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UPHA/American Royal - Thursday Evening

Debbie Foley started out the night with a $6,500 win in the UPHA Fine Harness Classic National Championship. Taking all the money home to her own Silver Brook Stables, Debbie drove Take Me Home Tonight to the win. Owned and bred by Debbie, Take Me Home Tonight is by He’s Born To Royalty and out of CH The Homecoming Queen, a mare she acquired back in 2005 that has done more than her fair share of producing good ones. The mare herself will of course be remembered as one of the finest harness mares in memory. Take Me Home Tonight has coloring reminiscent of her dam, even showing a similar way of moving. Last time Lisa Strickland showed in this class it was with a bay mare. That time, she took the top prize with Irresistible Design in 2010. Tonight she had Leatherwood’s Aha Moment, the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Mare World’s Champion, in top form for TDV Inc. She claimed the Reserve National Championship tonight for sire Mountainview’s Heir To Fortune and dam Hint Of Scandal. Also in the money was World’s Champion Master Blue. Smith Lilly showed him to third for Anita Simpson. Las Vegas First Edition and Melissa Moore were fourth for Sandra Corney. The best prize probably went to Steve Demjen with The Voodoo King, making him eligible for the incentive prize money from the UPHA Classics Incentive Sale.

Just one entry came to play in the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic, and it was well worth while. It was a $5,300 exhibition for Andre van Schalkwyk and Heartland Commendable. It was a strong showing for owner Susan Olcott. Commendable is by Heartland Blackhawk and out of Heartland Heather, by Dun-Haven Bandolier. Darrel Kolkman drove this one to the Three-Year-Old Hackney Pony World’s Championship earlier this year.

From a field of 18, 11 were kept in the ring for additional work in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic National Championship. It’s tough to make three-year-olds go twice, but they are almost four anyway! The youngsters rose to the challenge, with On Higher Ground taking to that higher ground as the National Champion. Jim Stachowski saved his best for last with this entry of Stachowski Farms. World’s Champion in the ASR National Three-Year-Old Park Pleasure Futurity, the chestnut son of Seaforth’s Billion Heir and Lady Ann-Margaret topped his prize money from that class with an $8,400 win.

 Amanda Simpson scored a great prize as the Reserve National Champion with Ethereal Love. This entry of John and Susan Aschenbrenner is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of the World’s Champion walk-trot mare, Hallelujah Chorus. Ethereal Love was the Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Mare Reserve World’s Champion this year and the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Mare World’s Champion the year before. Full sibling Miraculous Chorus was a reserve winner earlier this week in Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Park. From the good breeding program of Margo Baird, MBA’s Nuttin’ But Blue finished in third with Chuck Herbert. Last year’s winner Mike Tunstall was fourth with Peri’s Charm SS for Toni Nastali, the owner and breeder. This made Peri’s Charm eligible for the incentive money in what is now known as the UPHA Classics Jackpot Sale, giving Toni a share of the $18,000+ incentive purse.

Kay Marschel drove to the UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Classic National Championship with I Am Legend. From Majestic Oaks, I Am Legend is by Mastercraft and out of Regal’s Mayblossom LF. The Junior Hackney Pleasure Driving World’s Champion was the unanimous choice here tonight. Palisade’s Mr. Big Stuff was the Reserve National Champion with Chip Wise at the lines. Brian Yount directs this cross of Dun-Haven Phenomenal and Seamair’s Autumn Rose.

Macadamia was a popular winner in the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic National Championship. Chuck Herbert made the ride for Deyne Munavalli. Reserve World’s Champion in the first ever ASR Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Park National Futurity this year, Macadamia is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Sass With Class, the Fine Harness Mare World’s Champion in 2003. He has a ton of charisma and style, making him the unanimous winner. Smith Lilly rode the Mercer Springs entry, Hollywood Is Nuts, to claim the Reserve National Championship. Staking his claim to a share of the UPHA Incentive Sale jackpot money, Hollywood Is Nuts is owned by Smith and Alexandra Lilly. Also by Nutcracker, this one is out of CH Hollywood Scandal, a Reserve World’s Champion as a junior walk-trot. Alexandra Lilly was excited about the big payday as she cheered from the in gate. The pretty bay Heir To The Prince was third with Zach Duffy aboard for Steven Lease. David Cater rode up for the white ribbon in fourth aboard Pretty Persuasion for Catie McCool.

It was a good time for the Heartland Hackney Farm in the UPHA Harness Pony Classic National Championship, as they produced the top two in this class, including one that they still own. The National Championship title went to Heartland Crimson Rose and Bob Phillips. An entry of Faydelle Schott, Crimson Rose is by Heartland Code Of Honor and out of Heartland Red Rose, by Dun-Haven Bandolier. The Reserve National Champion was Heartland Pretty Penny. Darrel Kolkman drove this one for Heartland Hackney Farm, headed up by Chris Gantley. Pretty Penny is by the great Heartland Equality and out of Heartland Summer Romance. The crowd gave Darrel and Pretty Penny a good salute as they exited the ring in reserve. JRP’s McBrass Lass was third here with Scott Seils driving for Vicki Whitmer and Shirley Parkinson. Shirley and Vicki present the Rhythm’s Spirit Trophy every year in this class to the winner. Rhythm’s Spirit was the first ever winner of this class with Shirley’s husband Rex at the lines. This pony that showed to third for them tonight is a great granddaughter of that grand pony, the original winner of this event.

