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Louisville - Thursday Night

The evening began on a high note. Since the Kentucky Yearling Futurity had already been tied, the senior equitation riders were the first through the gate. And they just kept coming and coming. One of the biggest senior groups in recent years, 23 riders in all, kicked off an evening that would prove to be full of talent and surprises.

Riders were challenged to find those spots on the rail to showcase their skills for the panel and the tension mounted as they waited to see who would be selected for the workout. The panel named 11 riders and excused the remaining group. Kristen Smith, Brooke Boyer, Gavin Gagnon, Olivia Prentiss, Caitlin Donohue, Taylor  Newton, Callie Smith, Hunter Chancellor, Alexandra Lawson, Jessica Wuesthofen and Abigail Mutrux.

After all 11 riders lined up again, the panel conferred and when results were announced, Hunter Chancellor would be named the world’s champion of champions with two first place votes and earn the first tricolor of the night for DeLovely Farm and the Steven Chancellor family. Taylor Newton, showing from Sugar Knoll Farm, was called out for reserve and in a feat almost unheard of in equitation, rode the same horse she’s ridden since her walk and trot days; A Sweet Sensation. Alexandra Lawson earned a first place vote on her way to third place to add the yellow ribbon to the DeLovely total.

Fairfield South riders Gavin Gagnon and Olivia Prentiss were fourth and fifth, respectively. DeLovely teammates Abby Mutrux and Callie Smith followed in the ribbon count in sixth and seventh place respectively. Brooke Boyer, instructed by Kent Swalla, claimed the final ribbon.

A gorgeous group of 10 four-year-olds marched down the ramp for their Junior Three-Gaited Championship. After putting on a great class, they lined up to strip for conformation judging and when riders remounted the panel had the unenviable task of assigning ribbons. The son of Undulata’s Nutcracker and CH Garland’s Dream, Undulata’s Dream Team claimed the victory and world’s champion of champions title and two first place votes with Rob Byers showing for B & T Vonderschmitt LLC. The win followed their over 15.2 win Monday night. Work It, reserve to Dream Team earlier in the week and last year’s three-year-old section one world’s champion, claimed the reserve world’s champion of champions title. Ceil Wheeler rode the Castle Bravo and Titleist Imagination son to a first place vote.

Kentucky Proud, also sired by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of the mare Enchanting Elizabeth was third with Neil Visser up for Terri Dolan after their third place tie in the over 15.2 class. Maria Gilman and Legacy’s Cinemac (Caramac’s Legacy x Sleepy Creek’s Jenny Leigh) followed in fourth for Erin Eichenbaum.

The Amateur Fine Harness Championship, with six horses, wasn’t a huge class but it featured six good ones and their amateur drivers hoping to capture the tricolor and the bounty of trophies awarded to the winner. The Wheeler family had already been having a great week and a great Thursday by the time Kenny Wheeler and Caraway’s New York Minute came through the gate to join the other five teams. That success would continue when the panel named them the winners with two first place votes. The victory had to have been made even sweeter with the awarding of the Sallie B. Wheeler Memorial Trophy, one of four special trophies the Wheelers received. Monday night’s amateur ladies world’s champion My Gypsy Moon finished as the reserve world’s champion of champions to close out her week with owner Donna Beck showing under the direction of Jared Ratzloff. My Gypsy Moon earned a first place vote on the way to the reserve world’s title.

The five-gaited ponies faced a huge group of 14 for their championship and the young riders rode hard and did a great job showcasing their ponies. Tyler DeVore has an innate sense of showmanship and he worked it for the crowd when CH The Champagne Lady was named the winner. When it was announced to the crowd that the mare sired by Champagne MC and out of Cracker Jackie and born in 1991 was making her final show ring appearance, the crowd enthusiastically cheered them out of the ring. Last year’s world’s champion of champions I See Daylight and the only rider to show him in the gaited pony division, Mitchell Tunstall, exited Freedom Hall with the reserve tricolor for Barbara Von Borries. The Sultan Shamrock H and Starheart’s Countess SLS son moved up in the ribbons from the 14-17 qualifier. CH Red Flame Thrower and Drew Taylor Hewitt earned a first place vote on their way to the yellow ribbon for Clark Clouse. Our Sonflower and Allie Poovey finished next in the ribbons for Todd and Margaret Poovey.

A trio of lady drivers was next to hit the green shavings for the Ladies Roadster To Bike class. Roadster classes are always a favorite with the crowd and the veteran lady drivers all earned their share of crowd support as they sped around the turns and down the rail. Melinda Moore, and her recently purchased roadster Scruff earned all three number ones from the panel to be named the unanimous world’s champions.

