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Louisville - Wednesday Evening

The first of 14 classes through Freedom Hall's gate was the Ladies Three-Gaited Over 15.2 qualifier.  The specs for the ladies division are a little different from the amateur classes with manners and presence paramount.  Tonight the unanimous blue went to the 2011 World's Grand Champion Real Action.  Owned by Robin McKenzie Vuillermet, Real Action is a beautiful son of former World’s Champion Five-Gaited Stallion Desert’s Supreme Memories and he marched down the rail pass after pass for Kim Cowart in true ladies form to win his sixth world’s title in four years of showing in Freedom Hall, starting as a three-year-old. Lauren Burin was thrilled when her number was called to the reserve title aboard Callaway's No Reservations for Dr. James and Bev Beebe.  Kayla Spriggs put a great ride on I'm High N Mighty for Nancy Bryan rounding out the top three.

Picking up the pace, the Open Road Pony 50 Inches and Under burst down the chute next.  For the second year in a row the explosive Moment Of Excellence returned to the winner's circle.  The high stepping bay was piloted by Larry Ella for Bent Tree Farm LTD.  Ruth Gimpel took over the lines behind Romeo's Kristy Lee LF.  The black pony showed speed while holding form to earn the reserve title for Helen and James Rosburg.  Majestic Oaks teams Mr. Lucky Man with Patrice O'Brien and Kharbon Steel and Toni Nastali finished third and fourth respectively.

Five went to three in the Open Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding class but they were three nice horses with each capable to taking home the blue ribbon.  Tonight all three judges agreed that defending World’s Grand Champion Wild Carrissma and Bret Day had the winning performance.  This the second year the bold moving bay has marched away with the stallion/gelding title for owner Dr. Chip Pugh.  The beautiful black gown Misdee Miller wore set off the beauty of another former World’s Grand Champion, CH Castledream.  The pair garnered the reserve title while the Colorado sensation, Catalytic, finished third with Martin Cockriel on the lines.

During a pause the AHHS recognized Dudley Abbott for his involvement in the industry awarding him the 2012 AHHS Hall of Fame award. Abbott was joined by family and friends in the winner’s circle for the prestigious presentation.

The first section of the 14-17 Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited classes was next in Freedom Hall.  Standing out tonight was the striking black The Mighty Mouse with Hannah Houske.  This team came into the class undefeated with wins most recently at Shelbyville and Lexington and tonight they added a unanimous win to their resume moving up a notch from their finish in this class last year.  Karly Morgan has worked hard all season teaming up with Kentucky Proud.  Tonight all the work paid off as they put together a stunning performance for the reserve title.  CH HS Dignitary with Courtney McGinnis and CH (SA) Nelmar Tango 4 Ever and Natalie Sims rounded out the top four.

In a battle of world’s grand champions, the Open Hackney Stake the top spot went to the multi-titled Nabucco.  Gib Marcucci was again at the whip for Mary Campbell.  Ruth Gimpel earned her second reserve title of the night this time behind the toppy Heartland High Tech for Helen and James Rosburg.  Finishing third was Black Merlin and Shelby Young for David Crockett.

The extremely well filled Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding class was next up.  My Wonder and Kim Cowart took command of the ring from the start trotting and racking up a storm so when the winning number was called there was no wonder who the unanimous win would go to.  We’ve watched this young star progress all year for Cowart and they peaked tonight on the biggest stage. For her second win of the night, Cowart was up for Stefanie Sanchez.  Last year's winner of this class Fox Grape's Dauntless settled for the reserve title tonight but not without making it hard for the winner.  Dr. Owen Weaver had yet another solid performance on this great homebred gelding.  Deborah Butler also turned in a nice show aboard the rangy Grand Master Flash.  The DeLovely team carried out the yellow ribbon.

Nine made the gate call for the Open Three-Gaited Over Two Stake.  What a nice class but when the work was done it was another high for trainer Matt Shiflet as he directed Hi On Heir to the win.   This grand horse is new to the division trimmed just this spring at Asheville. He really fits the division with his long neck and park trot.  Shiflet was up for Phyllis and Don Brookshire.  CH Grande Gil has been off the show circuit since his World's Grand Champion title in 2010.  Tonight he was back in top form with Larry Hodge aboard for Hillcroft Farm earning the reserve title and a nice show of appreciation from the crowd. 

