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UPHA/American Royal - Friday Night

Friday night is bookended by two great programs that the United Professional Horsemen’s Association has put together. First of these was the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup National Championship. The Overall National Champion tonight was Megan Cyr, winning her second National Championship in this class. She was also named National Champion in 2008 and Reserve National Champion in 2007. Megan shows under the guidance of Stirrups N Strides Therapeutic Riding Center in Citra, Florida. The Reserve National Champion was also a repeat from 2008, this was Robert Castellitto. Robert was thrilled with his second reserve title. National Champion in the Non-Physically Challenged division was the always popular Nicholas Sunder. Nick has been the Champion of the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup at Midwest Charity for eight straight years!

The other end of this Friday night celebration is always the UPHA Pink Ribbon Class, the Ladies Five-Gaited National Championship. Jessica Moctezuma opened things up for this year’s event, riding a round of honor with a pink UPHA flag while the honored ladies and their supporters made their way to center ring. This is a place of honor for those who have fought or are fighting the terrible disease of breast cancer and those there representing loved ones lost in this fight. Tonight it was a group of 15 women who rode for the cure, a phenomenal number for this event, one that always bring out the best of the best. The ideas of avoiding the toughest competition are cast aside on this Friday night each year, and everyone wants to show for the Ladies title to support this cause. It was announced tonight that $30,000 had been raised from this show to be donated to this program of the UPHA, once again a tremendous donation from the Pink Ribbon team.

Tonight would be a first. It was the first time that Gayle Lampe failed to take the last pass in the UPHA Pink Ribbon Ladies Five-Gaited National Championship. CH Callaway’s Born To Win, however, took a round of honor for the fourth consecutive year as the National Champion. No, he did not leave Gayle in the green shavings and take off on his own, that would have been a shame to tarnish her pretty pink coat. Instead, the horse show crowd was given an amazingly memorable moment. Those that thought about heading out early and not watching the post-class interview and ensuing victory pass were kicking themselves once the rest of the horse show crowd made its way out of the ring. Gayle was interviewed by Peter Fenton, discussing her wonderful chestnut gelding, the thrill of winning a fourth consecutive National Championship, and the other various pieces that go into those interviews. She spoke of the fact that she bought Born To Win when he as 10 years old, and now, seven years later at 17, he looks just as strong as ever.

Once that interview was concluded, events took a turn from the traditional to the unforgettable. To give a bit of back story, the judges had been discussing in center ring on this Friday night the tradition that holds that a judge can ask to ride or drive a horse or pony from the ring if he ties that entry first. Nobody thought that would amount to anything but just talk. Well as Rob Byers was exiting the ring, he wanted to stop and congratulate Miss Gayle and mentioned the night’s discussion to her. Anyone who knows Gayle knows what happened next. "Well come on!" she exclaimed. Judge Byers demurred at first, not wanting to take away the victory pass from the four-time National Champion. But Gayle persisted, "You won’t get many more chances!" That was all it took. The stirrups were lowered a few holes, the tux stayed on, and the gentleman from Simpsonville took to the saddle of the Ladies Five-Gaited National Champion.

He took off at a slow gait, stepped up to a rack, and made a round, with every camera in the building firing away for all that it was worth. Cell phones were out videoing this once in a lifetime moment. One trip wasn’t quite enough for Rob, however, so once he got to the in gate, with the crowd expecting him to make the right turn up the chute, he dropped down to a trot and put on an absolutely spectacular display for the final pass of the night. Look at the pictures on Howard Schatzberg’s website, or on any number of Facebook pages. They will tell the story. It sent the horse show crowd out on the highest of high notes, thanks to two of the very best in our breed, Gayle Lampe and Rob Byers.

