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UPHA/American Royal - Friday Evening

Friday night honors the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup riders with a primetime spot at the head of the session. Sierra Sarmiento made it three years in a row as the Overall National Champion. She rode Shot A Scotch to the tri-color under the direction of Nicole Foster. It was a big win for the threepeat. She qualified for this year’s event with a win at the Big D. Elizabeth Metcalf made her first trip to the National Finals a great one with an Overall Reserve National Championship. Showing Blue Calliou, Elizabeth is trained by Ashley Walker. From the Non-Physically Challenged division, it was a two-time winner, Sean Simpson. From the Stirrups N Strides Therapeutic Riding Center, Sean rode Willowick Southern Style to his National Championship, his second in a row. With his best finish to date, Eli Miller was the Reserve National Champion. He showed here for the first time in 2010, scoring a Top Ten win that year. Riding for the Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center, Eli rode Moonlight’s Talisman to this great prize.

The biggest cheer went to Rachel Sanchez as the Physically Challenged National Champion. The daughter of Stefanie Sanchez and granddaughter of Sharyn Lackey is the friendliest and funniest young lady you could ever hope to meet. She went on a tear the other night telling jokes one right after the other. Tonight, she was all business aboard CH Power Source to claim this National Championship for High Caliber Stables. She was the Reserve National Champion in 2011. Victoria Mattson was the Reserve National Champion with Always Bet Black. She is directed by Milo Jones.

CH With Style And Grace and Tara Grom made it four years in a row as the Amateur Three-Gaited National Champions. Twice the World’s Champion of Champions and twice the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions in that timeframe, Tara and the daughter of Sir William Robert and a Periaptor mare have been a spectacular team. They have never been lower than second in this division throughout their four-year run for Team DeLovely. Twice a Reserve World’s Champion in his career, Callaway’s Thrills & Chills added a Reserve National Championship tonight. Rose Hochner rode to this prize for Carroll Robertson Ray. This team scored an amateur championship at Blue Ridge this year, highlighting their first season together. Thrills & Chills was the 2011 UPHA Three-Gaited Classic National Champion.

Faydelle Schott added to her rockstar status with a unanimous win in the Amateur Hackney Pony National Championship. Heartland Fortune Maker is now the two-time defending National Champion and World’s Champion of Champions in this division, as the 86-year-old Faydelle looks to be having the time of her life. She has Bob Phillips to thank for encouraging her to take on this challenge in her golden years! Toni Nastali repeated her Reserve National Championship from a year ago with Heartland Rough And Ready. By Heartland Victory and out of Heartland Ruby Red, Rough And Ready was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions this year for the Majestic Oaks team. He was the Amateur Ladies World’s Champion in his qualifier round.

Gayle Lampe had the winner in the Tom Bass Mo/Kan Five-Gaited Championship. Zach Duffy rode her Callaway’s The Coast Is Clear to the top spot from the Mike Roberts Stable. Reserve in the qualifier, Coast Is Clear is by Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of Callaway’s Twice The Spice (BHF). This is the first year in the show ring for the five-year-old chestnut mare. Ridgewood’s Wonderful Admiral was the reserve champion with Robert Gardiner up. An entry of Glenda Pugh, Wonderful Admiral was the winner in the qualifier. He is by Admiral Dixieland and out of She’s Wonderful.

The Saddle Seat Equitation National Championship has taken over the role of what used to be known as the American Royal Equitation Championship. The 16-17 qualifier winner came back tonight with a strong pattern to be crowned the National Champion. Kaelin Baechle made this winning ride aboard Harley Rally, claiming the top prize for Fairfield South. One of the youngest of the group, Lauren Arquilla came back strong tonight, earning the Reserve National Championship aboard CH-EQ A Sweet Sensation. The Silver Medalist in the 13-and-Under Pleasure Equitation Olympics at Mid-America Mane Event this year, Lauren rides for Northern Tradition Farm. Even younger than that, Ainsley Budzinski was the UPHA Walk-and-Trot Challenge Cup National Champion just last year. She was up for third in this one, showing the poise of a much older rider. Also making the pattern was Clara McCool in fourth and Gavin Gagnon in fifth.

Sugarland has been a sensation all year long for Elisabeth Goth. Winners of all seven of their classes this season, they took the Amateur Road Pony National Championship back to Majestic Oaks giving Elisabeth her first ever undefeated season with a horse or pony. Sugarland is by Dun-Haven Regal Attraction and out of Mastercraft’s Princess LF. He is now a National Champion to go with his four World’s Championship victories. Reserve National Champion for the second straight year, Heartland Curtain Call cruised to this prize with Lindsay Paige Jones in her bright orange silks. Kent Swalla headed up this good team for Glendale Stables. CH Thunderation and Meredithe Steinhauer finished in third for Denise Steinhauer and Majestic Oaks.

