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Easy as 1-2-3 Wilhelm Genn Wins Lucky Sevens Welcome Stake

GULFPORT, MS.—MAR 20, 2009—On a near perfect day of sunshine and warm temps on a field of lush grass owner-rider Wilhelm Genn made winning look so easy as he took his third consecutive Welcome Stakes victory partnered this time with “the little mare who can”, 11 year-old Happy Z at the third week Lucky Sevens Welcome Stakes presented by the Gulf Coast Classic Company.

Picking up the reins as course designer this week is Pierre Jolicoeur. After a day of sizing up the competition Jolicoeur created an inviting, but technical layout for the 25 horses coming to play on his field Thursday afternoon. The big spread of 12 obstacles included 2 sets of combinations and a particularly sharp bending turn coming off of fence 9B [the double vertical combo] into #10 a wide oxer. “I think this is Pierre’s best course yet. Tough and technical.” today’s winner said, “I’m Happy” he snickered. Surprisingly it was time faults that took out the vast majority of Thursday’s field. With a limit of 81 seconds to navigate through the 14 efforts only five managed to succeed. When asked for his opinion of the tight allowance Genn said, “I wonder if time becomes too much of an issue in first rounds sometimes. If you’re on track and the course designer’s rode the meters – and you’re not adding [strides] then you shouldn’t have any time faults. That’s the way I feel.”

It was Houston, TX resident Erin Bruhem, the 8th in the order, to score the first clear ride aboard her mount NLF Trans Atlantic in a time of 80.679. Genn followed with first ride Loredo who fell victim to the clock and finished with 3 time faults. This proved to be a learning round as his return with last week’s winner Chantal became the second to go clear as they stopped the clock at 80.981 seconds. Colorado’s Alex Granato and Vasco D Gamma landed clear of faults with a quick time of 77.609 and New Jersey’s own Amanda Flint had a clean hand with Texas Hold’Em in 79.915. And lastly Lebanon, Ohio’s favorite chestnut mare Happy Z piloted by Genn landed clean in 78.274. “Course rode well, rode pretty much how we walked it. It was definitely a course of you had to shave everything. It wasn’t that much of a bending line, but you had to always shave, shave, shave.” Genn commented of the first tracks.

The 48-second allowance would not be an issue for the curvy 7-fence jump off, “It was pretty straight forward. Just go around, do your thing, and hopefully everything comes out ok.” Genn said of the last run. Erin Bruhem set the pace with a second clean ride in 43.096, but Genn followed with Chantal, and handily took over the lead with a quicker 40.191. Alex Granato and Vasco entered the ring with sights set on Genn. “He’s a tough competitor.” Genn complimented the efforts of Granato who almost over took Chantal with a finish of 40.391. Last into the ring next was Genn and Happy Z who wasted no time in getting down to the business of besting her barn mate, ripping through the course no holds barred in an astounding 38.371 clean. When reminded this is his third Welcome victory in as many weeks Genn repeated, “I’m Happy!” It’s decidedly a happy series for Genn as he looks to Sunday afternoon and the goal of making it three consecutive grand prix wins.

Happy Z and Genn officially took top honors with a final clean time of 38.371. Genn finished second with Chantal in a clear round finish of 40.191. Following in 3rd place was Vasco D Gamma navigated by Alex Granato for owner Augustin Walch with a clean finish of 40.391 and in 4th place Amanda Flint on the Kathleen Kamine owned Texas Hold’Em finishing clear in 41.077. To complete the top five was owner-rider Erin Bruhem with NLF Trans Atlantic with a clear time of 43.096.

The Gulfport Winter Classic continues with more hunter/jumper and Grand Prix action through March15th. Admission is free and the public is invited to enjoy the exciting competition throughout the week along with another $25,000 Grand Prix this Sunday.



Photo: Wilhelm Genn and Happy Z ©Flashpoint Photography

*Photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release

 

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