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EARIER: McCleans -- 8 titles -- lead Shelby’s world champions

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By Ryan Conley

Still basking in the glow of seeing eight more titles added to the Golden Creek Farm roster, Mary Gaylord McClean was asked if winning at the World Championship Horse Show ever gets old.

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“No, it just gets better,” she said.

McClean and her Golden Creek contingent led a strong showing by Shelby County farms and horsemen in the 7-day Kentucky State Fair show that ended Saturday night at the Freedom Hall-Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

Included in the Golden Creek harvest were two victories by McClean aboard Lynn Williams, who won the Ladies 5-Gaited Championship, and two from Beaulah Jean, who won her third consecutive Roadster Pony Worlds Grand Championship under the drive of McClean’s husband, trainer Jeff McClean.

“Lynn Williams, she came out of nowhere, she just got better and better since Shelbyville,” said Jeff McClean of Golden Creek’s 7-year-old mare trained by Rob Byers of Premier Stables, who won her class stake at the recent Shelbyville Horse Show. “She was tough to handle, and so she didn’t show her much the last three years. But she started doing great at Shelbyville and just kept on coming.”

Mary Gaylord McClean, who has fashioned 195 world championships under the Golden Creek banner since winning her first in 1978, seemingly was most proud of the effort of her prized show mare According to Lynn.

This 9-year-old mare failed in her fourth attempt to win the prestigious 5-Gaited World Grand Championship, finishing fourth in the event won by Courageous Lord and trainer Merrill Murray, but her owner said she went out with class.

“My goal was to have her look really good,” McLean said of her mare, who had two runner-ups and a third in previous attempts at the 5-Gaited World Grand Championship. “We wanted her to look good and have everyone remember her that way, and we did just that.”

McClean said According to Lynn will be retired from show competition but will make an appearance at the opening ceremonies of the upcoming World Equestrian Games in Lexington.

“I’m really excited,” McClean said of the invitation to appear at the world games. “It’s an honor.”

Karen Frickey and her Frickey Farms of Shelbyville won three titles, including the Hackney/Harness Pleasure Driving Championship with Catch Me If You Can.

“We knew that we had nice animals, but you never know how they are going to perform,” said Frickey, whose farm has won multiple world championships. “We were hopeful, but so was everyone else. When you go the world championships, everyone is working hard to get that blue ribbon.”

Catch Me If You Can is owned by Frickey’s niece, Lauren Mathewson of Carmel, Ind., who rode the 7-year-old gelding.

All of Frickey’s horses are trained by Denessa and Randy Harper, who exhibited the farm’s two other titlists: Major Impact, who won the 4-Year-Old Harness Pony class; and Spencer, who won the Harness Pony Stallion/Gelding Stake.

Among other local multiple winners were:

§       Trainer Redd Crabtree of Crabtree Farm in Simpsonville, who won the Junior Fine Harness Mare class with Madison Brown, and the 5-Gaited Stallion Stake with Callaway's Bluesman, who was also third in the 5-Gaited World Grand Championship.

§       Trainer Lionel Ferreira of Monnington Farm in Simpsonville, who twice rode Riverdreams LLC's Marc of Charm to wins, including the Junior 5-Gaited Championship.

§       Trainer/owner Mike Hylton of Ventura Farm in Shelbyville, who trains and co-owns I Shot The Sheriff, the winner of the 2-Year-Old Fine Harness Stallion/Gelding class, who was driven by Ventura assistant trainer Andre Van Schalkwyk; and trains and exhibited Heartland Queen Of The Road, the winner of the Junior Harness Pony Championship.

* Elizabeth Deknatel’s High Hickory Farm of Simpsonville, who won two titles with the farm-owned The Daily Lottery under the ride of Gabe Deknatel, including the Amateur 5-Gaited Championship. Gabe Deknatel also exhibited Heathermoor's Prince, who won the Amateur Gentlemen's 3-Gaited class for West Virginia owners Nikki Barone and Emily Druckman.

* Rob Byers and Premier Stables of Simpsonville, who in addition to training Golden Creek Farm's Lynn Williams, also trained Take It From The Top, who won the Adult 5-Gaited Show Pleasure class; and Treasure the Warmth, who, under the ride of Byers, won the Kentucky County Fair 5-Gaited Championship. 

Marilyn Macfarlane of Walnut Way Farm in Simpsonville was one of the five judges for the show.