Lisa McMackin and Moore’s former entry Talladega Nights have only been a team since they debuted at Bourbon County Fair but they did a great job to finish with the red ribbon. Moore and Talladega Nights won the ladies class in Freedom Hall last year.

The Five-Gaited Three-Year-Old Mare class featured eight flashy mares and they all had their supporters but in the end after a great class, it would be the already two-time winner this year, Undulata’s High Society (Undulata’s Nutcracker x In Undulata Fashion) named the winner with Anne Neil up for Pidgeon Roost Farm. The pair was a sensation at Asheville Lions Club and Chattanooga Charity and their victory made them three for three for the season so far. Princess Lindsey, sired by CH Heir To Champagne and out of Pocketfull Of Magic, was the reserve world’s champion with a strong effort. Tracy James Rossouw was up for James Orr. Harlem’s Lotta Love was Harrodsburg’s UPHA Classic winner and finished the night in third place with a first place vote and a lot of crowd support with Danny Lockhart up for owner and breeder Joan Hamilton.

Raising The Bar, with four wins to his credit already this season and a reserve in Monday morning’s open roadster to wagon class, turned it on and thrilled the crowd to win the Roadster To Wagon Championship with Mark Turner in the wagon for the Glenn Werry family. Scatmam Du and Steve Crabtree earned a first place vote and the title of reserve world’s champion of champions for owner Ray Yoder. Postmaster Mike and Jon Dabareiner took the yellow streamers for Fish ‘N Fun Farms and Go For Broke earned a first place vote to claim the final and fourth place ribbon with Mike Bacon driving for Brad Bacon.

The Junior Fine Harness Championship featured six powerful harness horses and they put on a great class. The panel however was in complete agreement at the conclusion that Our Brilliant Belle, Lexington’s junior stake winner and the junior mare winner Monday evening with Jim Taylor driving, was the world’s champion of champions. Taylor drove the daughter of Joe Fabulous and Finally In Tune for the Priscilla Gise Revocable Trust. Military Secret, the stallion and gelding qualifier winner and winner of all three of his classes this season in California with Jim Cherry, represented his sire Undulata’s Nutcracker and dam Secret Smile with the unanimous reserve world’s champion of champions title for Grace Arnold. Alde-Mar’s Crystal Pistol, also sired by Undulata’s Nutcracker but out of the mare CH Crystal Illusion, followed up the reserve in the stallion/gelding qualifier to claim the yellow ribbon with Hoppy Bennett driving for owner and breeder Janet Kellett.

Just as the five-gaited ponies had faced a big group for their championship, the walk-trot ponies battled it out with a group of 11 to compete for their championship tricolor and title.

The elite field, which read like a “Who’s Who” in the division traded good pass after good pass with the crowd getting behind their favorites but when it was over, the panel named CH The Attache Orchid their favorite with two of the three first place votes. Hunter Chancellor started her night in tricolor fashion and she finished it in tricolor fashion to keep her pony undefeated so far in 2011. Their 14-17 qualifier win was their sixth world’s championship and the championship victory marked their second tricolor at Louisville. The team of Dominique Bowlen and Powerful Tango, with six wins already this season and the reserve world’s championship in the 14-17 qualifier, exited with a first place vote and title of reserve world’s champion of champions under the direction of Cater Stables. The Supreme Heir daughter Amelia Heir Cat had already carried Sallie Mason Wheeler to the 13 and under world’s championship Monday morning and sister Catherine Wheeler to last year’s 13 and under world’s title when she was named to third place with Sallie Mason. Last year’s Three-Gaited Pony Championship defending champion CH Manhattan’s Irish Cream, a winner already at River Ridge, Bonnie Blue and Shelby County Fair, earned the white ribbon with Alexis Landreth up for Equestrian Investments of Tennessee LLC.

The Ladies Fine Harness Championship started with eight but finished with seven and the panel would end up divided about who they thought had won it. With the ladies dressed to the nine’s and putting their harness horses in the right spots to impress the judges, they each had the crowd cheering them on.

