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UPHA/American Royal - Thursday Night

Classics night is always the one that everyone looks forward to during the week of the American Royal, as the future stars of the industry are out in full force to vie for the honor of Classic Grand Champion and the tens of thousands of dollars in added prize money. Tonight it was a group of eight events for horses and ponies wrapped around the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup National Finals.

First on this always exciting night was the UPHA Hackney Pleasure Driving Classic Grand Championship, where it was Majestic Oaks displaying their pony power, earning the top two spots. Both of these ponies were in different divisions the last time they showed on green shavings, but those were in Freedom Hall. The switch of divisions worked out splendidly, as Back In A Flash and Entitlement were top two. Shannon Ella was at the lines of the Champion, Back In A Flash, for Singing Hills Stables. A Harness Pony at Louisville, this son of The Chosen One qualified for this event at the North Carolina State Fair. He is out of My Ebony Rose, by Nightheir. Black with white socks, Back In A Flash was matched nicely by the well turned out Ella, who was lovely as always in a shimmering off-white coat. Three-Year-Old Road Pony World’s Champion a year ago and a road pony contender again this year in Freedom Hall, Entitlement was the Reserve Champion for Toni Nastali and owner Thomas Caisse. Holli Hayes headed up the winning entry, while Rich Campbell joined the reserve winner.

It was a battle of the mares in the UPHA Fine Harness Classic, with all three top three spots going out with the ladies. These top three all came with impressive resumes, with a Lexington winner, a Louisville winner, and a Midwest Charity winner all squaring off. The one that proved irresistible to the judges was Irresistible Design, with Lisa Strickland presenting for Saddlewood Farm Ltd. Jacques Marais and Glenn T. Werry joined for the winning presentation. By Designed, Irresistible Design is out of I’m Irresistible Too. That mare was herself a Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Mare World’s Champion with none other than Lisa Strickland at the lines for Dave and Bonnie Woods. This year’s World’s Champion from that division, My Gypsy Moon, was the Reserve Grand Champion here with new trainer Jared Ratzloff driving for new owner Donna Beck. They took over the direction of this phenomenal chestnut mare after her Louisville win with Liz Kinney. A daughter of Gypsy Santana, My Gypsy Moon is out of Heir Marked, by Supreme Heir. Lexington’s Three-Year-Old Fine Harness winner and the Mare Reserve World’s Champion, Kalarama’s New York Lady was a vision in black, leaving with A.J. Bruwer and the yellow ribbon for Three Gables LLC. By I’m A New Yorker, she gets her coloring from her dam’s side, Lady Whitney, by The New York Times. Her second dam is the grand walk-trot mare, CH Lady’s Favorite Event.

It was just a field of two in the UPHA Hackney Pony Classic, with Majestic Oaks taking their second Hackney Classic on the night. This time it was Heartland News Leader leaving with the top prize, as Elisabeth Goth was the unanimous winner, adding the blue, red and yellow streamers to her crimson velvet ensemble. Undefeated in six career trips to the ring, News Leader and Goth were twice winners in Freedom Hall, winning the Four-Year-Old qualifier and the Junior World’s Championship. A Three-Year-Old Reserve World’s Champion a year ago, Si Senor was Reserve Champion tonight with Gib Marcucci driving. By Regal’s Rascal LF, he is out of a Marked By Distinction mare.

Once the Top Ten was introduced in the UPHA Senior Challenge Cup National Championship, it was time to meet the Reserve National Champion. With a special thank you to her DeLovely family, Hunter Chancellor was the unanimous Reserve Champion. Chanti’s Prayer continued an outstanding career as an Equitation mount, adding this title to a strong string of wins. The 14-Year-Old World’s Champion went on to finish top three in the NHS Good Hands Event National Championship. Tonight, she made an impeccable performance to leave with the reserve tri-color. Reserve National Champion in this event a year ago and the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions this year, Nick Maupin added a second jewel to his Triple Crown attempt, winning a unanimous victory aboard Coco Mojo for Knollwood Farm and parents Grif and Melissa Maupin. As anyone who has filled out one of the Challenge Cup questionnaires would attest, sometimes it’s hard to come up with an answer. Nick’s answer for "Person you would most like to meet" was Faye Wuesthofen. She also happened to be the person he looked up and saw while trying to think of an answer to the question! He got his chance to "meet" one of his best friends in the winner’s circle, as last year’s winner, Faye Wuesthofen, was on hand to present the tri-color.

The golden pony has had the Midas touch all year long, though in this case every class she touches seems to turn to blue. Heartland Queen Of The Road won a second major title on the year, taking the UPHA Harness Pony Classic Grand Championship with Mike Hylton at the lines for Susan Olcott. The Junior Harness Pony World’s Champion of Champions, Queen Of The Road is by the great Heartland Head Of The Class and out of Heartland Just A Princess, by Dun-Haven Bandolier. The Reserve Champion in this event for the second year in a row, Twin Willow’s Daddy’s Girl made a strong show with Geof Dixon driving for Kathy Capsuto Walker. Daddy’s Girl was the Three-Year-Old World’s Champion just last season. She is by Twin Willow’s McMillan and out of a Vindicator mare.