The Reserve National Champion has been getting a lot of crowd support all week long, and well-deserved. This was The Lady Sings The Blues, winner of the Ladies Mare class on Tuesday night. Helen Robertson has been at the helm of this eight-year-old mare all season long for Reneaux Collins. By Northern Blues, she is out of Undulata’s Once And Again, by I’m A New Yorker. She carries New Yorker blood in three quarters of her pedigree, with Flight Time looming large on the very bottom line. Her sire, Northern Blues, is by Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of the great Yorkshire Pudding. She has been a work in progress as a gaited horse, making her first show in the division as a six-year-old in 2008. This year, it all came together, and she and Helen Robertson were a force to be reckoned with. They put on winning shows at Bonnie Blue, Lawrenceburg, the All American Horse Classic, and then again on Tuesday night. Facing off against the three-time defending Champions, they met their first reserve prize of the year, the Reserve National Championship, and they gave the champs all they could handle. Supporting this great cause in third place was Tammy DeVore. She rode a bay with four white socks, Millionheir’s Row to the pink ribbon with the yellow accent. Mosette, the first ever winner of the All American Weanling Cup, was fourth, making a fantastic case for herself all week long for Kate Coup Younker and owner Karen Coup. Callaway’s Cassis and Carol Hillenbrand took the all pink ribbon in fifth, while Ylang Ylang and Missy Hughes finished sixth for Ever Glades Farm with an absolutely eye-catching performance.

Tara Grom has had a horse show season that will be one she will remember for many, many years to come. Four trips to the ring in Freedom Hall finished with four victory passes, including the memorable two-horse workout in the Amateur Three-Gaited World’s Championship. Tonight, she was ready for her final trip of the year aboard With Style And Grace, famously the winner of that Amateur Three-Gaited World’s Championship. It was two years ago here that Bob and Kim Grom selected this ethereally beautiful mare, as she catapulted into the spotlight with a UPHA Park Pleasure Classic Grand Championship win with Robert Gardiner. A year ago, the Sir William Robert daughter was a harness horse, winning the Junior Fine Harness Mare World’s Championship and the Junior Reserve World’s Championship. This year, under the direction of DeLovely, she has become something even more. She has become a superstar, a celebrity of the breed. And she started the year in a completely different division. After successful early season performances in the Park division, it came time to decide what division to shoot for at Louisville. Open Park Mares? Amateur Park Mares? Why not try something different altogether? That was the suggestion of trainer Todd Miles. After mulling that over for awhile, the Groms decided to go for it. Would she trim? Of course she would. With a head and neck like that, she can’t help but look beautiful. Would she fit in with the park-trotting competition? She proved that and then some in Freedom Hall. Tonight, she put on a show that left people talking about her as one of the best they have ever seen. She was the unanimous winner of the Amateur Three-Gaited National Championship.

Reserve in this National Championship for the second year in a row, Boston Legal earned the reserve tri-color with Elizabeth Shatner up once again for the Grey Ridge banner and Belle Reve Farm. Top three in the Over 2 qualifier and then Reserve National Champion, that was the exact same way last year’s results ran as well. This horse has returned to the forefront of the division over the past year, stepping up in this his nine-year-old campaign. Winner of the Under 2 qualifier, the always expressive Hillcroft Claret was third tonight for breeder Hillcroft Farm and Misdee Wrigley Miller. Over 2 qualifier winner Callaway’s Rosemary And Thyme was fourth for Brittany Baird and MBA Equestrians, making this one deep championship.

Dream Castle made new owners Burbank and Collins proud, as she made her last show with Bob Brison a successful one, winning the Tom Bass Memorial Missouri-Kansas Five-Gaited Stake. Also winners of the qualifier, this talented daughter of Castle Bravo and A Daydream Believer (BHF) will now make her home in Kentucky at Jimmy and Helen Robertson’s Infinity Stables. Kirk Osburg took over the reins of his Americana’s Standing Ovation to earn the Reserve Championship. Reserve in the qualifier as well with Zach Duffy up, Standing Ovation is just a four-year-old, by Reedann’s Eclipse and out of a Sultan’s Americana mare.

Seamair Simply Awesome came back in the Amateur Hackney Pony Championship to flip the placings of the qualifier and take National Championship honors for John and Charlotte Wrather. This was a repeat from 2008 for this sensational team. In 14 shows this year, they came away with 13 first place ribbons. A year ago here they earned their first reserve title of the year as well, ending what was then a 22-class winning streak! Tonight their lone loss of the season was avenged, as they took home the tri-color. The Reserve National Championship went to Heartland Fortune Maker and Faydelle Schott, winners of the Amateur qualifier. This incredibly gifted World’s Grand Champion finished the year with eight wins and two reserves in 10 outings under the Victory Lane banner. Bob Phillips had the 80-something Ms. Schott and Heartland Fortune Maker tuned and ready again.

