Wayne, IL - June 6, 2009 - It was another great victory for Happy Z, an 11-year-old Zangerscheide mare, and rider Wilhelm Genn of Lebanon, OH, at the $30,000 Showplace Productions Grand Prix. The pair have been on a hot streak this year, having won eight grand prix events prior to today. The game chestnut was fastest in a four-horse jump-off to beat Maggie Jayne on Thomas Edison and Genn on his first horse, Chantal. Lisa Goldman and Fontaine finished fourth.
Dave Ballard of Canada set a challenging track for the 31 competitors in today's class, the highlight event of the week at the Showplace Spring Spectacular, which runs through June 14 at the Lamplight Equestrian Center.. It included a tall wall and a challenging triple combination that caught many riders. There were only four clear rounds, but there were 12 four-faulters. The fastest four-faulter was Lauren Tisbo on Tequestrian Farms' Sansierra, who received fifth place.
"I thought it was a very good course," Genn said. "He had the difficult part just in the middle section (of the course). It was easy to start and easy to end. I was surprised there were only four clean, but I didn't think there would be a lot clean either, maybe eight or nine."
In the jump-off, Genn was first to return on Chantal. They had a solid ride going until the sixth jump, when they had trouble leaving the ground and pulled the top rail of the vertical. Genn made the outside turn back to the wall jump, and finished the course in 36.232 seconds.
Genn explained of his ride, "Chantal could not get a hold of the footing. I'm surprised because he usually slips less without studs than Happy does with studs. He puts his toes into the ground. For whatever reason, today he couldn't. We had quite big studs in. I had to hold him off a little bit. He was good though, I'm very happy with him."
Maggie Jayne of Elgin, IL, was next in on Thomas Edison. They were quick through the turns and made the inside rollback from the Nutrena vertical to the wall easily. They finished clear and crossed the timers in 35.256 seconds.
Next in was Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, IL, who would try and lower the winning time on Fontaine. They had trouble at the wall, where they just pulled the top block off. Racing to the last jump, it was not quite enough. A refusal there added time faults, and they finished with eight jumping and two time faults in 51.444 seconds.
It was all up to Genn and Happy Z (above), but they have been in this position many times before. Genn kept an efficient pace and made quick turns throughout the jump-off. The little mare had no trouble with the jumps and when she crossed the finish line, the scoreboard flashed a winning time of 34.417 seconds.
This marks Happy Z's 32nd career grand prix victory, an amazing number for any horse, much less one that shows at a top level. Genn smiled and said, "I've never had a horse like her before."
Going into the jump-off with Happy, Genn had seen Jayne do the inside turns and stuck to his original plan of doing the inside track with Happy Z. "Chantal just has a little bit of a spook, and if he couldn't get a hold of the footing, I wasn't going to try it. He's a very careful horse, a very cautious horse, and so easy to scare. But with Happy, I knew all along that I was going to do the inside turns," he explained. "She loves those turns, and she jumps even better coming out of short turns like that. I watched Maggie and saw she took them, but even taking the inside turns, she was only one second faster than Chantal. I knew I didn't have to go; I knew if I got a good start, I could allow myself to slow down somewhere because you never know what happens, and as long as I'm on the rest, I should be right there."
Genn was right there and his wins today and on Thursday vault him to the top of the leaderboard in the Showplace Leading Rider Series, which awards $30,000 to the top three open jumper riders through the series.
Earlier in the day, jumper riders competed in four different classics. The winner of the $1,500 Marshall & Sterling Children's Jumper Classic sponsored by Weathertech.com was Rebound and Barbara Ruziska. Katie Smith and Thursday were victorious in the $1,500 Marshall & Sterling Adult Jumper Classic, also sponsored by Weathertech.com. In the $2,500 Low Children's Jumper Classic, it was Sadie Hawkins ridden by Sarah Goldberg, and Megan Alt with Dream Machine won the $2,500 Low Adult Jumper Classic.
Jumper action for the first week of the Showplace Spring Spectacular concludes tomorrow with the $5,000 NAL Children's Jumper Classic, the $5,000 NAL Adult Jumper Classic sponsored by Bill Kay Auto, the $7,500 Low Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic sponsored by Hinsdale Nurseries, and the $10,000 High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic sponsored by Blue Gate Farm.
The second week of the Showplace Spring Spectacular runs from June 9-14.
For further information on Showplace Productions and the Showplace Spring Spectacular, please visit http://www.showplaceproductions.com
Final Results: $30,000 Showplace Productions Grand Prix
1. Happy Z, Wilhelm Genn, Wilhelm and Patty Genn: 0/0/34.417
2. Thomas Edison, Maggie Jayne, Alex Jayne and Ira Schulman: 0/0/35.256
3. Chantal, Wilhelm Genn, Laura Ryan-Barnaclo: 0/4/36.232
4. Fontaine, Lisa Goldman, Lisa Goldman: 0/10/51.444
5. Sansierra, Lauren Tisbo, Tequestrian Farms: 4/75.464
6. YB Blue, Nick Novak, Nick Novak: 4/77.543
7. 747, Chuck Waters, Chuck Waters: 4/77.722
8. Par Avion, Chuck Waters, Chuck Waters: 4/78.085
9. Storm, Kyle King, Susan Anderson: 4/79.681
10. Centurion B, Lisa Goldman, Lisa Goldman: 4/79.797
11. Pilot, Amelia McArdle, Amelia McArdle: 4/79.823
12. Carlotta, Kelsey Thatcher, Pony Lane Farm: 4/80.454
Photo Credit: Wilhelm Genn and Happy Z won the $30,000 Showplace Productions Grand Prix. Photo © Jennifer Wood/PMG and Jon Kassel. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/happy-z-wilhelm-genn-grand-prix-06-09.html">Happy Z and Wilhelm Genn Get Ninth Grand Prix Victory of the Year</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com