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Memory Lane Farm Mourns Loss Of Gaitway’s Once In A Blue Moon

by Bob Funkhouser

All too often the unexplainable occurs to “the good ones.” With five lifetime classes and five wins to her credit, the current World’s Champion Junior Five-Gaited Mare, Gaitway’s Once In A Blue Moon had to be put down April 12 due to complications from what is now a relatively routine surgery. The daughter of Northern Blues and Prowler’s Pagan Princess was having a bone chip removed.

“It’s a sad day around here,” said her trainer Jenny Taylor. “Why does it always happen to the nice ones?”

Not only was she a grand young mare, she also had a good story behind her. Gaitway’s Once In A Blue Moon was owned by noted Morgan trainer and good friend to Jim and Jenny Taylor, Luman Wadhams. It was great to see a raw prospect develop into a world’s champion for a couple of trainers from different breeds. Wadhams got enjoyment with a rub rag in his hand on the rail watching Taylor and the mare fly down the straightaways.

They began their career with a win in the 2003 UPHA Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Classic at Dayton. That was followed by a decisive victory in the prestigious UPHA Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Classic Grand Championship at the American Royal.

Over the winter Gaitway’s Once In A Blue Moon matured and continued to develop as the Taylor/Wadhams team had hoped she would. She debuted at the Cleveland Classic in 2004, winning the Junior Five-Gaited Class. On to the Red Mile and the Junior Five-Gaited Mare Stake was theirs as well.

Four classes and four blues to this point. As it turns out her next class would be her last. It was the young mare’s first trip to Freedom Hall and she again turned on the speed and athleticism that had the crowds going in her previous performances. She was crowned the World’s Champion Junior Five-Gaited Mare.

An illness prevented the mare from going to Kansas City to close out the year, thus bringing her promising career to an all too soon close. Her charismatic performances will never be seen again.

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