The American Royal Saddle Seat Equitation National Championship was up next, with a good group contending for the tri-color. The 16-17 winner, Alexandra Lawson, was judged to be the best, as Todd Miles greeted the National Champion in the winner’s circle. She rode Feng Shui to this top prize, one of the biggest wins of her young career, and her first National Championship victory in this her very first season of equitation in the Saddlebred world. Abby Mutrux continued her very successful season aboard Blackboard, finishing as the Reserve National Champion, receiving a nice round of applause from the home state crowd. Abby was the Pleasure Equitation Triple Crown winner this year, in addition to being a walking billboard for ModJods, co-owned by her mom, Jean Mutrux. Just 11 years old, Sydney Budzinksi took it to the older kids in this one, finishing third aboard Oh! What A Feeling. Directed by Scott and Carol Matton, Sydney was the ASHA Pleasure Equitation National Champion at the Wisconsin Futurity. They were Reserve National Champions in both the Medallion Finals and the Pleasure Olympics.

The ageless wonder, CH Free Willy, was back at it again with Jayne Romano. They completed the second pony placings switch of the night, coming back from a reserve finish in the qualifier to take the National Championship back to Lukens Stables. This keeps intact Willy’s streak of winning at least once class in Kemper Arena every year since 2006. The year before that, he was a winner at the Canadian Royal! They had to be at the very top of their game to earn this tri-color, as the Reserve National Champion was CH Calvin Hobbs. Calvin and Kevin Ingram have won at least once here each of the last three years, including the 2009 Amateur National Championship. The seven-time World’s Champion was a star yet again tonight in reserve.

The Roadster to Wagon Championship went back to Bacon Stables for the second year in a row, as Go For Broke went all out with Michael Bacon at the lines for Brad Bacon. This rocket-fuelled team tore up the track as Reserve World’s Champions earlier this year. Champion of this class in 2008, Raising The Bar was the Reserve Champion tonight with Glenn A. Werry Jr. A World’s Champion in this division the past two years, Raising The Bar continues to be a star.

The 2008 standout performer of the Kentucky State Fair finished off his 2010 campaign in the division that shot him to national prominence, three-gaited. Call Me Regal has long been a celebrity horse, ever since Tre Lee stormed into the ring aboard him to win a Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Championship. A year ago, it was David Blevins who directed this spectacular colt to the ASR National Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Futurity World’s Championship. This year, it was a third trainer in three years, with much the same result. Kenny Smith now directs the muscular and athletic son of Call Me Ringo and New York’s Crown Jewel for Barbara Goodman Manilow. A World’s Champion yet again this year in the 15.2-and-Under Junior Three-Gaited division, Call Me Regal was Junior Three-Gaited winner here tonight as well. The Junior Three-Gaited Over 15.2 World’s Champion, Brookhill’s Glam Slam, finished reserve tonight in her debut for John Conatser and Betsy Thomas. Exquisitely fine, this jet black mare looks absolutely perfectly suited for the Ladies division. She will certainly be one to watch as she is prepared for Betsy Thomas. By Periaptor, she is out of CH It’s A Beautiful Day, producer of CH She’s My Desire BH, Brookhill’s Periday, and CH Brookhill’s King Of Kool. Matthew Shiflet and Famous Kiss finished top three in this field of six that was regarded as one of the best classes of the night.

After some early season success in the Park division, the switch to harness was made by Kalarama’s Carrousel and the Landmark Farm team. Kristen Eve Gardner was at the lines to make an elegant and stylish presentation for Ready Set Show Inc, earning the National Championship in the ASHA Junior Exhibitor Fine Harness Driving Challenge.

Heartland Expectation finished the 2010 season just as he did in 2009, trimmed in tri-color. This phenomenal performer by Dun-Haven Awesome Creation was the winner of the Amateur Harness Pony National Championship this year with Mary Gise, after having won the Open national title a year ago with Lynda Freseth in ‘09. An entry of Priscilla Gise, Expectation was the Amateur qualifier winner earlier this week, the only Amateur pony to sweep a division tonight. He was on top of his game once again, just as he was in August to take the Harness Pony World’s Grand Championship with Lynda Freseth. Just a five-year-old, Estoban was the Reserve National Champion with Anna Marie Knipp driving for High Spirits Farm. Twice reserve here a year ago, Estoban was the winner of the Midwest Hackney Jackpot Four and Five-Year-Old Harness Pony class at the Illinois State Fair in August.

