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UPHA/American Royal - Saturday Afternoon

The traditional marathon Saturday daytime session began bright and early with the preliminary round of the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Finals. Following those proceedings at an 11 a.m. start time was the Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited class. Purchased recently by Tannehill Farms, Callaway’s No Reservations was the winner with Todd Graham up. This chestnut gelding is by Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of Callaway’s Razzberries, making him a full brother to CH Callaway’s Sugarplum. Reserve in this one went to Double Charmed. Lana Gilpin continued a strong week for Larry and Lana Gilpin. Double Charmed is a homebred product of LVG Stables, by their stallion, Peri Rich, and out of The Lucky Charm, by Sultan’s Starmaker.

A surprisingly light Country Pleasure Driving Championship went to Callaway’s Cumulus and Susan Aschenbrenner. Winners of the qualifier and now six classes in a row, Cumulus and Aschenbrenner were unanimous victors here. They have performed admirably all year under the direction of Amanda Simpson, notching their 14th win on the season. The Aschenbrenners have enjoyed shopping the Callaway Hills program, as both of Susan’s top driving entries are Callaway products. Reserve in both classes this week was Lady’s Great Night Out. Amie Rowe once again made the drive. Sired by CF First Night Out, Great Night Out is out of Lady’s Great Day, by Sultan’s Great Day.

Tops in the AHHS Pleasure Pony Under Saddle National Championship was Reedann’s Special Delivery. Avis Van Zomeren did the honors for Mark and Renae Van Zomeren. The only rider to ever show this pony, Avis was reserve in this class just last year, moving up one spot to take the title. PO’s Nicolite earned the Reserve National Championship, as Caitlyn Liljedahl rode for Trimble and Sperl. Making the trip down from Minnesota, they claimed their biggest title in this their first year together under the direction of Cary Bartz.

The UPHA Walk-and-Trot Challenge Cup was split into two sections, as the young riders qualified for the 2011 National Finals. Jordyn Isgrigg’s first year in walk-and-trot ended well, as she guided CH Olympic Charm to a victory pass in the first split for Infinity Stables. Scotty Bruggeworth took the reserve prize back to Siren Song aboard Viva Flamenca. Scotty finished his 2010 campaign with 11 wins and eight reserves.

Ashley Creekmore was the winner of this class a year ago, and she was trimmed in blue yet again here in Section Two. She finished her year with Something Is In The Heir, winning a cool dozen classes in 2010. The biggest two wins came in Freedom Hall, as she swept the 8-and-Under Walk-and-Trot qualifier and Championship. Sarah Madison Hecht was the reserve winner for Kierson Farm aboard Amandari. This team is cute as a button and will be all geared up for 2011.

UPHA Hall of Fame trainer Dr. Alan R. Raun was at the lines of Harness Pony National Champion Conqueror’s Colleen LF. An entry of Kathleen Zimpleman, Conqueror’s Colleen has long been a star on the Midwest circuit. This was her 12th win of the year. Winner of the qualifier, Seamair Sensation was the Reserve National Champion with John Wrather. Directed by Janet Crampton for Charlotte Wrather, Sensation was the Amateur Gentlemen’s Harness Pony World’s Champion. He was reserve in this class in 2009 as well.

The class that produced one of the brightest stars of 2009 produced one of the best stories of 2010. This was the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited class, won famously by Twice The Dice a season ago. Today it was Sundrop’s Gold Digger winning this well-filled class. Gold Digger is by CH Callaway’s Gold Rush and out of Leatherwood’s Sundrop, by Leatherwood’s Starlight. The bay gelding was a racking machine here on the green shavings. However the story centered around his rider, Scott Wendt. Wendt worked for Doc Raun back in the 80s and since then has worked a little of everything, focusing on Friesians and Thoroughbreds, finding great success in the Friesian ranks. This was his first time showing a Saddlebred at the American Royal, and he made the most of it. To say that wife Brenda was overjoyed would be an understatement. She leapt into the air at the in gate when Scott’s number was called, and didn’t spend more than five straight seconds on the ground for the next few minutes, periodically jumping up and down and clapping her hands with excitement and pride. It was a well-deserved and hard-earned victory for Wendt and Gold Digger’s owner, Laura Poore. Mike Richardson took the red ribbon with Blazing Sevens for Nancy Ehle. It was a debut performance for this son of Memories Are Made Of This. He is out of Marigrace, by Desert’s Supreme Memories.

Janet Thompson continued a spectacular week in Kansas City, topping the competitive Western Country Pleasure National Championship with Winsdown Diamond Dee for Char Sondrall. In four classes this week, Thompson claimed a first, a fourth, a Reserve National Championship and a National Championship, not a bad stretch of performances. This was one of the biggest wins of Diamond Dee’s distinguished career. Champion of the Shatner Finals, America’s Lass earned the Reserve National Championship with owner Suzanne Bradshaw. This is the first year as a Western horse for America’s Lass, as she was previously shown by Bradshaw’s granddaughter, Alexandra Sowell, in Country Pleasure. World’s Champion of Champions in 2009, Toreador finished third with Dr. Catherine Gallo, while Lexington Champion I’m Goin’ Out Tonight was fourth with Jessica Moctezuma for Nealia McCracken and Margory Brown.

