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Protege and Harris Win Triple Crown At Royal ‘93



by Bob Funkhouser

The American Royal of 10 years ago was well on its way to becoming the National Championship show that it is today. With history dating back to 1901, the famed American Royal had been through all kinds of changes over the decades but by the 1990s it was a conglomeration of championship events.

A Concert Of Champions again kicked off the weeklong celebration with the Kansas City Youth Symphony performing with champion equines from many breeds and disciplines. The general public filled the seats setting the stage for many grand performances to come.

Young stars from the Saddlebred and Hackney worlds were again the marquis performers as part of the famed UPHA Thursday Night at the Royal and a decade ago nearly $129,000 was paid out to the nation’s best three-year-old horses and four-year-old ponies.

Big money was also paid out in the Breeder’s Jackpot. This was the fourth year for the program, but the first time it was held at the Royal. Prize money totaling $100,000 was paid out in the weanling competition which was judged in two sections. Of the 26 entries, 12 made the final cut and were judged by a five man panel with the high and low scores thrown out. Mr. and Mrs. William Shatner won the Breeder’s Jackpot for the second time as their Tabitha Bewitched (Sultan‚s Great Day x High Rise’s Bewitching Lady) collected 274 points and the first place money of $50,000. Harry Gilmore made the winning presentation for the William Shatner/Donna Moore team.

Ten points behind, Gypsy Santana was the reserve champion for owner Jim Stewart and handler Jerry Cook. The son of Sultan’s Santana and Kalarama’s Gypsy Lady (the dam of CH Gypsy Supreme) earned $10,000 for his reserve performance and has gone on to be a world’s champion sire for Stewart. Checks for $5,000 each were presented to the next eight ribbon winners and they included Crystal Day, Clover Hill’s Kansas City Chief, Kaptive Kapers, Spot O’ Honey, Wishful Sinful, Bluegrass Sunset, Santana’s Wind Dancer and Hurricane Celebrity.

Alongside of Tom Bass, Art Simmons is probably one of the most well-known characters in the history of the American Royal. In 1993 he served on the judging panel with Brent Jacobs and George Knight. They had plenty of action packed performance classes with world’s champions highlighting every division.

In the open championships master showman Don Harris completed the Five-Gaited Triple Crown for 1993 taking J.K. MacDonald’s Protege to the Five-Gaited Grand Championship adding to championship titles from Lexington and Louisville. The five-year-old son of Longview’s Paladin gave a stellar performance in front of the large Saturday night crowd. His closest competition in both the championship and the gelding qualifier was the scrappy going Williwaw, ridden by Wyatt DeHart. Redd Crabtree had won the mare stake with Dizzy Blonde and the stud stake with Callaway’s Gold Rush, who finished third in the championship.

Missouri trainer Mark Hulse rode to the top prize in the Three-Gaited Championship for owners Louis and Rosemarie Fernandez. He had had many memorable performances with the lofty going daughter of The Showboat known as Jean Margaret, but his two rides in the Three-Gaited Mare class and Three-Gaited Championship, may have been their best to date. Coming from the Mo/Kan division, John Wallen and Champagne Arrogance were crowned reserve grand champions.

Two of the three open championships returned to Kentucky with Redd Crabtree guiding the talented, but unpredictable, Tra La La to the Fine Harness Grand Championship. The beautiful, black daughter of World’s Grand Champion La La Success won both of her classes for longtime owner/breeder Mrs. F.D. Sinclair. Mike Roberts and P.V.F.’s Royal Winter commanded reserve grand champion honors after winning the Mo/Kan Fine Harness class for Doris Marks.

Long, an icon of the American Royal, equitation competition was again top of the line with stars from across the country venturing to Kansas City for a shot at completing their dreams. However, this year the biggest dreams belonged to riders living in New Hampshire with two sets of trainers helping make those dreams reality.

