Susan Dunne wins first major title

Susan Dunne

Susan Dunne on KG Imyahuckleberry. Forrest Photography.

Last year, Susan Dunne of Clinton, North Carolina, qualified for the finals of no fewer than five classes at the 6666 Ranch NCHA Eastern National Championships, pulling down checks in everything fromĀ  the $2,000 Limited Rider to the $35,000 Non-Pro.

In her first appearance this year, she got her first major championship in the $15,000 Amateur finals Friday evening at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. Riding KG Imyahuckleberry, she marked 222 for a three-point win over top qualifier Karen Cole on Bless This Deal.

The winner’s check for about $5,100 will take KG Imyahuckleberry over $46,000 in career earnings. The 7-year-0ld gelding is by Smooth As A Cat out of Miss Blue Wood, from the family of Miss Echo Wood, a $900,000 producer. KG Imyahuckleberry was bred by Kirkland Gruber.

Dunne was a $5,000 Novice Non-Pro finalist with KG Imyahuckleberry at last year’s Eastern Nationals, and also was an Amateur finalist at Tunica, the Cotton Stakes and the Southern Futurity on the gelding. She marked 215 on him in the $15,000 Amateur go-round this week at the Eastern Nationals, tying for the seventh highest score.

Reserve champion Karen Cole marked 219 to lead the go-round, and then duplicated that effort in the finals on Bless This Deal, an 8-year-old Blessed Twice gelding bred by Frank and Ora Diehl that has now passed $40,000 in earnings.

Arlan Kannas leads $2,000 Rider go-round

Arlan Kannas

Arlan Kannas on Dual Catolena

Arlan Kannas marked 220.5 on Dual Catolena to top the first round of the $2,000 Limited Rider class on Friday. The 6-year-old mare, bred by Tim Brewer, is owned by Judy Livingston of Eutaw, Alabama. Dual Catolena is by High Brow Cat out of DPS Lenas Lucinda, with more than a million dollars in earnings under her first two dams.

Twenty-six contestants marked 213 or better to advance to Sunday’s $2,000 Rider finals. Sunday will also see the finals of the Open, and both Youth classes.

The show continues in Jackson, Mississippi through March 16.