AHT's January Leader Of The Times
Beloved Gracious Lady: On Top Of The World
by THERESA CARDAMONE
“20! 20! 20! 20! 20! 20!”
Beloved Gracious Lady’s scores for movement rang out across the tiers of VIP tables at the 2017 Arabian World Championships in Paris. Stacked to the rafters along the elegant show arena, the appreciative audience erupted with spontaneous applause at the stunning result. It was the first unanimous decision rendered by the international panel of six renowned judges for any horse, in any category on the scorecard, in any class to that point. In fact, a perusal of the judges’ cards shows only one other horse among all of the champions competing for World titles managed to score unanimous 20s in any category, that being Mozn Albidayer—the eventual Gold Champion Junior Mare—for Type.
Elegant, upright and stretchy; with balanced, correct conformation and refined Arabian type, Beloved Gracious Lady represents the finest in American breeding. Pat Dempsey was among the first breeders to use Bey Shah in their program many years ago. She stuck with a successful formula when she bred “Gracie,” by crossing her Bey Shah daughter, AP Sheez Sassy, with Bey Ambition, who is also out of a Bey Shah daughter. Gracie is a “blast from the past” with a contemporary style that brings great excitement whenever she is shown.
Gracie’s perfect score of 20s across the board made it the highest score for motion of any horse at the World Championships, and she was honored in a special presentation, receiving a trophy blanket and other embellishments. However, her fabulous trot was clearly not her only asset. Gracie also scored highly in the other categories, enabling her to win her section of Junior Mares over a strong field of 10 other international champions. It was a fantastic win, as the competition included the eventual Silver and Bronze World Champion and the reigning European Gold Champion Junior Mare. And Gracie wasn’t finished. On the Sunday of the finals, Beloved Gracious Lady was named the 2017 World Reserve Champion Junior Mare. She contributed an armload of awards to those earned by her stablemate, Om El Erodite, who won the World Bronze Champion Yearling Filly and Most Beautiful Head, Yearling titles.
To have her fillies, including a homebred, make such a splash on the Arabian world’s biggest stage was a marvelous achievement for Pat Dempsey and the Beloveds Farm program. According to George Zbyszewski, a member of the judging panel in Paris, it is hard to think of an American-owned filly or mare who has earned an award at the World Championships without previously campaigning on the European/Middle Eastern show circuit, perhaps none since U.S. National Champion Mare VP Kahlua did it in 1984.
Although Gracie had won the 2016 United States National Champion Yearling Filly title among her many American honors, her Paris appearance was Beloved Gracious Lady’s European debut. “If you go to European shows with American horses, they are really put under intense scrutiny,” says George Z. “That does not mean that the judges have bad assumptions, but they are looking at them really, really, carefully. Much more carefully than horses that are already in that circuit in Europe.” Nevertheless, Gracie left nothing to their imagination, demanding their attention. “The comment on Gracious Lady from all of the judges was, ‘What a phenomenal trot!’” George Z continued. “She was amazing with the trot—amazing!”
If there had been an award for Audience Favorite, it also would have gone to Gracie. Thanks to the miracle of live streaming, her debut was seen by Arabian enthusiasts all over the world. Pat was inundated with congratulatory messages and solicitations from people anxious to know what’s next for Beloved Gracious Lady. Pat Dempsey’s satisfied response says all there is to say, “Gracie has proven that she is the WORLD’S MOST BELOVED GRACIOUS LADY.”