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Thursday Highlights from The American Royal

Thursday’s daytime session was a good one for Kim and Fran Crumpler and their customers, Perry and Sally Grieme. Two trips to the show ring behind big chestnut horses turned into two trips down victory lane for Sally Grieme. In the first class of the day, it was Enzo driving to the winner’s circle in Country Pleasure Driving, besting the grand mare CH Callaway’s Pretty Penny with Nancy Anderson. In Amateur Fine Harness, two Sally’s squared off as Sally Grieme and Escriva came out first ahead of Hi On Heir and Sally McClure Jackson.

Traci Massaro gave Phi’s Phortune Teller the ride of a lifetime to take home the Amateur Park blue. Trainer A.J. Bruwer greeted the elated Massaro and “Cookie” in the winner’s circle. Ashley Baird and Future Vision had a blue ribbon ride in 14-and-Under Country Pleasure for MBA Equestrians, while Jan Beardsley Blanco was at the lines of Unclaimed to top a nice first section of Pleasure Driving. CH Shot With Glory was reserve with Elizabeth James Lipscomb.

Allyson Ehle made a great catch-ride aboard Callaway’s Torch Bearer for Robert and Kim Grom, making the victory pass in 15-17 Country Pleasure. Cherry Royale and Caroline Rainbolt Forbes made a pleasure perfect picture to win Junior Exhibitor Hackney Pleasure Driving, with Seamair Dear Sir and Rose Marie Wheeler in reserve.

Hunter Chancellor and The Attache Orchid continued their fantastic career together with a blue ribbon sendoff in the Three-Gaited Pony division. Open Arms set the ring on fire in Section Two of Pleasure Driving, as Jane Mueller put on a masterful performance under the direction of Bret Day. The new division most definitely suits this grand black mare.

Ivy Johnson put it all together with Miss Outta My Way, making one of their best performances as a team to win the Five-Gaited Pony qualifier. This will be Ivy’s last show as a junior exhibitor, and she is going out in style.

In the evening session, Ellen Medley Wright and Kalu’s Can’t Stop The Magic continued their quest for the Saddle Seat Equitation Triple Crown, taking the UPHA Challenge Cup National Championship back to DeLovely for the second year in a row. Brittany McGinnis was the National Champion last year. Jessica Moctezuma made her last Challenge Cup Finals one to remember, as she was crowned the Reserve National Champion with Top Beat.

The first UPHA Classic of the night went to DeLovely as well, with Mark Turner driving The Chick Magnet to the big win for the McGinnis family. Pat McConnell and MBA’s Royal Shadow Phax were reserve. Andy Freseth had the Road Pony Classic Champion in the phenomenal Romeo’s Kristy Lee LF for Priscilla Gise. Velvet King and Dr. Alan Raun were the Reserve Champions.

Kathryn Nichols made another trip to the winner’s circle, this time with Heartland Direct Hit in the UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Classic. Heartland Fortune Maker and Bob Phillips won the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic for Faydelle Schott.

An overjoyed Katherine Hansil skipped, jumped and leaped around the in-gate area when her With Style And Grace was called out as the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic National Champion. Hansil’s brother, Robert Gardiner, was aboard for the top prize. Bob Brison was up for reserve with Captain Kangaroo for Fairview Farm and B & T Vonderschmitt LLC.

Bob Brison had an absolute showstopper in Soquili’s Georgia Kracker, by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of a Callaway’s Blue Norther mare. A lot of blue blood from the Callaway Hills flow through the veins of this one, who is somewhat reminiscent of the great Callaway’s Sugarplum. B & T Vonderschmitt LLC owns this great unanimous victor. Jim Lowry had the Reserve Champion in Catalyst’s Blonde Ambition for Tri-Color Ventures.

A fantastic showdown in the UPHA Harness Pony Classic saw Regal’s Norma Jean LF and Abel Vega drive off with the tri-color for Stephany Monteleone. The homebred Crystal Creek’s Hot Shot and Maureen Lydon were reserve for Carl and Kathryn Nichols. Both of these ponies put on hellacious performances for the big, appreciative Thursday night Classics crowd.

The traditional capper of the evening is the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic. Tonight was a real barnburner, as the National Three-Year-Old Futurity World’s Champion, Our First Class Day TS, took on all comers to take a unanimous victory with Melinda Moore riding for Donna Moore, who was honored earlier this week as the American Royal Horseperson of the Year. A relative newcomer to the national stage, Caper’s Spotlight put on a great performance with Louis Louw for Shields and Associates. Louw really dropped the hammer second way and asked this Classic Caper - The Talk Of The Town cross for a little something extra. Spotlight did not disappoint, putting on a crowd-pleasing show.

With Melinda Moore’s victory, she earned part of the UPHA Classic Incentive purse, which comes from the UPHA Yearling Incentive Sale held every year here at the American Royal. Any horse purchased through the sale who ends up earning a ribbon in one of the Classics receives a portion of the purse. Our First Class Day TS was eligible for this program, as were two other ribbon winners on the evening. Steve Demjen was thrilled with his fifth place finish with Curtis Lowe in the Fine Harness Classic, while Melissa Moore most likely never gave a fist pump for picking up an eighth place ribbon, but she sure did just that in the Park Pleasure Classic! When Innovator’s number was called out for the eight and final ribbon, Melissa secured her portion of the incentive money. The pot of over $90,000 was split between these three winners, with $30,666 going to each of them. It was a big celebration for the Moore family, and Steve Demjen was more than happy to join the party.

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