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Easter Cloud was the first! Saturday night in Louisville, Kentucky and the last class of the show - the World's Grand Championship Five Gaited Class ! A standing, roaring audience pays tribute to the world's best Saddlebreds. So many memories for so many of us. So many victories and defeats - the sweet, the bitter, the bittersweet and almost 100 yrs of history. But there had to be a first to ever win this title and just in case you weren't there that year, or you weren't paying attention in 1917 , that 15.3 brilliant dark chestnut, the solid colored one with only a white star, and beautiful gaits, his name was
This first World Champion was born in 1909. He traced directly to foundation blood on his sire's side ( McDonald Chief by Rex McDonald and back to Denmark FS ) and was out of a mare that went back strongly to the Chiefs and the Morgans
(dam's sire Red Cloud; 2nd dam by Simms' Clark Chief). It is no surprise he was a grand show horse and went on himself to sire many winners.
Easter Cloud had a wealth of good blood.
He was bred and foaled in Kentucky and had several noted owners, being owned last and the longest by Rancho San Dieguite in California. Most of his great show years were during his years at Longview Farm however, and it was under Longview's manager John T. Hook that he won the big title at the Kentucky State Fair.
Only three years prior to this the Ky. State Fair show had boasted the richest purse in the nation, but in 1917 the value jumped to Ten Thousand Dollars for the first time and the event was named the Five Gaited World's Grand Championship.
Easter Cloud had been shown at Louisville before of course and even that year, in 1917, he was beaten by Richlieu King in the stallion division, but come Saturday night he made show horse history with a sensational performance. He exhibited both great speed and perfection in all gaits which action, animation and brilliance that made him instantly the most talked about horse of his time.
Winning the class that earned him the World Champion title, he defeated the great Richlieu King, Cascade, Maydan, Admiral Chief, Maurine Fisher, La France, Fashion Plate and Johnny Jones. He continued his winning for a years and won many $1,000 championships and over 50 stakes and championships and numerous blues.
Easter Cloud was a horse of much substance, although "fine", and possessed an exceptionally good disposition.
He transmitted many of his characteristics to his progeny and sired many winners, helping to expand and promote
his breed into the future. He lived in Racho Santa Fe, above San Diego , the king of Rancho San Dieguite and at
19 years of age , free in his paddock, still treated visitors to an exhibition of what a World Grand Champion Five Gaited show horse looked and acted like.
And the $10,000 stake and World Grand Championships continue to draw the greatest Saddlebreds in the world along
with horsemen and horse lovers to compete, to watch , to witness, and to applaud the magic, year after year.
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