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Showers Didn’t Spoil ‘92 Lexington Stake Night



After a week of nothing but outstanding classes and relatively good weather, Lexington became “Lexington” on stake night with heavy rain off and on throughout that Saturday evening in 1992. While there were a few scratches and casualties, for the most part trainers and exhibitors stepped up and made this a Lexington Junior League to remember.

It had been week of solid numbers in all divisions, even the open ranks where there were eight open five-gaited stallions, 13 open five-gaited geldings, and nine mares. And for young horses how about 21 in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stake. The three-year-old harness class had to be split. Yes, people came to Lexington ‘92 to show.

John Champagne, Carter Cox, and Skip Shenker held the judge’s cards in the Saddle Horse division; Shenker called the shots in the Hackney, harness and road pony classes; and Sally Lindabury determined the equitation champions. The late Barry Keiger served as ringmaster that year and Peter Doubleday was the voice of Lexington.

Manager Jim LaHood and his staff had to have been extremely happy with the attitude the trainers showed Saturday night although photographer Jamie Donaldson didn’t have much of a smile on his face as weather prevented him from taking pictures in most classes that evening.

As the water pelted the Red Mile surface eight entries answered the call for the Five-Gaited Championship. There were a few people under umbrellas along the rail but for the most part the audience had retreated to the grandstand. Slicing through the mud and water were two stallions, two mares and four geldings with a host of veteran riders competing for the prestigious Lexington title.

With another gutsy performance Callaway’s New Look carried Dave Becker to the winner’s circle for Judy Shepherd. The celebrated world’s grand champion also won the Five-Gaited Gelding Stake with Becker riding under the direction of Donna Moore. CH Santana Lass and Redd Crabtree were reserve grand champions for Golden Creek Farms, followed by stablemate CH Will’s Bulletin, ridden by Randi Wightman.

This was a deep championship class as the likes of CH Onion, Royal Memories, CH The Right Stuff, CH War Whoop Two, and Lunenburg County made up the remaining contenders.

Earlier in the week Don Harris and Shoobop Shoobop had won the stallion stake, while Santana Lass was crowned the mare winner.

The competition level didn’t drop off in the ladies or amateur divisions. Melinda Moore was aboard CH Unattached to win the Ladies Five-Gaited Championship for Donna Moore. Stablemate CH It’s Time To Go was the reserve grand champion with Marcy Shatner riding. Ladies mare winner It’s Phi Day was third in the championship for Nancy Leigh Fisher who also bought CH Unattached before the week was over.

CH Wall Street Week and Janet Kellett had to defeat 15 other high powered entries to claim the Amateur Five-Gaited Championship. This class was filled with all-stars as Richard Hines and CH Blue Chipper trotted to the reserve grand championship after winning the amateur gentlemen’s qualifier. Barclay Smith and Callaway’s News Flash, reserve to Wall Street Week in the stallion/gelding qualifier, were third in the final round. Also from the amateur division, JoAnn Griffin and Gotta Dance smoke them in the amateur mare class to make this victory pass.

Manhattan Wine was one of the stars of the show from the young horse ranks. Purchased just weeks before the show by Sally Parker, the brilliant gelding took total command of the Red Mile and won the Junior Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class and the Junior Five-Gaited Championship with Sam Stafford in the irons. Before finding greatness as a walk-trot horse, Winter Day was crowned Lexington’s Junior Five-Gaited Reserve Grand Champion. Redd Crabtree was aboard for Adler Farms, Inc. It was a year with many nice junior gaited horses as Merrill Murray and The Homecoming Hero had been reserve in the stallion/gelding qualifier and Princess Nora had won the junior mare class with Dave Becker.

It seemed like every trainer in America thought they had a shot at a good prize in the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stake as 21 entries struggled for position on the straightaways. The tried and true team of Rick Wallen and Polly Holm provided the winner in this entertaining class as Walled rode Ahead Of The Class to the title. Debbie Palmer and Hometown Favorite picked up a good reserve ribbon.

Ten years ago the junior exhibitors packed a powerful punch in their championship and of course that was before the days of separate age group championships. Eighteen in all returned from the 14 and under the 15-17 qualifiers and they were 18 good ones. A battle had started at Rock Creek between Town Rose and My Sunday Shoes and it only intensified at Lexington. When it was all said and done Jeff Priebe and the big hearted Town Rose had defeated them all including 14 & under qualifying winner and reserve grand champion My Sunday Shoes. Gabe Deknatel was in the saddle for My Sunday Shoes. In a division usually dominated by young ladies it was great to see these two gentlemen at the top of the division throughout the year.

Susannah Sherman and Great Day’s Token had scored the blue prize in the 15-17 qualifier and they were followed by Lee Ann Tipton and Night To Prowl.