Just two entries answered the call for the Five-Gaited Pony Stake, with Top Dawg taking the title with Mary Mitkish riding. An entry of Patricia Malcolm and Mary Mitkish, Top Dawg is by Top Spool and out of the grand gaited mare, CH Swept Away. Mango Momma was reserve for the second time this week with Foster Roberts up for Joe E. Johnson.

Gib Marcucci and Grace Bay put on a solo show in the Junior Harness Pony class for Larry Schultz. Last year’s Three-Year-Old Reserve World’s Champion is by Arthur B and out of Bellagio, by Pzazz.

In competition against junior exhibitors, Alexa McWilliams has won seven times and been reserve once with She’s Gone. Owned by Tri-Color Saddlebreds and trained by Clark Clouse, She’s Gone is on a five-class winning streak that started in her Freedom Hall qualifier. The daughter of Molligny Don’t Worry Be Happy went on to take the Championship there as well. Today, she and McWilliams were the winners of the ASHA Junior Exhibitor Pleasure Driving Challenge Final. Taking A Chance and Delynn Utecht were the Reserve Champions.

It was Kenny Wheeler that kicked off My Stiletto’s driving career at Bluefield Shrine for Janet and Katy Sterba and the Mercer Springs team. He continued his driving duties at Louisville, earning a Reserve World’s Championship. Janet Sterba took over the lines at ASHAV, winning both of her classes there. However nobody could have foreseen the rapid ascension of this team as one of the top in the business in so short a time. Today, they took their second victory pass of the week, winning the Pleasure Driving National Championship in high style for daughter Katy Sterba. To earn this title, they had to take on some of the very best to ever grace the division, including World’s Champion CH Candle Dan, winner of the other split of the qualifier. He and Jayne Romano looked every bit the star tandem as the Reserve National Champions. They were National Champions in this event just last season. Paige Bundy made a fantastic drive behind the four-year-old, Chantilly Lily. She earned her second top-three finish of the week. Undefeated coming into this week, the reigning World’s Champion of Champions, CH A Cinderella Story, finished fourth for Karrie Graham and Dwaine Kinderknecht.

Dylan Hines must have known he had a great ride, as he leaned over and kissed Manhattan’s Irish Cream in the lineup. He was right, as he was called out as the tri-color recipient in the Three-Gaited Pony Stake for Yvonne and Rick Hines. Reserve in this class last year and famously the winner of the World’s Championship this season, Irish Cream has been a standout of this division for six years now. It was an all-star cast in this one, as CH The Attache Orchid was the Reserve Champion with Hunter Chancellor riding for Steven Chancellor. Reserve in the qualifier as well, this team had won this championship three years in a row from 2007 to 2009. Powerful Tango and Dominique Bowlen put together another top-notch show to earn third for Alex Bowlen and Cater Stables. They were winners of the qualifier.

It was a second solo performance for a junior pony. This was Si Senor winning the Junior Hackney Pony class with Cindy Ireland at the lines for Gib Marcucci. Marcucci drove to the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic Reserve Grand Championship on Thursday night.

The Country Pleasure division had their National Championships back to back, with the Junior Exhibitors coming to the ring first. Abby Mutrux made her bid to be a rainbow princess, riding the Rainbow Princess Farms entry, The Petite Princess, to a National Championship for the DeLovely Farm team. They were also winners of the qualifier. This wonderful little horse was 13-and-Under Country Pleasure World’s Champion of Champions in 2008. The reigning 14-17 World’s Champion of Champions finished as the Reserve National Champion. This was CH CF First Light Of Dawn. Maya Manilow, his teammate since 2005, was riding for Charles Goodman and the Skyline Stables team. Only Maya had shown "Danny" since 2005, but Barbara Goodman Manilow stepped aboard for two wins in the past couple months at St. Louis and Mid-America Mane Event. Morgan Billig made another strong ride on CH Sir Winston C, taking third for Nancy Ehle. CH Royal Messenger made his final show ring performance, taking fourth with Caroline Skinner for James and Judy Skinner.

CH League Of Nations and Carol Hillenbrand have been teamed together since the Fall of 2007. Since then, they have amassed 32 wins together, finishing the season as the Adult Country Pleasure National Champions for the third year in a row. John Conatser was smiling wide as he made the stroll to the winner’s circle to greet his charge, who capped off an undefeated season here today. CH Jessie Cole and Amanda Dellinger were Reserve National Champions for the second straight season for James R. Dellinger Jr. Trained by Hollow Haven, this team has been no lower than third all year long, and that was in the World’s Championship. They were World’s Champions in their qualifier. CH Hard Day’s Night TS and Murphy McSemek moved up a place from their qualifier split to take third today for Tillman Stables.