Scott Perrelli was fist pumping like a champ as he ran to the winner’s circle to greet Tammy DeVore and Twice The Dice, winners of the Junior Five-Gaited class for Carol Hillenbrand. By Supremacy’s High Time and out of A Roll Of The Dice, this big chestnut gelding rocketed to fame a year ago here as the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited winner. Now under the ownership of Carol Hillenbrand, he has returned to establish himself as a crowd-pleasing winner yet again, romping down the straightaways under the hand of Tammy DeVore. The DeVore family always gets the crowd pumped up, as they ride hard every time out. Oddly enough, a year later, the top two placings were identical to that Three-Year-Old class from a year ago, as Thunder’s Fair Lady finished reserve again with Smith Lilly up for Cross Timbers Saddlebreds. Fair Lady is by Attache’s Thunderbolt and out of HMS My Fair Lady, by Royal Return. She has been reserve at Louisville the past two years as well, finishing as a Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Mare Reserve World’s Champion and a Junior Five-Gaited Mare Reserve World’s Champion. Bret Day was third with Belle Reve’s So Photogenic for Elizabeth Shatner and Dorothy Anderson, while The Inside Story and Debbie Foley were fourth for Silver Brook.

Two years ago, Emily Abbott was the Five-Gaited Pleasure National Champion with a fantastic catch ride aboard CH Callaway’s Where There’s A Will. Tonight, she was the Three-Gaited Pleasure National Champion with yet another catch ride, this one in a $10,000 class with Sir Richard Dale for Tri-Color Ventures and Lowry Stables. Owner Priscilla Marconi had handled riding duties for Sir Richard Dale all throughout the year, winning twice at UPHA Chapter 5 and two big reserves at Blue Ridge. After Emily’s qualifier win in the 18-38 qualifier here, the decision to show back was an easy one and a good one at that. By Sir William Robert, Richard Dale is out of Completely Elegant, by Attache’s Liquid Asset. Just a five-year-old, Redesigned has had an outstanding show season with Kristen Olson for Sherilyn and Thomas Nelson and the Centre Pointe team. Winners of nine classes this year, this team was right at the top of the pile all year long in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Reserve in the 18-38 qualifier, Redesigned is by Designed and out of CH Harlem’s Town Scandal, a Reserve World’s Champion in amateur walk-trot. Carol Hillenbrand wasn’t able to see the victory pass for Twice The Dice in the Junior Five-Gaited class, as she was warming up with Mighty Thor, 39-and-Over qualifier winner in their debut on Wednesday night and third here on Friday. World’s Champion of Champions Kalarama’s Twister finished fourth here with Cindy Hettinger Carcione for the Biggins banner.

Tyler Miles was the winner of the AHHS Road Pony 14-17 Youth Medallion National Championship. He was a World’s Champion with the winning entry this year, while he was a World’s Champion with the Reserve National Champion a year ago. The Wizard LF was the winner tonight for Toni Nastali and the Majestic Oaks team. Toni Nastali campaigned this dynamo for most of the year, turning over the lines here to Tyler Miles for the National Championship drive. Toni was at the lines for the Kentucky County Fair Championship, while Tyler drove to a 14-17 Road Pony World’s Championship. Last year’s 14-17 World’s Champion of Champions with Tyler Miles, Kentucky Hot Brown was reserve tonight with Alex Terry driving for Greg Scott.

The two-time defending Roadster to Bike National Championship, Trio Bolero G, took his toe-tapping routine to the amateur division this year with Misdee Wrigley Miller. They completed an undefeated campaign here tonight in the penultimate class as the Amateur National Champions. It was a trio of first place votes for Trio Bolero, twice a winner in Freedom Hall this year and a nine-time winner this season. Winner of the open qualifier, Beaucourt Boy earned the reserve title with Charlie Jones driving for the Lukens Stables banner. The prize list allowed for this unusual qualifying path for Lexington’s Reserve Champion.

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