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UPHA/American Royal - Thursday Night

Thursday night always puts the UPHA in the UPHA/American Royal National Championship. It is the night of the UPHA Classics as well as one of the Equitation Triple Crown jewels, the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup National Finals. The Challenge Cup has always focused on showmanship and horsemanship, putting 60% of its emphasis on the railwork, with 40% on patterns. Whereas in the USEF Medal, two patterns are performed, only one is called for in the Challenge Cup Finals. It is a wide open, go for broke event, and tonight was no exception. While all of the UPHA events from tonight’s schedule will be covered in depth by the Saddle Horse Report staff, here is a recap of the highlights of the night.

After initial railwork and patterns this morning, the Top 10 riders came back for Phase II of the UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals. It was a Wisconsin sweep of the top two, as the World’s Champion of Champions and NHS Good Hands Event National Champion, Faye Wuesthofen, took this second jewel of the Triple Crown. Riding Kiss Of The Zodiac under the direction of DeLovely Farm, Faye put on her usual stellar display of poise and ability to take the National Championship. Nick Maupin rode Coco Mojo to the Reserve National Championship for Scott and Carol Matton. The lone boy rider in these Senior Finals, Nick showcased his athletic talent in powering around the ring. He was ecstatic about what he described as his "almost win," finishing second to his good friend Faye.

The first of the four rather light Hackney Pony Classics started off the night, as Heartland She’s All That took the blue and the top dollar finish with Linda Fischer driving for Dr. Chip Pugh and Maureen and Rich Campbell. Qualifying with wins at the Kentucky Fall Classic and Alabama Charity, She’s All That is by Heartland Code Of Honor and out of a Dun-Haven Bandolier mare. Stephany Monteleone drove her Junior Hackney Pleasure Driving Reserve World’s Champion to a Reserve National Championship here, as Romeo’s Exclamation Mark LF was second under the direction of Abel Vega. By Romeo LF, Exclamation Mark is out of a Mark Of Excellence mare.

The UPHA Fine Harness Classic National Champion won by a unanimous choice of the judges, and really, could there be a horse more bred to be a harness horse? A Magical Melody is by Sir William Robert, himself a phenomenally gifted horse with two World’s Championships under his belt. Her dam is none other than CH The Homecoming Queen, a 10-time Freedom Hall winner, owned for the last four years by Silver Brook Stables. The gifts of both sire and dam were on display, as Debbie Foley guided her to the National title for Silver Brook Stables. A winner at these same show grounds in May at UPHA Chapter 5, Absolutely On Fire was the Reserve National Champion with Mike Benn driving for James Orr. By Capitol Fire, a stallion now owned by James Orr and the sire of Harley Rally, Absolutely On Fire is out of Absolut Citron, a daughter of CH Heir To Champagne.

The qualifier finish was repeated in the Championship here in the Missouri-Kansas Tom Bass Memorial Five-Gaited Stake. El Matrero and Kelly Hulse took home the tri-color for Scott Pisarik. Zach Duffy showed this horse as a three-year-old in 2006, his first year in the show ring, and Zach figured into the placings as the Reserve Champion here aboard Noble’s Ace Of Hearts. By Noble Viking and out of Breezy Heartbeat, Ace Of Hearts is owned by Tracy and Bob Feller.

Another two-pony classic featured the cobtails, as Heartland Rough And Ready was crowned the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic National Champion with Maureen Lydon Campbell driving for Toni Nastali. Undefeated in his four trips to the ring, Rough And Ready was the Four-Year-Old World’s Champion and the Junior World’s Champion of Champions. By Heartland Victory, he is out of a Dun-Haven Bandolier mare. Last year’s Reserve National Champion repeated that placing this year, as Lovie Smith and Gib Marcucci put on a solid performance for Muffy Ernster. Lovie Smith is by Nabucco and out of Swinging On A Star.

After the UPHA Challenge Cup Finals, a three-entry UPHA Harness Pony Classic came to Kemper Arena. Stephany Monteleone returned to the show ring with her Four-Year-Old Harness Pony Reserve World’s Champion to take this National title. Shown to this very same win a year ago as a three-year-old by Abel Vega, Regal’s Norma Jean LF entered a very select group of ponies to win the Classic National Championship two years in a row. Abel also drove Norma Jean to the Three-Year-Old World’s Championship in 2008. This year’s Three-Year-Old World’s Champion set herself up as the favorite going into next year, as Twin Willow’s Daddy’s Girl earned the Reserve National Championship with Kathy Capsuto Walker. Daddy’s Girl is by Twin Willow’s McMillan and out of a Vindicator mare.