Another solo performance by a UPHA Classic Reserve Grand Champion came in the Junior Road Pony class, as A Dazzling Diva and Larry Bacon took the blue for Larry and Barbara Bacon. Dazzling Diva is by Dun-Haven Celebrity and out of Image’s Ballerina, by Apollo’s Image.

Sir Radiant Knight was tops in the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness class with Mike Roberts driving for Dave and Dena Lopez. Amateur Two-Year-Old In Hand Futurity World’s Champion with Dave Lopez just last year, Radiant Knight is by Sir William Robert and out of Radiant Dianna. His second dam is the Broodmare Hall of Famer and Reserve World’s Champion, Sultan’s Dianna. Sky Bravo earned the reserve win with Michael Beason at the lines for James and Tina Pembroke. By Castle Bravo, Sky Bravo is out of Cara Me Away, by CH Caramac.

CH Perfect Vengeance capped off a practically perfect season with Tara Grom, winning for the 10th time in 11 tries. The liver chestnut gelding rocked way back and hit the ring smoking hot yet again for Robert and Kim Grom. This was their eighth win in a row, including two Louisville wins. Trained by DeLovely, Perfect Vengeance has been an absolute standout all throughout the show year for Tara Grom, who herself has had one of the best seasons of her life. Jason Gershman and Phillip Martinelli have been teamed together since Oshkosh Charity for owner Maribelle Granger and the Northern Tradition team. Since then, they have just continued to get better, winning championships at the All American Horse Classic and Wisconsin Futurity. Today, they turned it on second way and earned a Reserve Championship, much to the delight of young Jason’s legion of fans and friends. Reserve in the qualifier, two-time defending National Champion CH His Supreme Reflection finished third with Jacqueline Manzo for Kimberly Jones and trainer Tom Sworm.

Alex Ververeli and Kirstie Buerkley were one-two in the Junior Exhibitor Road Pony class for the second year in a row. Alex drove his same partner, CH Heartland Victory Maker, to a second consecutive blue for Kathleen and Alex Ververeli. The two-time AHHS 13-and-Under Road Pony Medallion National Champion was twice a Reserve World’s Champion in Freedom Hall this season. Kirstie Buerkley had a different teammate this year, as she drove Regal’s Special Effort LF to the red for SGF Winning Ways Farm. Last year, she was driving Surprize Surprize to reserve honors.

The final event before the final round of competition in the USEF Saddle Seat Medal Finals was 10-and-Under Equitation. Joanna Ricci made her cantering debut, showing CH Callaway’s Coraleen to a blue ribbon ride for Kierson Farm. A Walk-and-Trot World’s Champion, Ricci was Lexington’s Walk-and-Trot Grand Champion. Shenia Beyer was reserve in this class for the second year in a row. She showed Sultan’s Kaboom to the red out of her Colorado home base.

The USEF Saddle Seat Medal Finals brought all the drama that we have become accustomed to, with Nick Maupin seeking the third and final jewel of his Triple Crown bid. This final pattern was remarkable in its design. It emphasized elements that horse is not accustomed to, elements that have rarely been seen in any pattern anywhere. First, the horses had to enter the ring at a canter. They had to execute a two-loop serpentine at the trot. No big deal, right? Well one of the loops was basically trotted around the judges’ stand. Again, hardly ever seen. After that, the riders had to pivot and then walk their horses to the center of the far end of the ring, then pivot again and walk to the rail. It was an extreme test of horsemanship, the hallmark of the USEF Saddle Seat Medal. Nick Maupin had to fend off the NHS Good Hands Reserve National Champion and the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup Reserve National Champion to get the job done today, but he did just that, heading to the winner’s circle, where he was joined by Scott and Carol Matton and Eric Griedl. It was a triple Knollwood greeting for the Triple Crown winner, the first boy to ever win the Triple Crown. Howie Schatzberg recruited Scott Matton to ear up all of the top ten prize winners as they made their final rounds of honor. Earning her second Reserve National Championship of the week, Hunter Chancellor put together a phenomenal performance with Chanti’s Prayer. Her railwork today may have been the best of her young career, and her workout would be incredibly difficult to fault. She served notice that her 15-year-old campaign next year will be one to watch. Courtney McGinnis, the youngest rider in this National Final, earned a bronze medal for third with Kiss Of The Zodiac. The UPHA Junior Challenge Cup National Champion and Junior World’s Champion of Champions was undefeated in everything but National Finals this year, winning 16 times. Those two times she left the ring with anything but the top prize were in 17-and-Under classes, the Good Hands Finals and the Medal Finals. She will be in her 13-year-old year in 2011.

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