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Lester H Burns retires at Kentucky Celebration



(Editor’s Note: The following speech was read at the recent Kentucky Celebration during the retirement ceremony of WGC Lester H Burns, owned by Martin Cox.)

Lester H Burns is by World Grand Champion Ted Williams and out of a direct daughter of The Pusher CG, Push Along Cassidy, a world grand champion producing mare of the Rick Atnip breeding program of Smithville, Tennessee.

He was started under saddle by Eric Yokley, where he caught the watchful eye of hall of fame trainer, Mr. Joe Cotton and was placed in training as an upcoming Two-Year-Old for Keith and Lorraine Rosbury of Shelbyville, Tennessee. Joe made the comment at first glance he could tell this handsome liver chestnut stallion was destined for world grand champion ways.

As a Two, Three, and Four-Year-Old he won numerous prestigious championships throughout the south. With wins at Shelbyville, Chestnut Hill, Pikeville, & Lawrenceburg, Tennessee and Laurel, Mississippi & the Mississippi State Charity to name a few.

After a short break, master horseman Chad Adams of Goldsboro, North Carolina resurrected this fine stallion back to his original form.

In the spring of 2014, he was purchased by Martin Cox of Cottonwood Farms in Corbin, Kentucky.

Lester’s new career began as the Open Specialty Champion at the Lincoln County horseshow in Stanford, Kentucky with Ryan Blackburn in the saddle.

On August 26th, 2014 Lester & Ryan were unanimously crowned World Champion Young Trainers on Walking Stallions, and returned a few nights later where the team was again unanimously crowned a World Grand Champion in the Trainers Ride for the Roses championship, carrying Blackburn to his first set of roses.

In 2015, the duo did a repeat, claiming the Young Trainers on Walking Stallions World Championship unanimously and stepped on up to the Open Specialty World Grand Championship class to claim their second set of roses.

In 2016, Lester and Ryan were named Reserve World Champions in the Open Stallions 5 Years & Over.

In 2017, Blackburn directed the world grand champion to the Open Walking Championship title at the Kentucky Celebration.

Early summer of this year, Ryan Blackburn handed the reins over to his owner, Martin Cox. Cox made his first show ring appearance aboard the champion a blue ribbon one on July 21st at the Laurel Optimist horse show in London, Kentucky.

 They again entered the ring the first week of August in Olive Hill, Kentucky claiming another win. On August 26th the team walked down the ramp to the cheers and applause of friends and fans as they made their first Celebration appearance together in the Owner Amateur Stallions class. They earned the title of reserve world champions and a short 5 days later when the number 1112 was called out to ride under the spotlight to claim Cox’s first set of roses and title of Owner-Amateur World Grand Champion.

After 3 World Grand Championships for Lester, Cox made the decision that the proven champion deserved to be retired and will stand at stud starting in the fall at Spencer Benedict Stables in Glasgow, Kentucky.

Martin, Lester H Burns and everyone at Cottonwood Farms sends a sincere thank you to everyone from start to finish who influenced the career of this very special horse. To our fans, you are the best, to our past, you won’t be forgotten and to our future, you are appreciated.

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