Another undefeated winner of a UPHA Classic Grand Championship, Three Point Shooter survived a 19-horse class and a 10-horse workout to come away with a huge payday in the UPHA Park Pleasure Classic. Cashing a check for $8,700 with Andy Freseth making a stellar presentation for Thomas R. Brock Jr. Riding to the winner’s circle with a tip of the hat, Freseth made a fifth victory pass in as many trips to the ring with this stunning son of Undulata’s Nutcracker. The ASR National Park Pleasure Futurity World’s Champion was also the ASR Sweepstakes Champion at the All American Horse Classic. Every big money event possible, this magnificent chestnut gelding came through huge. And why wouldn’t he? His dam was simply a star, the great CH Kalarama’s New Sensation, one of the most lovely harness mares to grace the show ring and many times a World’s Champion. Also turning in a strong show, Melissa Moore earned Reserve Champion honors with Bi Mi’s Unforgettable Spirit for Curt Piotrowski. Sired by Bi Mi World Premier, this gelding is out of Harlem’s In The Spotlight, by Harlem Globetrotter. While Melissa earned the reserve tri-color, Melinda Moore rounded out the top three aboard Double Black Diamond. Owned by Joellen Fisher Blount, this black gelding was Reserve World’s Champion in the National Futurity. By Castle Bravo, he is out of Evangelique, the dam of celebrity World’s Champion Weanling We Must Be Nuts. This was a second Harlem Globetrotter mare to produce one of the top three in this class. A full brother to Tuesday night’s Missouri Breeder’s Challenge Weanling Stake Champion Caught Looking, About To Get Interesting earned fourth tonight for Susan Bekenstein.

Between the Park Pleasure and Three-Gaited Classics, two of the grand gentlemen of the Saddlebred world were inducted into the UPHA Hall of Fame. Tonight it was the tandem of Dr. Alan R. Raun and Lee Shipman who were honored. Scott Matton inducted the great Doc Raun, while Peter Fenton read the induction for Lee Shipman. These octogenarians are still going just as strong as ever, as Doc Raun has already shown here this week, and Lee Shipman was looking just as spry as ever as he sprinted out the out gate after the ceremony wearing his trademark cowboy hat.

Making an absolutely freaky performance, Work It was the winner of the UPHA Three-Gaited Classic Grand Championship with Ceil Wheeler making a rocked back and striking presentation for Kenny and Ceil Wheeler and Carriage Lane Farm. Sired by Castle Bravo and out of Titleist Imagination, Work It is a bay gelding with four white socks, accentuating his high-stepping park trot. It was a unanimous win that sent him out on a victory pass that looked like he was about ready to crawl out of his skin on the trip down victory lane. A Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Champion with John Conatser aboard, Work It was a standout performer here tonight. A Reserve World’s Champion in the division, Callaway’s Dancing In The Dark was the Reserve Champion here with Todd Graham once again doing the riding for Nichols Family Farm. By Nureyev, Dancing In The Dark is out of a rather rare commodity, a Callaway’s Born To Win mare, Callaway’s Born Blessed. Not only that, Born Blessed herself is out of the great Broodmare Hall of Famer, Callaway’s Zerelda. A popular pick in third, the curvy and talented It’s Just Jack rode to the yellow with Darrell Case for James Pizzetti and Sarah Freudenthal. A crowd pleaser in Freedom Hall, It’s Just Jack is by Undulata’s Nutcracker and out of Cholula, by Attache’s Thunderbolt. Caroline Brackenridge and Tammy DeVore rounded out the top four in this hotly contested class for Susan Hanna.

Junior Road Pony World’s Champion of Champions with Holli Hayes at the lines, Heartland Dressed To Impress now resides at Kalarama Farm as an entry of Hillcroft Farm. She still calls the winner’s circle her second home though, as Sam Stafford drove the daughter of Heartland Code Of Honor to the UPHA Road Pony Classic Grand Championship. She is out of Heartland Morning Star, by Dun-Haven Awesome Creation. This dynamic four-year-old was simply special tonight as she carried off the tri-color. Winner of this class a year ago as a three-year-old, A Dazzling Diva was up for the Reserve Championship tonight. Larry Bacon made the drive tonight, while Brad Bacon was at the lines a year ago for Larry and Barbara Bacon. Another four-year-old mare, Dazzling Diva is by Dun-Haven Celebrity and out of Image’s Ballerina, by Apollo’s Image.

Cavalia saved the grandest show of her young career for the grandest stage, winning the UPHA Five-Gaited Classic Grand Championship with Matt Shiflet aboard for Chris and Andrea Athanasuleas. A Blythewood product, this beautiful black mare is by CF First Night Out and out of the equally beautiful black mare, Viola Madden. Earning a paycheck of $6,760, Cavalia just kept getting bigger and brighter as the class progressed. Reserve Championship honors went to Melissa Moore, her second reserve win of the night, and Callaway’s Already Gone. The smiling Moore rode out with a second excellent payday, this one for Shawn Stachowski. By CH Caramac, this chestnut gelding is out of Callaway’s Cashflow, the dam of the World’s Champion Equitation mount, Soli Deo Glori. Cashflow is out of the grand Broodmare Hall of Famer, Lady Gambler, the dam of CH Callaway’s Born To Win. Third here was the property of Steve Wheeler, as he captained The Veldt Queen for Fox Grape Farms. By Dorian Wild Temper, this mare is out of The Royal Heir, by Supreme Heir. Her second dam is the Five-Gaited Mare World’s Champion, Royal Memories. A Three-Year-Old Five-Gaited Stallion/Gelding World’s Champion Kenny Dawson rounded out the top four for Lisa Rosenberger Jones and Frank Jones.

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