The UPHA Senior Challenge Cup holds a place of honor as the United Professional Horsemen’s Association’s signature night draws closer to its climax. There were 12 returning for this final phase of competition tonight, vying for that National Championship, Saddle Seat Equitation’s second jewel of the Triple Crown. Honored in the Top Ten were Kailin Baechle aboard Harley Rally for Fairfield South, Brooke Boyer aboard He’s Heaven Sent for Kent Swalla, Nadine Van Zomeren with Heirronic for parents Mark and Renae Van Zomeren, Sydney Budzinski with Royal Tryst from Knollwood Farm, Alice Rowland and Linus Van Pelt for Ever Glades Farm, Macey Joan Miles and CH-EQ Coco Mojo for DeLovely, Juliette Dell and Imagine My Surprise from DeLovely, Caroline Moeller and He’s My Beau from DeLovely, Jessica Wuesthofen and CH-EQ Chanti’s Prayer from DeLovely, and Courtney McGinnis with CH-EQ Kiss Of The Zodiac also from DeLovely. Note that this list is in numerical order, as no detail is left unnoticed by Lillian Shively, making sure her riders have the highest numbers, allowing them to go towards the end of the order of go when workouts are called. The staff at the NHS Good Hands Event Finals actually made note of this and instituted a policy of rotating numerical order and reverse numerical order for their Phase One splits!

The highest two numbers were the top two numbers in this one, as Jessie’s journey to the finals continued with a second jewel in her crown. Jessica Wuesthofen leaned forward over her perfect mare’s neck in celebration, knocking her top hat askew for a moment. The Werry clan, along with Franz Wuesthofen and big sister Faye all cheered long and proud for their girl. The reigning World’s Champion of Champions and NHS Good Hands Event National Champion was spot on once again tonight, earning all three first place votes. Jessie’s precision and poise this year have put her over the top. Her equitation career began with her first trip into Freedom Hall, where she won the 7-and-Under Walk-and-Trot Equitation World’s Championship in 2003. It would be seven years later in 2010 when the campaigning truly began, the first of her Senior seasons. This year however, her final year as a juvenile, has been different. There has been added level of skill that can only come from a combination of that natural ability she already has with an incredible work ethic and effort.

Courtney McGinnis is waiting in the wings. Just a 15-year-old rider, Courtney has been right there every step of the way with Jessie. She has been one spot behind Jessie in every major Championship this year, from Midwest, to Lexington, Louisville, the NHS Good Hands, and now the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup. Jessie ages out this year. That spot will be vacant in 2014 and wide open for the taking. Courtney seems to be the morning line favorite heading into that next season. Her second Reserve National Championship of the season adds on to her Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title earned in Freedom Hall this year. She and CH-EQ Kiss Of The Zodiac have certainly made a formidable team. There are a lot of familial connections in our top two, what with the two big sisters having won Triple Crowns themselves, but there is another one to point out. These horses, two of the very best in the business, are related. They are both by Trust Fund, a nice feather in the cap of the son of Attache’s Liquid Asset and the great Stonewall’s Crimson And Clover.

The UPHA Roadster Pony Classic National Championship was a great one, with 10 entries scheduled to show. The winner about didn’t make it through the gate, as another entry had made a u-turn and was headed back the wrong direction, playing chicken with two entries still coming down the chute. One of these was eventual National Champion Born On The Bayou, completing that feat of winning a Classic for the second year in a row. This is pretty much limited to the pony Classics, as they welcome four-year-old entries as well. Born On The Bayou is famously by Sugarland, and you can see that imprint all over him. If you could see them go down the rail side by side, you would see the distinctly similar way of moving. They are both just spectacular to watch. Maureen Campbell guided this one to victory for Denise Steinhauer for the second straight year. Darrel Kolkman picked up a second Reserve National Championship on the night with Heartland Dr. Do Right. Just a three-year-old, Dr. Do Right was the Three-Year-Old Road Pony World’s Champion this year. Owned by the Heartland Hackney Farm, the good doctor is by Dun-Haven Crimson Glory and out of a Heartland Equality mare. Craycroft X-Otica and Andy Freseth finished third for Mary Gise, with Palisade’s Ladyhawke and Allie Wellington Nunley fourth for All-Well Farm.

The last class of the night was a big one for Wingswept Farm and Master Class. The first UPHA Classic National Champion for both of the aforementioned came in the night’s ultimate event, the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic National Championship. Chris Brannan made the winning ride here aboard Just Browsing. The Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Mare Reserve World’s Champion was consistently brilliant throughout the class to earn the top call. By Master Class, she is out of Window Shopping, hence the name Just Browsing. Window Shopping is by Memories Are Made Of This and out of a Will Shriver mare, the only cross of Will and the Broodmare Hall of Famer, Sweet Sachet. The cross of that grand mare and Callaway’s Blue Norther produced breeding stallions Callaway’s Guy Park and Callaway’s Cranston. Nuttin’ But Talk has nuttin’ but talent. The wild-going chestnut gelding was also a Reserve World’s Champion this year, earning his in a split of the Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding class. A year ago, he was a World’s Champion in a Two-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding split. Sired by Undulata’s Nutcracker, he is out of Intoxicating Conversation, long owned by Melody Adler. Many will remember the freight train of a gaited mare rocketing down the rail. Nuttin’ But Talk is owned by Ceil and Kenny Wheeler. Smith Lilly made the ride tonight as the Reserve National Champion. 

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