In the gaited pony division Cindy Sherman and Magic Marker STF captured the championship after taking reserve to open class winner and eventual reserve grand champions Kathleen Clark and Shazam.

With the driving rains only five entries returned for the Three-Gaited Grand Championship and after having taken only about 15 steps, World’s Grand Champion One For The Road threw a shoe. Randy Harper elected not to take a chance with the grand gelding and finished the week with the over 15.2 on the tack room for Cismont Manor.

There were still some big hitters left including Tom Moore and Perfect Prowler who knew their way around this week even in bad conditions. After taking reserve to One For The Road in the over two qualifier they rode as the unanimous grand champions for owner Don Rich. Showing for Steven Chancellor, Todd Miles guided CH Epcot Center to the reserve grand championship, followed by Anne Stafford and Mini Griggs.

Melissa Moore won the Ladies Three-Gaited Championship for the second consecutive year. After winning with Olivier in ‘91, she returned with CH Talent Contest to take the over two and grand championship for Belle Reve. Again it was one of those great Lexington championships in which under two winner CH Stonewall’s Crimson & Clover was the reserve grand champion with Susan Treiber. Joan Hamilton and CH Champagne’s Heiress pushed the issue in third.

Headliners in the amateur division that year included Polo Town and Terri Chancellor who defeated 15 other combinations for the championship honors. Trained at DeLovely, they also won the over two qualifier. Marcy Shatner and Santana’s Starbright collected reserve grand champion honors, while Hocus Pocus Dominocus got lots of applause in third. Keith Kurz had won the amateur gentlemen’s class with Duke Of Troy and Phillipa Sledge topped the amateur under two class aboard Tashitana.

The junior exhibitor age groups had already been split into separate championships in 1992. Reversing the order of the qualifier, Kristen Myers and Preferred American trotted away with the tri-color streamers defeating reserve grand champions Nikki Baldwin and Bi Mi Southern Pacific as well as eight other teams.

Courtney Wilcox and Gabe Deknatel were head to head in the 14 and under championship with their respective mounts, Tasty Charm and City Sights. With the crowd split between the two the judges put the Hollow Haven entry, Tasty Charm, on top, followed by the John Conatser trained City Sights. And of course these two junior exhibitors would go on to many, many more top titles.

One of the most celebrated young stars that year was Chansonette Supreme. With Lonnie Lavery in the irons, the beautiful mare topped both the junior under two and the Junior Three-Gaited Grand Championship for owner Jerrilyn Demaree. The mare was elegant with every step. Harlem’s Jalapeno was the reserve grand champion and over 15.2 winner for Dave Becker and Judy Shepherd.

George Knight and All Talk topped 13 others for the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited title. Melinda Moore rode Royal Flamette to the reserve prize. A few days later Royal Flamette would be one of 20 some horses that perished in the tragic barn fire at Tom Moore’s Arrowhead Farm in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

Helping bob Vesel and Alde-Mar Farm have a great week CH Bewitching Jewel and Charlotte Kellet swept the three-gaited pony division winning the open and championship ahead of Ashley Richardson and Magic Santana in both events.

Super horse CH Roselawn’s Secret Rhythm was undaunted by the mud on Saturday night. He made it the second consecutive Lexington Fine Harness Championship for Mike Barlow and Dr. Helen J. Neave. It was also their second victory pass of the week. Tom Moore and the now top producing stallion Attache’s Liquid Asset were reserve in both classes. George Knight and The Homecoming Queen made their only appearance of the week a winning one, taking the blue in the mare class.

CH Simply Mahvalous was one of those horses who loved the Red Mile. He was simply sensational with William M. Schaefer to win the Amateur Fine Harness Championship and amateur gentlemen’s class under the direction of Donna Moore. Reserve in both of those classes went to Larry Gould and Vintage Lace. In the amateur qualifier Karen Waldron and Bent Tree’s Sight Unseen were a sight to claim the blue while driving from Premier Stables.

Early in her winning career, the royally bred black mare, Passion, won Lexington’s Ladies Fine Harness class with Eileen Bechtel driving from Richlon Farms. Debbie Palmer and T’s Joker’s Wild had the reserve performance in that one.

The young harness horses were outstanding that year with several going on with careers in different divisions. A freak with his legs the long necked Night Odyssey captured another Lexington title winning the Junior Fine Harness Championship for Sam Stafford and Mary Jane Sledge. A little horse by the name of Mr. Snuffleupagus was reserve with Nelson Green at the whip.

There were so many three-year-olds that class had to be split. Winner of the two-year-old class just the year before, Allege came back to win section A of the three-year-old class for Happy Valley Farm with Bob Gatlin driving. Rick Wallen guided Royal Crest Sandstone to the red ribbon. Section B found Jim Koller and Chief’s Magnum Force in the winner’s circle ahead of John T. Jones and Assert.