The biggest story belonged to Sarah Lanctot. She first came on the scene with Lisa Jensen Richardson as a green walk and trot rider and left as the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup National Champion, AHSA Medal Finals National Champion and the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Champion of 1993. Teamed with Whata Wise Guy, Lanctot was unstoppable at the Royal.

In the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup Finals Lanctot was one of 12 riders brought back for phase II by judges Ellen Beard, Lisa Cunningham and Brent Jacobs. Amanda Arrick was one of those riders and her phase II performance had to be the toughest of her life as her beloved partner Magic Marauder suddenly became ill and died following the phase I eliminations. It was a sad day for all of the equitation world as Marauder went down in history as one of the all-time greats alongside Warlock, Starcrost, and now Will Gillen.

With poise and polish, Lanctot did return to round two determined to ride off with the grand prize and that she did. The UPHA Senior Challenge Cup National Championship was her second championship of the week with the AHSA Medal Finals still to come. Catch riding Champagne’s Call Girl, Amanda Arrick pulled through like a champ and rode as the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup Reserve National Champion from DeLovely Farm. It was a strong class with Kristen Pettry in third, followed by Elizabeth Andrus, Jessica Golin, Shawna Hattery, Sarah Cronan, Stacey Kipper, Leslie Thierry and Barbara Irwin.

Saturday morning’s AHSA Medal eliminations featured 10 riders making the second round that afternoon. David Cunningham, Sally Lindabury and Cecile Dunn held the judges’ cards for the Medal and after rail work and individual workouts, two of the three first place votes went to Cricket Hill Farm’s Sarah Lanctot. This time Jill Brainard was the reserve national champion with Stacey Kipper turning in a great ride for top three. The remaining finalists included Elizabeth Andrus, Kristen Pettry, Matthew Pappas, Shawn Hattery, Jessica Golin, Bryant Beltle and Mary Jane Glasscock.

“The biggest thing I remember about that week was Sarah and her family being rewarded for their dedication to not only equitation, but the industry as well,” said Lisa Jensen Richardson. “She gave everything she had to it: mentally, physically, everything! She took ballet to help her with her equitation.

“Michael [Richardson] and I were new together at that time but it was a great team effort. Michael understood Wise Guy, Sarah had grown up around me and her parents were so supportive. We made several trips to Kentucky that year to get Sarah in front of the right crowds and competition. It was just a team effort that was rewarded.

“Our good friends Marsha and Gary [Garone] won the Junior Finals with Katheryn L’ Heureux and that was a lot of fun to have two young couples from New Hampshire putting everything they had into this and getting to show the world that top riders can come from New England.”

While Lanctot represented New England and Cricket Hill Farm, another New England rider turned back all challengers in the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup National Finals. Representing Gary and Marsha Garone’s Fairfield South, Katheryn L’ Heureux delivered preliminary and round two rides worthy of a unanimous decision as the UPHA Junior Challenge Cup National Champion. Few can forget the horsemanship of Bryant Beltle, who rode as the reserve national champion instructed by Jo Cornell. A top three finish belonged to Cricket Hill’s entry, Amanda O’Keefe. This finals produced a good group of riders who would go on to be performance jockeys as well. The final seven included Addie Hall, Carla Falk, Dana Vetter-Perry, Matthew Williams, Tom Pettry, Lauren Murrell and Anna Jensen.

There were also some pretty good performance riders in the MHSA Saddle Seat Medal Finals as Jill Gibson made the victory pass in Kemper Arena under the direction of Jeff Vogel. John and Maili Wallen had Carrie Wooten in top form to command reserve honors.

The 1993 American Royal wasn’t the strongest year for the UPHA Classic Championships, but there were several solid performers which graduated and went on to be consistent winners. Only five showed in the UPHA Fine Harness Classic which went to Callaway’s Johnny Rib, a CH Caramac son driven by Leslie Bennett for Hoppy Bennett. Donna Moore and Nahema picked up the reserve streamers for Belle Reve.