Cherished King stepped up from his qualifier performance to win the Amateur Park Championship here tonight. The last season we saw Cherished King under saddle was as a three-year-old with Tre Lee. The year prior, he was a Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Champion. A career in harness and pleasure driving followed, and he has now found his way back to the under saddle ranks. A Reserve World’s Champion this year with Tyler DeVore, Cherished King was ridden tonight by owner Susan Hanna. Lisa Holt rode like she had Nuttin’ To Lose, holding onto her qualifier position to finish as the Reserve Champion with Nuttin’ To Lose. It has been a good campaign this year for Lisa and the son of Undulata’s Nutcracker and Ridin’ On Heir. Nuttin’ To Lose was the 2011 Open Three-Gaited Park Reserve World’s Champion of Champions. Qualifier winners Front Row Frankie and Tayler Walters were third for Esquire Farm, followed by Nuttin’ Doing and Ellyn Dorsey in fourth from Strickland Stables.

The cousins resumed their friendly rivalry in the 13-and-Under Five-Gaited National Championship, with Rose Marie Wheeler rising to the top for the tricolor round. With four wins and two reserves in their six classes this year, Bono and Rose Marie were also the 13-and-Under World’s Champion of Champions for Karen Mayer and Grey Ridge Farm. Bono can put his chin on his chest and romp down the rail. Sallie Mason Wheeler was the Reserve National Champion with CH Callaway’s Born For This, repeating the order of finish from the World’s Championship this year. National Champion the past two years with Catherine Wheeler, the gray mare was the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions a year ago. Laura Plant and The Cover Story were third for High Caliber Stables. Heir Comes The Man and Mackenzie Hall were fourth from Mill-Again Stables in this deep championship round.

The Roadster to Wagon tricolor went down to New Orleans with Ice Man flying to the top with James Nichols. The 2011 USTA Roadster to Bike Classic World’s Champion was solid through the turns to take this win. Amateur World’s Champion a year ago and Open Wagon World’s Champion this year, Last Call was the reserve winner tonight. Raymond Shively was the owner and driver from DeLovely Farms.

From the ASHAF Youth Pleasure Driving Challenge National Finals, the winner was First Class Heir, driven by Brianna Meyer for the Brown-Anderson Farms. The Junior Exhibitor World’s Champion of Champions is trained by Hollow Haven Farm, also the home of brother Zach’s National Champion pony, Pacifico’s Standing Ovation. This was the second year in a row for First Class Heir and Brianna to claim this title and their second straight undefeated campaign. Sara Baker got “her” horse back tonight. While the horse is registered to parents Ron and Lori Baker, sister Samantha rode Talladega Red to two wins already this week. Sara made the good drive for the Reserve National Championship. Robert Stezovsky directs this team, the Mo/Kan Junior Exhibitor Show Pleasure Champions here last year.

The Amateur Ladies Three-Gaited National Championship went to Heir To A Kiss and Jacqueline Beck. Incredibly high and tight in the bridle and never backing an ear, Heir To A Kiss was the Amateur Ladies Over 2 World’s Champion and the Amateur Ladies Reserve World’s Champion of Champions. Neil Visser trains this daughter of Callaway’s Northern Kiss out of Belle Heiress, by Supreme Heir. She is owned by the Golden Lantern Farms. Earning their fourth consecutive reserve with their best performance to date, it was a consistently strong showing for CH Real Action and Betsy Thomas. From the Carriage Lane string, Real Action is by Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of Callaway’s Worth Waiting For, by Blue Norther. This brilliant, athletic chestnut gelding rocketed to fame here at the Royal in 2008 as a two-year-old.

Moonlight Memories and Mary Marcum Orr made one of the best performances of the week, scoring a well-received unanimous victory in the Junior Five-Gaited class. Last year’s UPHA Five-Gaited Classic Reserve National Champion has now won at Lexington, Louisville, and the Royal this year. Owned by Pair of Jacks Stables, Moonlight Memories is by Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of Tanbark’s Enchanted Evening. Mary also rode to a win at ASHAV with this incredibly gifted mare. About as slick-racking as they come, Open First was the reserve winner with Michael Beasom up for Catherine Street. Wonderfully bred, Open First is out of Suzy’s Lady Bug, producer of Out With The Ladies, Busting Out, and Most Outrageous. All the rest are by CF First Night Out, but this one is by a son of his, At Night. Callaway’s Cassia and Debbie Foley finished third for Debbie Barkley, followed by Reedann’s Treasure Our Talk and Scott Wendt in fourth for Peggy Johnston.

