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Morgan Breeder Sweepstakes Takes Center Stage At Northampton



The $70,000 Morgan Breeder Sweepstakes made a winning move back to the site of its inaugural 1991 presentation at the New England Morgan Horse Show. Since this time, the Sweepstakes has been paired down from two classes per year which were initially held at New England and Jubilee to one class which has been held over the past few years at Mid-A, Jubilee and now back at New England. Plans call for the class to be rotated between New England and Jubilee with the competition to held in 2005 at Jubilee. Thursday night July 29, 2004, marked the date of the 14th annual edition of this eagerly awaited event. The indoor arena at the Three County Fairgrounds was transformed for this gala event with white picket fencing, fresh shavings, balloons and ringside seating and tables complete with white tablecloths. The evening started off with a fabulous party sponsored by The Remember November Sale and the New England Morgan Horse Show organized by Robin Rednor Veghte. After enjoying the party, it was time for spectators to take their seats or a spot along the rail, and for trainers and nervous owners to prepare for the exciting competition. This year's competition marked the fourth edition featuring the expanded program which included 40 stallions whose get were eligible to compete. This expansion was intended to open up and enlarge the program. This year an outstanding group of 29 weanlings participated, although still representing just 13 of the 40 sires. The competition was called to the ring with each of the 29 entries brought into the ring one at a time to show before judges Helen Crawford, John McDonald, Sandy Sessink, Ken Swanson, and Doug Unteidt. Each judge scored each weanling using a point system from zero to 100. The high and low score for each foal was dropped and the remaining three were added to arrive at the first round score. Ten minutes after the first round was completed, the top ten scoring weanlings were announced. The finalists then came back into the ring as a group. Places six thru ten were then pinned in reverse order with each receiving $2,000, a ribbon, Radon sheet, medallion and trophy. Amazingly each of the fifth through tenth placing weanlings were sired by Ultra's Special Agent representing four different owners. In spite of the domination in numbers by a few stallions, the top five foals were sired by five different stallions. The top five were then left to compete for second round scores. At this point the first round scores were dropped and only the second round scores were used to pin the top five. The five finalists were all judged individually and as a group. The judges were able to compare the entries and position them as they pleased. This gave the judges and the crowd a chance to really compare the entries. When all of the final scoring had been finished the top five placings were announced in descending order by Peter Fenton. Earning $4,000 as the fifth place finisher was Ultra's First Class Mate. The colt sired by Ultra's Special Agent marked six consecutive top ten placing foals sired by Ultra's Special Agent. The uniformity of the foals was clearly evident as owner Stephen Smith enjoyed another memorable evening with Michael Slomkowski who presented many of the weanlings including the fifth place finisher. Mike Carpenter also had a busy evening as he trained two of the top five weanlings. Carpenter handed the lead of his own MCS Almost Persuaded over to Richard Boule to garner the check for $5,500 with this promising offspring of On Line. It was a competition to the finish for the top three entries as their scores from the five judges showed just a fraction of a difference between them. It was time for a toast as Samuel Adams was called to accept the third place award of $8,000. Mike Carpenter was on the lead of the handsome Mizrahi son for the presentation for Linda Langlois. This left only two entries remaining center stage and the large crowd as well as the trainers of the two finalists sensed the excitement at hand. No one in the audience could have known just how close it was, as the scores of the top two foals were tied as was one of the two tie breaker scores. Just a single point in one of the tie breakers separated the champion and reserve champion in the closest judging in the history of the Morgan Breeder Sweepstakes. When the announcement of the reserve champion was made, Lynn Peeples added another impressive title to the amazing list of champions he has bred. U-Two a daughter of World Champions Born To Boogie and UVM Unity captured the check for $12,000 as she proudly posed as the 2004 Breeder Sweepstakes Reserve Champion. The champion stood alone as John Hufferd was once again on the magic lead of the champion. This time it was World Champion Continental Vision who added his name to the select list of Morgan Breeder Sweepstakes Champion sires as Angel Eyes took her place in the winner's circle. The check for $25,000 went to Bill and Kathy Taylor who had purchased the stunning bay filly from breeder Amy Wilson Scott who received 10% as the winning breeder along with 10% to John Hufferd as the winning trainer. In its fourteen years the Morgan Breeder Sweepstakes has awarded over $1,000,000 in prize money to the owners, breeders and trainers of foals competing. However, this program is not just about beautiful babies, it is where winning show careers are started. It helps to encourage Morgan breeders, big and small, to breed for outstanding foals that go on to greater heights. The Morgan Breeder Sweepstakes is a great start toward a lifetime of winning. The Morgan Breeder Sweepstakes continues to be a great marketing tool for the Morgan industry. It benefits not only stallion owners, but mare owners and perspective owners as well. Stallion owners contribute to the prize fund and in turn their stallion’s get are eligible to compete. The mare owner simply pays the regular stud fee to these stallions and the resulting foal is eligible to compete in the Sweepstakes. Owners of Sweepstakes nominated stallions gain through increased breedings to their stallions. Mare owners gain in the earnings potential as well as marketability of the foal. In 2005 the Morgan Breeder Sweepstakes will return to the Midwest to be held at the Jubilee Regional Morgan Horse Show before returning to Northampton in 2006.

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