Three different ponies received first place votes in the Road Pony Classic, however, Pleasant Daydream and Rex Parkinson were called out as the champions for Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Groves. This champion was sired by the former UPHA Classics Grand Champion Rhythm’s Spirit. Bob Richards and Tia Maria earned the $4,800 check for being reserve champions.

A shocking two ponies showed in the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic Championship in which $13,000 was paid out. Taking $7,800 as the grand champion were Dr. Alan Raun and world’s champion Thyen’s Asset. Mike Dumas drove the Larry Schultz entry Brass Masterpiece to the second place finish.

Lisa Strickland and owner Ellyn Dorsey teamed up to provide the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic Grand Champion Carrie Blue. A talented bay daughter of Callaway’s Blue Norther, Carrie Blue was a standout in a large class to receive all three first place votes with Strickland aboard. James Nichols rode up for the reserve title with Elaine Howe’s True Believer. There were a couple of horses in the middle ribbons that would go on to have incredible careers and they included Trapp Mountain, who is still winning today, and Wildbriar’s Front Page Lady, who would have her named changed to My Front Page Lady and go down in history as one of the greatest ladies walk-trot horses of modern times.

The Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship had a strong turnout and emerging as the champion was Bristol Fashion. Teamed with Karen Frickey, the Randy Harper trained pony was a standout and continues to be a star in that division. Rich Campbell teamed Beth Harris and Nitey Nite to the reserve championship for Gary Dickherber.

Marjorie and Linda Hollett were the proud hometown owners of The Visionary, winner of the eight-entry UPHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Classic with John Biggins in the irons. They earned $6,480 for their efforts. Reserve money went to Wyatt and DeHart and Callaway’s Benjamin.

Ed and Karen Frickey won their second UPHA Classic Championship of the evening. The Randy and Denessa Harper trained Ballet was a sport from start to finish to take the grand prize. She was also the second pony sired by Rex and Shirley Parkinson’s Rhythm’s Spirit to win a Classic. Ballet has gone on to win numerous world and national titles in the long tail division. Reserve grand champion honors belonged to Mary Gaylord and Masterbilt, the highly touted stallion son of Cherry’s Dream Boy whose career was cut short by his untimely death.

The evening’s finale was the 10-horse UPHA Five-Gaited Classic Championship. It was a competitive class with many of the top trainer’s vying for prize money. When it was all said and done Bob Gatlin and No Excuses stood in the winner’s circle to receive a first place check for more than $7,000. Cary Robinson was the winning owner. Today, No Excuses is shown with success in the amateur division by current owner Lynn Gutches Snowden under the direction of Bobby Murphy. Eddie Cockriel rode Token Favorite to reserve honors and today he is making victory passes in the three-gaited pony division.

Also in the ribbons were That Wonderful Touch, Unreal, Callaway’s Wish Me Will, Banter, That Special Face and Worthy’s Temptress.

There was an abundance of talent in the Royal’s amateur and ladies gaited divisions that year. The legendary CH Gypsy Supreme swept the Ladies Five-Gaited Gelding and Ladies Five-Gaited Championship with Jill Sando riding under the direction of Biggins Stables. Reserve in both events went to the grand gelding CH Will‚s Bulletin, ridden by Randi Wightman. Terri Chancellor and Satan’s Seductress cast their spell in the ladies mare class for the second consecutive year.

American Royal crowds love good Saddle Horses and when it’s one of their own they are fanatic. Deborah Orr gave them plenty to cheer about as she piloted the white legged Heir To Champagne to a unanimous decision in the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. Raya Morehart and Courageous Cactus were unanimous in reserve.

Bob Gatlin continued his winning week by taking the Junior Five-Gaited Stake with Aces and Eights. Mike Roberts had the blue ribbon ride in the three-year-old class with Champagne’s Rough and Rowdy. Sonny Sutton and Awesome Heir collected the Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited blue giving Amateur Five-Gaited Grand Champion Heir To Champagne yet another winning offspring.

