World Grand Champion in 1949
A mare, Midnight
Merry #461829, was declared winner of the Grand Championship Stake at
the 1949 Celebration. This broke a four-year string of wins by
the stallions Midnight Sun and Merry Go Boy, who had each been winners
for two consecutive years. Not only did the mares dominate the
1949 Celebration, Midnight Merry was winner of the championship event
while still a three year-old! She had the distinction of being
the first junior horse (three-year-old animals were the juniors in
those days) to win both the Junior and Senior Stake at the Celebration
on successive nights.
Midnight Merry was
the first Grand Champion of the Celebration to be sired by a former
World's Grand Champion. Her sire was Midnight Sun 410751 and her
dam was Merry Giovanni 421612, a daughter of Reynold's Pride 400228.
The sire of Reynolds Pride was old Merry Boy himself. He, of
course, being by Roan Allen F-38. The dam of Merry Giovanni was
Bonner's Lady Love 390863 by Giovanni's Allen 390104 by Giovanni
370291. The third dam of Midnight Merry was Bonner's Lady Allen
Midnight Merry was foaled on May 5, 1946. She was bred by Mrs.
H. Dawson Morgan of Cookeville, Tennessee. She was a handsome
roan mare with four stockings, a bald face, and with a mixed mane and
was trained and shown by Steve Hill of Beechgrove, Tennessee.
At the age of three, Midnight Merry had won seven championships
prior to Celebration time that year. She was an outstanding
winner of the event for three year-old mares in the preliminary
and decisively defeated all contenders in the stake event for
junior horses on Friday night. Her stamina was established
without question when she returned the following night to be tied
first in the Grand Championship Stake. The win in 1949 was
the first of many Celebration championships for rider Steve Hill.
Midnight Merry was winner of one-hundred and six straight blue
ribbons until the 1950 Grand Championship Stake at the Celebration
in which she tied reserve.
Championship Stake at the 1949 Celebration is still talked about by
those who were present, because the scene was set on that eventful
night for the tremendously exciting "head and head" workout between
the smooth going junior mare and the long striding, spectacular Old
Glory's Big Man. The workout was long and arduous with each of these
two top contenders seemingly getting stronger and better with each
succeeding trip around the huge Celebration ring. Finally, the
three judges working the stake declared Midnight Merry the Grand
Champion Walking Horse of the World for the 1949 season.
Midnight Merry was the first Grand Champion from the Steve Hill
Stables. She won a tremendous victory over Old Glory's Big Man
in the head and head workout.
J. N. McEachern of Atlanta, Georgia was owner of Midnight Merry during
the time she was a big winner at the Celebration. She was sold
to W. M. Duncan of Inverness, Mississippi on May 1, 1950, but she
continued her training and winning under the tutelage of Steve Hill
from his stables in Beechgrove, Tennessee.
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