From a field of 15, the big, black Mahvalous Knight was the choice of the judges as the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic National Champion. A Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Champion in his only trip out last year, he won the Classics at Blue Ridge, Southeastern, and Alabama Charity on his way to this National crown. Mike Barlow has been in the saddle of this son of Harlem Globetrotter all year long for Barbara Matthews. His dam is the fantastic producer, Mahvalous Day, another of the great Sultan’s Great Day mares that have been producing so well. She is also the dam of CH Mahvalous Asset, CH Callaway’s Halley’s Comet, and CH The Last Straw. A winner of over $33,000 so far this year, Guy From Vegas and Kristen Bagdasarian have been near the top of seemingly all the big money classes this year for Kathleen Bagdasarian. By Callaway’s Guy Park and out of a Callaway’s The Gipper mare, Guy From Vegas was second in the National Futurity and third in the All American Three-Year-Old Cup. They were Reserve National Champions, also receiving a first-place vote.

A brilliant chestnut filly, Re-Energized did that and more to the Thursday night crowd, as she and Virgil Helm park-trotted down victory lane for Virgil and Sandra Helm as the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic National Champions. Qualifying with her only other trip to the ring, a win at St. Louis, she is by Desert’s Supreme Memories and out of a half-sister to CH Callaway’s Weatherman, Callaway’s First Glance, by CH Caramac. With hair by Janet Sterba and makeup by the fine ladies at Hall’s department store on the Plaza, Ceil Wheeler made a stunning picture aboard Prom Dress to earn the Reserve National Championship. A Reserve World’s Champion earlier this year, Prom Dress is by Harlem Globetrotter and out of a Genius Bourbon Prince mare. Four times a winner already this year, Sir Robin Hood was third here with Zach Duffy riding for Middendorf Farms. By Sir William Robert, he is out of Callaway’s Maid Marian, by CH Will Shriver.

A timeout was called in the UPHA Road Pony Classic to adjust a harness about 10-15 seconds after Pete Fenton called for them to go at speed. While under timeout, the ponies were called to the lineup, significantly limiting the time that they spent showing at speed. Brad Bacon had the winning drive in this one, as A Dazzling Diva picked up the National Championship for Larry and Barbara Bacon. They were Three-Year-Old Road Pony Reserve World’s Champions earlier this year. Dazzling Diva is by Dun-Haven Celebrity and out of Image’s Ballerina. Junior winner at Midwest Charity, Twin Willow’s Logan S was reserve with Kathy Capsuto Walker. Logan S is by Twin Willow’s McMillan and out of a Vindicator mare.

With a tight pack at the top of the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic National Championship, the judges sent five horses back to the rail. Back to the rail went The Nashville Predator and Todd Miles, Treasures In The Park and Todd Graham, The Inside Story and Debbie Foley, Nuttin’ Doing with Neil Visser, and Undulata’s Christmas In The City with Jim Lowry. With a move that might have just sealed the deal, Miles held back at the far end before making a phenomenal last pass into the lineup with The Nashville Predator. Tyler Miles ran in for the round of honor wearing his Nashville Predator hockey paraphernalia to head up his dad and the DeLovely Farm entry. Nashville Predator was a Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited World’s Champion this year. A horse that Todd Graham really sees a lot of promise in, Treasures In The Park was the Reserve National Champion for Melvin Blankenship. Another young star by Callaway’s Guy Park, Treasures In The Park is a dark bay colt out of a Rare Treasure mare. Third in the class was a crowd pleaser, The Inside Story. Flying around the ring with Debbie Foley, this young stud put on a great show for Silver Brook Stables. The ASR Three-Year-Old Sweepstakes winner is by Callaway’s Blue Norther and out of That’s My Story. Nuttin’ Doing and Neil Visser also got a nice crowd response in fourth with Neil Visser up for Elisabeth Goth LLC, while Undulata’s Christmas In The City and Jim Lowry were fifth for Kathy Scherer.

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