Junior exhibitors knocked heads with strong group of gaited horses. Leading the parade in the championship were tricolor winners Town Rose and Jeff Priebe. When Town Rose finished her show ring career, she became a successful broodmare and is still having top babies at Ann Fitzpatrick’s Rigby’s Green. Cindy Sherman guided Forever Famous to reserve honors ahead of Kristen Pettry and Our Good Fortune.

There was an all-star cast in the Ladies Three-Gaited Championship which featured Bonnie Howard and eventual Three-Gaited World’s Grand Champion Spring High in the winner’s circle. They were pushed by Victoria Shepherd and CH Talent Contest as well as third place finishers Hillary McNeish and Epcot Center and fourth place finishers Deborah Orr and You Betcha.

One of the highest going walk-trot horses of his time, CH Polo Town was outstanding to win the Amateur Three-Gaited Championship in unanimous fashion. It was another winning ride for Terri Chancellor and DeLovely Farm. William Shatner wanted a part of the spotlight as he took CH Perfect Prowler to the reserve championship. Third place honors in the large championship went to amateur mare winner Bi Mi Syncopation. She was ridden by Terri Anne Ullman before she turned professional.

The young riders were represented by Lee Ann Tipton and The Radiant Prince in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited 15-17 Championship and Leigh Ann Dageforde and Harlem’s Diamond Jim in the 14 & under section.

Lynda Freseth and the leg-waving Chief’s Magnum Force topped the Junior Three-Gaited Stake as did Wyatt DeHart and Callaway’s Benjamin in the three-year-old section. Melissa Moore and Moore Than Likely won the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited Stake.

Terri Chancellor visited the winner’s circle time and time again as she also won the Amateur Fine Harness Championship and ladies qualifier with the oh-so-gifted CH The Homecoming Queen. Redd Crabtree and Supreme Scandal were tops in the Junior Fine Harness class, while Joe Becker and Bourbon and Honey took the three-year-old title. Reedann’s Phinery began a star-studded career as the Royal’s Two-Year-Old Fine Harness champion.

Dr. Raun was also at the whip when Heartland Classic was called out as the Hackney Pony Grand Champion for Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Wheeler. The amateur cob-tail championship belonged to Randi Wightman and Lady Lalique. Stars every step of the way, Heartland Supremacy and Anna Marie Knipp ruled as the Hackney Pleasure Driving Grand Champions.

The Raun/Wheeler team also presented the Harness Pony Grand Champion in Brass Lass. Mary Gaylord and Steppenwolf wore the tricolor from the Amateur Harness Pony Championship.

Redd Crabtree and Mardi Gras were the best of the Roadster To Bike Championship for Leatherwood Farm. The amateur title belonged to Shane Chancellor and The Natural.

Rick Wallen and the soon to be legendary Hazard County captured the Road Pony Championship, while his customer, Mike Schallock won the Amateur Road Pony Championship with Clancy Lane.

Pleasure classes were filled from top to bottom. Mary Lou Doudican and Midnight Blue EAP reigned supreme as the Five-Gaited Pleasure Grand Champions. David Rudder showed It’s A Beautiful Day to the National Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship for Judith Shepherd. Still just a tot, Phillip Galbreath rode Bishop Brown to the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Championship. And with her grace and style, Mrs. Alan R. Robson was all smiles going down victory lane with Dance To Remember in the Show Pleasure Driving Championship.

With Fern Bittner now at the helm the new UPHA/American Royal National Championship Show is stronger than ever. A sincere committment by the Royal committee to bring the facilities up to standards worthy a national championship show, the horsemen have responded with their best stock. In addition, the AHHS Youth Medallion Finals have been held at the Royal giving the show yet another set of year end championships.

This will be the second year for National Championship titles to be awarded and the competition promises to be even stronger. As so many of our great old shows have fallen by the wayside, long live the Royal!

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