One of many trips down victory lane for this pair, George Knight and She’s Real Bad won the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness class. Hoppy Bennett and Callaway’s Johnny Reb were reserve. Dr. Alan Raun drove Mirific to top the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Sweepstakes. Mirific is still making victory passes today with Bonnie Kegley riding in the country pleasure division.

The best Hackney ponies in America parading down the beautifully decorated straightaways of the Red Mile have long been one of the favorite sights of the general public which fills the upper deck of the grandstands for the weekend performances.

Even though the conditions were horrible the three ladies that most represented the Hackney division braved the wind, the rain, and the mud to compete in the Hackney Pony Championship. Emerging victorious was Mrs. Alan R. Robson with Dun Haven High Time. Next were ladies champions Sallie Wheeler and Tijuana Starlet, followed by Mary Gaylord and The Big Kahuna.

Jeff McClean guided General Jackson to the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship for Golden Creek Farms and trainer John Shea. Randi Wightman and Lady Lalique were the reserve grand champions and reserve qualifying winners. Golden Creek also had Belle Star, winner of the UPHA Hackney Pony Classics and Steppenwolf winner of the UPHA Harness Pony Classics.

Anna Marie Knipp and Ali were picture perfect to win both the Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony Championship and qualifier ahead of Josh Shallcross and Mr. Albelarm both times.

The Robson family won yet another title as Gib Marcucci presented Dun Haven Desiree in the Harness Pony Championship. Making his presence known Vindicator was the reserve grand champion for Karen Waldron and Bent Tree Farm. The legendary Mark Of Success made one appearance to win the Open Harness Pony class for Randy Harper and Cismont Manor Farm.

Two of the breed’s brightest stars battled it out for the Amateur Harness Pony Championship. This round was won by Sallie Wheeler and the grand mare Brass Lass. They had already made a victory pass in the amateur qualifier. Another legend in his own right, Revelation, was the reserve amateur grand champion, coming in as the ladies winner with Mrs. Alan R. Robson.

The Lexington audience was twice treated to exciting performances from Roadster To Bike Grand Champion R.P.M. Back on top of his game the big, bay horse was driven by Bob Vesel for Alde-Mar Farm. Edwin Freeman’s The Invader was reserve both times out.

Tom Moore drove Happy Landings to the blue in the Novice Roadster To Bike class and Melinda Moore rode him to the under saddle blue. Paul Treiber became the new owner of Happy Landings by the week’s end.

Consistently at the top Kenny Wheeler and Autobahn were unstoppable in the Roadster To Wagon division winning both classes. Crossing the finish line in reserve both times was Edwin Freeman’s Captain Gene.

Long a Lexington tradition, the Freeman family also did well with Shane and Milward Dedman streaking to victory in the Amateur Roadster To Bike Championship and qualifier. The Canadian team of Royal Bournes Classic and Wayne D. Marshall were the reserve grand champions, while Renfrow Hauser and Hia Baron were second in the qualifier.

Mary Gaylord’s former harness pony world’s champion Dixie Jubilee was sporting a two-wheel bike with Dr. Alan Run sitting behind in silks to win the Road Pony Championship for Steve Golden. Suffering a rare defeat, I’ve Arrive was the reserve champion for Ray Pittman and Mr. and Mrs. Ed Moore.

Sam Brannon made a victory pass with Brass Symbols in the limit class and Rick Wallen showed a pony named Decision High Command to win the UPHA Road Pony Classic. Of course Wallen would change his name to Hazard County and a decade later he’s still winning world and national titles for current owner Glenn Werry.

John Shea directed Mary Gaylord and Shamask to the Amateur Road Pony Championship and qualifying blue. Anna Marie Knipp and Rave On returned to Missouri with the reserve championship.

Another of those unforgettable ponies, Mayday Mercury was the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony Champion with Nancy Brannon at the whip. Bill and Maria Knight sent Ashley Saunders and Moon Mist to the reserve championship.

Precise with every step, Midnight Blue EAP was Lexington’s Five-Gaited Pleasure Grand Champion making the second victory pass of the week for Mary Lou Doudican and trainer Redd Crabtree. Sharon Paulin and American Spirit were reserve champions. Scott Smith and The Bodega Bay had won section A of the qualifier.

Current world’s grand champions, Carol Hillenbrand and CH High Expectations defended their Lexington Adult Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship against 21 other teams. The John Biggins trained combination also won their section of the qualifier. Reserve grand champion honors belonged to Cary Grant and Morgan Wolin. CH Sultan’s Event and Karen Waldron made the victory pass in the other split of the qualifier.

