Bezel was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions with Pedro Martinez. Barbara Hendrickson is the owner of this daughter of First Watch and Silhouette’s Easter Renaissance. First Watch is by CF First Night Out and out of the super walk-trot star, Mayme Phelps. Easter Renaissance is by Belle Reve’s Renaissance Man. Cupid’s Marc represented his World’s Champion lineage in third for Tre Lee and Steven Chancellor. Undulata’s Crystal Crown AMF and Gary Garone finished fourth for Jan Beardsley Blanco.

The USTA Roadster to Bike Classic is the home of the future stars of the road horse game. These are all newcomers to the show ring, having less than a year of experience. Raymond Shively scored the tricolor round of honor in this event for fifth time and the third year in a row. Tonight, it was Track Star following in the footsteps of Thunderbolt, Ice Man, Taking Care Of Business, and Warhorse, finishing out as the champion for R and L LLC. The always rare chestnut color was a blur tonight down victory lane. Mike Felty got a good salute from the crowd as the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions. He drove My Casey to that title for Jacob Bowman. These two also had reserve wins at both Shelbyville and Shelby County Fair this year. Melinda Moore always has a top contender in this one, she took third with Lear Jet. Rumspringa4Life was fourth here with Steven Yoder driving for Jonathon Fisher.

It’s tough to send young horses back to the rail, but it was necessary in the Junior Five-Gaited World’s Championship, the Thursday night finale. It was a second four-horse workout on the night, this one featuring a wonderful group of four four-year-old mares. A year ago at Southeastern Charity, Georgeanne Nash saw James Hale ride a pretty chestnut filly with lots of flash and charisma. She bought her that week, then called her trainer Matt Shiflet to let him know! Matthew knows what a good eye Georgeanne has, but he couldn’t have imagined how great this deal would work out. This filly has now become Junior Five-Gaited World’s Champion of Champions No Tan Lines. Sired  by Commander’s Stud Muffin, a son of Zovoorbij Commander In Chief (SA), No Tan Lines is out of Miss Fiji LGF. The blonde bombshell is going to be one heck of a teammate for Georgeanne Nash in the years to come, as she has everything you could want in a ladies horse. Kenny Smith pushed hard as the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions with the brilliant black mare, Divergent. The entry of Barbara Goodman Manilow is by Callaway’s Guy Park and out of Last Night Out, adding that dash of CF First Night Out blood that Barbara so often likes. Kenny has scored wins at Blue Ridge and Midwest Charity this year with the pretty mare. She is another one that will look absolutely perfect with Maya and Barbara in the coming years. Bret Day and There’s Something About Mary gave it their all in the second go, coming third for Carroll Robertson Ray. I’m A Sugar Shaker and A.J. Bruwer rounded out the workout crew for Vicki Reed. 

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