The walk-trots graced the ring once again this time with the lady riders and their over two mounts.  Mr. Center Stage and Mary Gaylord McClean, coming back from her spill last night, sealed the deal with a pass straight down the center of the famed Freedom hall ring during the second trot.  This marks the second year in a row the Premier-trained world’s champion has earned the win.  Not showing at Louisville in over 30 years Stacey Himmelstein White exclaimed "YES!" when her number was called to the reserve title.  She was aboard the John Conatser trained Lulu Guinness.  Whitney Shiflet captured the yellow ribbon aboard Simbara's Bountiful for Jody and Krysten Malcolm while Heavenly Thunder and Nancy Leigh Fisher finished fourth. 

From elegance to speed, the Open Roadster Under Saddle teams thundered down the ramp next.  Showing speed and holding form, Big N Rich topped the class with Scott Hagan aboard, something they’ve done all season long under the Silver Brook banner.  Suzanne Crabtree picked up the red ribbon aboard Despite It All for Barbara Watts while Show Me The Money and Dr. Brian Garrett were third.

The second half of what will make up the Fine Harness Grand Championship was next with the mares competing.  Kathy Capsuto Walker unanimously topped the nice class with her talented mare The DaVinci Code. Exploding with expression and putting her knee at the top of the rail, it was another world’s title for the daughter of New York Royal.  A.J. Bruwer had the striking black mare Kalarama's New York Lady in top order.  She’s been a star in the amateur and ladies divisions and with a nice drive they garnered the red steamers in the open mare division for Vicki Reed.

The mares were back to the green shavings but this time for the ladies five-gaited division.   Ava Gardner is like a little engine that could. Every pass she gave more and more for Tammy DeVore carrying her to the unanimous victory for Carol Hillenbrand.  Elisabeth Goth continued her successful week with a reserve title aboard the 2011 World's Champion Five-Gaited Mare Walterway's What About Me.  This is a great picture with elegance and power combined.  Covering lots of ground, Kelly Lockhart was up for the third spot aboard Left You Speechless for Coe and Bill London while Nancy Leigh Fisher claimed the white ribbon with Catalyst's Work Of Art, making this another world-class event.

For the Harness Pony Stallion/Gelding title five Hackneys were on the schedule to compete.  Heartland Heartbreaker keeps breaking the hearts of his competition in his first show season.  With wins at Midwest, Lexington and Illinois State Fair he kept his undefeated streak alive with Darrel Kolkman piloting him to another blue ribbon drive.  Always a favorite, the white-faced, leg-waving The Remington with his impeccably dressed driver Juliet McDonald captured the reserve title.  Ronnie Graham had Heartland Pursuit marching down the rail to the yellow ribbon for Helen and James Rosburg.

Hunter Chancellor has had quite a week already and she added another world's title to the list with a stunning performance aboard CH I'm McDreamy.  For the third year in a row she and McDreamy have topped a section of the 14-17 three-gaited division. Just a few hours earlier in the afternoon session Zoe Schaffel drove her road pony to a reserve title.  Tonight she changed gears and donned her formal.  Aboard The Perfect Touch she earned her second career reserve title under the direction of David Chretien. 

The last class of the evening put the missing piece together for the Five-Gaited Championship on Saturday night.  Tonight the spotlight belonged to the geldings.  Once again it was Bravo Blue putting on a big time show with Rob Byers.  Byers had the charismatic gelding making great passes both trotting and racking to win the unanimous blue for B&T Vonderschmitt.  The Plaza is no stranger to success in Freedom Hall and tonight he put on quite a show with Andy Freseth.  Freseth had the beautiful liver chestnut showing all his talents as they finished with the reserve title for Amanda Dellinger.  The big moving Charmed By Chance with Kris Knight earned the third spot for James Orr.  Iconium, The King's Redemption, Let's Roll, Stewie Griffin and Wicked In A Winning Way rounded out the ribbons setting the stage for Saturday night before turning the crowd loose on the American Saddlebred Museum’s ‘60s party in the North Wing.

Tomorrow is the day everyone is looking for as only a handful of classes are on the morning schedule, giving everyone a chance to rest, attend a multitude of meetings that are schedule for various organizations and causes or tour the Kentucky countryside and nearby farms. 

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