Midge Cornell was bursting with pride as Elizabeth Dieruf and Callaway’s A Dream Come True won the Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Championship over CH CC’s Chardonnay and Phillip Galbreath, winners of section B qualifier under the direction of Pat McConnell. Harlem Dance and Elizabeth Cortwright had won the other qualifier.

Two-times world’s grand champions Bob Mallet and CH Flash Gordon were at it again. They handily won the Show Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier while representing Richlon Farm. The new team of Maryta Montgomery and Beau Stetson turned in the reserve grand champion performance. Mrs. Alan R. Robson and Finisterre’s Legacy were also winners in the pleasure driving qualifiers.

Jeff Priebe was back in the winner’s circle showing Havana Cabana to the Country Pleasure Championship for Hendrickson and Priebe. Qualifying winner No’el No’el was the reserve grand champion for Sally McClure Jackson.

Equitation riders fight the heat and tight quarters in their search for excellence each year at the Red Mile. It’s a test of horsemanship and character and only the strong survive. In 1992 Adolph Zell and Whatta Wise Guy prevailed as the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champions from Premier Stables. Walnut Way’s Leah Boyd rode as the reserve grand champion.

The age group winners featured Emily Swanson (17), Angela Utecht (16), Jill Brainard (15), and Elizabeth Andrus (14).

In the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship 13 riders returned however, it was a year of the male riders. Completing a sweep for the young men, Bryant Beltle was crowned the Junior Grand Champion. He was directed by Jo Cornell aboard Desert’s Indian Country. Even more impressive is that he qualified by winning the 10-year-old class.

DeLovely’s 13-year-old winner Amanda Arrick was the reserve grand champion. Continuing the domination by boys, Phillip Galbreath won the 12-year-old class, while Lauren Nowell was the 11-year-old winner.

Lexington ‘92 went down in the books as one of the wettest championship nights but looking back there were a lot of great horses which went on to long, successful careers for many different owners. The staying power of the American Saddlebred and Hackney pony becomes more and more evident as we look back into the history books.

Many of the same trainers, several of the same owners, and a healthy dose of new blood look to make history at Lexington 2003. With much of the scenery (with the exception of nicer barns) and tradition still in tact, it’s time to visit the Red Mile.

Current world’s grand champions, Carol Hillenbrand and CH High Expectations defended their Lexington Adult Three-Gaited Pleasure Championship against 21 other teams. The John Biggins trained combination also won their section of the qualifier. Reserve grand champion honors belonged to Cary Grant and Morgan Wolin. CH Sultan’s Event and Karen Waldron made the victory pass in the other split of the qualifier.

Midge Cornell was bursting with pride as Elizabeth Dieruf and Callaway’s A Dream Come True won the Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Championship over CH CC’s Chardonnay and Phillip Galbreath, winners of section B qualifier under the direction of Pat McConnell. Harlem Dance and Elizabeth Cortwright had won the other qualifier.

Two-times world’s grand champions Bob Mallet and CH Flash Gordon were at it again. They handily won the Show Pleasure Driving Championship and qualifier while representing Richlon Farm. The new team of Maryta Montgomery and Beau Stetson turned in the reserve grand champion performance. Mrs. Alan R. Robson and Finisterre’s Legacy were also winners in the pleasure driving qualifiers.

Jeff Priebe was back in the winner’s circle showing Havana Cabana to the Country Pleasure Championship for Hendrickson and Priebe. Qualifying winner No’el No’el was the reserve grand champion for Sally McClure Jackson.

Equitation riders fight the heat and tight quarters in their search for excellence each year at the Red Mile. It’s a test of horsemanship and character and only the strong survive. In 1992 Adolph Zell and Whatta Wise Guy prevailed as the Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Grand Champions from Premier Stables. Walnut Way’s Leah Boyd rode as the reserve grand champion.

The age group winners featured Emily Swanson (17), Angela Utecht (16), Jill Brainard (15), and Elizabeth Andrus (14).

In the Junior Saddle Seat Equitation Championship 13 riders returned however, it was a year of the male riders. Completing a sweep for the young men, Bryant Beltle was crowned the Junior Grand Champion. He was directed by Jo Cornell aboard Desert’s Indian Country. Even more impressive is that he qualified by winning the 10-year-old class.

DeLovely’s 13-year-old winner Amanda Arrick was the reserve grand champion. Continuing the domination by boys, Phillip Galbreath won the 12-year-old class, while Lauren Nowell was the 11-year-old winner.

Lexington ‘92 went down in the books as one of the wettest championship nights but looking back there were a lot of great horses which went on to long, successful careers for many different owners. The staying power of the American Saddlebred and Hackney pony becomes more and more evident as we look back into the history books.

Many of the same trainers, several of the same owners, and a healthy dose of new blood look to make history at Lexington 2003. With much of the scenery (with the exception of nicer barns) and tradition still in tact, it’s time to visit the Red Mile.

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