CH Lace’s Last Tango, 2010 Fine Harness World’s Grand Champion and winner of the ladies championship last year with Priscilla Marconi, would make it two years in a row to take the ladies world’s champion of champions title, this time for Sharyn Lackey. Kim Cowart had already teamed the daughter of (SA) Arborlane Tango’s Wee Pee and CH Sultan’s Leather & Lace (BHF) to the ladies class win. The striking black mare Lady Vol and her always-dressed-to-impress owner Chris Kaplan, the 2007, 2008 and 2009 ladies world’s champion of champions and ladies class world’s champions, left the ring this year as the reserve world’s champion of champions and earned a first place vote under the direction of Mike Roberts. Catalytic and Mary Cockriel earned a first place vote and the yellow ribbon for third for owner Martin Cockriel. Mary and Martin Cockriel had taken turns all season with the powerful gelding to earn 13 blues this season including two with Elaine Galatz in the buggy.

A great group of three-year-old’s paraded into Freedom Hall for their three-gaited class. Twelve young equines handled the crowd, the noise and the big class well and their hard riding trainers jockeyed for position to make that great pass for the judges.

The big-going She’s My Sugarland, a daughter of Born Contender and African Dixie, earned all three votes from the panel to claim the world’s championship. Andre Van Schalkwyk rode for the win which followed up their reserve in the UPHA classic at Blue Ridge for owner Susan Olcott. Todd Graham teamed Callaway’s Make It Easy On Yourself, by Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of Simply Manila, to the reserve for owner Emma Nichols. Rachel Zoe, sired by Ocean’s Roar and out of Carefulleigh, was third with Walden Bullard up for Georgia Herpin Baker. Debbie Foley rode to the top four finish with Midwest UPHA classic winner HS Decorum. Foley rode the Sir William Robert and A Daydream Believer (BHF) son for Hagan Saddlebreds.

The action turned to the $15,000 USTA Roadster To Bike Classic, historically a crowd favorite and always one of the most exciting roadster classes. The crowd on this night again rose to almost a fever pitch as they cheered on their favorites as they turned it on at speed. The panel was again divided and each of the top three earned a first place vote.

Lexington’s Roadster To Wagon Grand Champion and open champion with Judy McNeish driving, Ice Man, headed to the winner’s circle to add yet another roadster win to Raymond Shively’s legendary total. Lady Cat, with Matt Shiflet driving was reserve for ecstatic owners Fish ‘N Fun Farm’s Jon and Lisa Dabareiner. Melinda Moore, winner of the class last year with Belle Starr, exited in third with V Tach for Dr. Robert Pugh and Steve Crabtree teamed Unbridled Star, a winner at both ARHPA and Mercer County Fair, to fourth.

The evening’s final class, the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion and Gelding, with 15 entries was one of the night’s deepest and a fantastic way to end a great night of competition.

Asking three-year-olds to handle all that showing at night in Freedom Hall entails is one thing. Asking them to fight through a huge group of 15 with the sweeping straightaways and tight turns on the somewhat slick green shavings is another. None handled it as well however as Just Plain George. Debbie Foley rode the bay son of Callaway’s Blue Norther and her beloved Undulata’s Georgie Girl to the win to follow up their reserves at Asheville and Midwest. Debbie Gabbert’s youngster earned two first place votes for the win. The aptly named Bad Economy was reserve with Darell Cruse in the irons for Richard Gilbert. Sired by Roseridge’s In The Zone and out of Worthy Jewel, the three-year-old turned in a strong effort for the red ribbon.

Memories Of The Heart, sired by Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of Kalarama’s My Heart, was third with Matt Lightner riding for Cross Timbers Enterprises. Fourth place went to Roselane’s Town Mystery (The Mystery Writer x Callaway’s Make A Wish) for Alden Farms. Tammy DeVore showed to follow up their win at Bonnie Blue. Charming Dreamer, sired by Santana’s Charm and out of Man What A Dream, won the UPHA classic at Midwest before earning the fifth place finish tonight with A.J. Bruwer up for New Millennium Equine Endeavor. Mountjoy’s Uptown (Santana Hosanna x Miss Faux Fox) was next in the ribbon count and came into the class reserve in the UPHA classic at Rock Creek. Gerhardt Roos, of Alliance Stud, rode for Harry Campbell. A Day In The Park (Callaway’s Guy Park x Anna’s Treasure) was seventh with Todd Graham and they were Indy Charity’s UPHA Five-Gaited Classic Champions for Melvin Blankenship.

The final ribbon went to Designed By Gold with Bob Brison showing for Redwing Farm. Sired by Designed and out of Hour Of Gold, Designed By Gold earned a first place vote from the panel and had already won the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic at Central States Benefit earlier this season.

From the huge Senior Equitation Championship to the huge Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion and Gelding class and everything in-between Thursday night was a great night in Freedom Hall.

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