By Dun-Haven Center Attraction and out of HCH Commander’s Supreme, CH Crystal Creek’s Commander was the Amateur Harness Pony National Champion for the third straight year. Sandra Surber made that winning drive under the Majestic Oaks banner. The unanimous winners have been teamed up for three years now and continue to improve as a duo. The beautiful blonde Heartland Queen Of The Road was the Reserve National Champion with Susan Olcott. Trained by Mike Hylton, Queen Of The Road is by Heartland Head Of The Class and out of Heartland Just A Princess. She was the Harness Pony Mare Reserve World’s Champion and the Amateur World’s Champion of Champions this year at Louisville.

Mighty Thor and Carol Hillenbrand continued a dominant season with a National Championship win in the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure division. By Tornaado and out of Heir’s Folly, Mighty Thor hit the ring meaning business every step of the way. Steve and Tiffany Wheeler direct this team, the reigning World’s Champion of Champions. They finished the season on a six-class winning streak. Piper Bordegon’s first show with CH Undulata’s Fashion Plate came just a few weeks ago at the Mid-America Mane Event, capturing the championship there. Fashion Plate is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Riva’s Fashion Spirit, the Broodmare Hall of Fame dam of Undulata’s Georgie Girl. A World’s Champion in 2012, these two earned this exact same Reserve National Championship in 2011. CH Perfect Vengeance and Tara Grom were up for third for Bob and Kim Grom, followed by CH Kent Brockman and Bridget McNeese, who saved their best for last with a fantastic second second-way trot.

John Conatser stepped right down the rail aboard Undulata’s Secret Rendezvous to win the Junior Three-Gaited class. The deep field saw this dark chestnut mare take the last pass for the Rose Arbor Farm. Secret Rendezvous is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Gotta Secret. These two were the Junior Three-Gaited Over 15.2 World’s Champions this year. Winner of the ASR Four-Year-Old Three-Gaited Sweepstakes class at Louisville, HS Daydream’s Celebrity made his debut with Kenny Smith tonight to take the reserve prize for Barbara Goodman Manilow. Hinged up and curvy, Celebrity could well be guessed to be by Sir William Robert and out of A Daydream Believer (BHF), showing that same look as the rest of that golden cross. Bob Brison and Say Yes To The Dress finished third in this good class for Elizabeth Ann Blankenship.

The Amateur Roadster to Bike National Championship looked to be a showdown and a rematch between Bill Shatner and Charlie Jones, two road horse aficionados who love to put on a show. These two went at it full tilt, going after each other all the way around the ring. Well they forgot about James Miller. Staying on the opposite rail from the other two, James went about his business and put on a phenomenal display for Hillcroft Farm and trainer Sam Stafford of Kalarama Farm. When James and Ring Of Fire were called out as the National Champions the excited driver, exclaimed, “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

Brought out at Louisville by Luman Wadhams as the 2012 USTA Roadster to Bike Classic World’s Champion, Ring Of Fire has been shown lightly this year with James and Misdee’s busy schedule and other horse interests. He looked ready to rumble tonight with his own “man in black,” James Miller. Larry Hodge went the extra mile and had Ring Of Fire’s cart re-painted to match James’ silks! The reigning World’s Champion of Champions and last year’s National Champion, Thunderbolt looked shot out of a cannon as he careened down the rail with William Shatner. The entry of Belle Reve is trained by Raymond Shively. These two go flat-out every time they show, and the joy and thrill are written all over Bill’s face.

Maria Gilman doesn’t seem to move an inch on the slick-racking Walterway’s Pardon Me. She put together a fantastic show, making consistently brilliant passes to win the Ladies Five-Gaited National Championship for Barbara Woods to close out this great night of competition. The bright chestnut with lots of chrome is by Star Material and out of Yorktown’s Forget Me Not (BHF), making him a much-discussed full brother to Walterway’s Remember Me. Recently retired this year at Louisville, Remember Me, we will remember, was the winner of this class just a year ago. Well done, breeder Larry Hartsock! The crowd-pleasing Iconium made a big step up from his qualifier spot to claim the Reserve National Championship. The High Caliber crowd made big noise for Vickie Byrd as she racked up for her prize. Iconium has always delighted the crowd with his speed and athleticism. By Worthy’s Prodigy he is out of a Yorktown mare, though he is just 11. Combining him with the game-as-all-getout Vickie Byrd was a stroke of genius. Winner of the Mare qualifier, Cavalia finished third in this tri-color round with Misdee Wrigley Miller. 

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