Traverse City, Michigan, USA. – July 14, 2019 – The second week of the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, concluded Sunday with the second grand prix of the six-week series, the $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix of Michigan. As the fastest of only two double-clear combinations, Wilhelm Genn (GER) and Van Gogh emerged victorious to add a third grand prix victory of the 2019 GLEF series to Genn’s growing list of accolades.
Following the first round of competition, a select few pairs had mastered veteran course designer Leopoldo Palacios’ (VEN) track to qualify for a spot in the jump-off. Lauren Ditallo (USA), David Beisel (USA), David Oberkircher (USA), Ryan Genn (USA), Alma Bjorklund (SWE) and Wilhelm Genn (USA) each navigated their respective mounts to fault-free initial trips, whittling down the original field of 25 starters to only six.
Returning for the tie-breaker round, David Oberkircher and Southfields Farm LLC’s Upper were the first to lay down a foot-perfect second ride, tripping the timers 38.349 seconds with all the fences still intact to become the early frontrunners.
Wilhelm (GER) & Van Gogh
Subsequent pairs followed and attempted to match the leaders’ efforts, but none were able to finish clear until Wilhelm (GER) and Van Gogh, the horse he co-owns with Patty Genn, took to the ring as the final contenders. Slicing around the track, the quick duo efficiently completed the course penalty-free in 38.007 seconds to solidify themselves as the grand prix winners for the second week in a row.
David Oberkircher (USA) and Upper finished in second place overall as the second double-clear pair, while Ryan and Shannon Reid’s Dieta added another top placing for the Genn family with their third-place finish.
Wilhelm’s 2019 GLEF season is off to an amazingly successful start, having won three of the four grand prix contests throughout the first two weeks of the horse show. During Week I, Wilhelm piloted Van Gogh, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, to victory in the $50,000 GGT Footing Grand Prix, presented by JTWG, Inc. and 4G Surfaces, and only five days later topped the $30,000 Ingram Family Welcome Stake aboard Eduardo Leon’s Dirocco Blue.
New for 2019, the $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus will be awarded at the conclusion of the circuit in August. Points are calculated based on prize money earned throughout the six-week festival in Open Jumper classes 1.45m and above, and fans and athletes can follow along and check the $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus leaderboard, posted on http://www.greatlakesequestrianfestival.com, to track their favorite riders and see who is leading in the standings. With three major victories to his name, Wilhelm is the clear leader towards the final prize at the end of Week VI.
GLEF will return with another Equitation Tuesday on July 16. Week III (July 17-21) will also feature the first international competition of the circuit with a FEI CSI 2* rating, and will highlight the $35,700 Welcome Stake CSI 2* on Friday and the $50,000 North Face Farm Grand Prix CSI 2* on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Wilhelm (GER) & Van Gogh
Winner’s Circle: Wilhelm Genn – $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix of Michigan winner and $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus leader
On Van Gogh:
“I think he is at an age and in a stage where he is going to keep getting better and better. He has consistency in his performance, and he gets a little bit lazy but he tries so hard and he always makes me work hard too, but I don’t mind it when you have a horse that tries so hard. I’m excited to start jumping some 4* and 5* [classes] at the 1.60m level because I think he has the scope to do it.”
On his jump-off strategy:
“Of course, [my strategy was] to jump clean. I knew I didn’t have to press the time that much because the only rider that was clean at that time wasn’t that fast. I had to keep in mind Van Gogh is not a fast horse, so I tried to go just fast enough to beat the time yet stay clean. It was fun! The crowd makes it so much better, especially down by the bleachers and the cheering section, they were amazing.”
On leading the $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus:
“What can I say, good horses make you look good! I’ll show the two again for Week III, and then if I decide to stay or come back I’ll probably give them a week off and then just do the two 3* classes on the end. That’s what I’m thinking right now.”
Results – $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix of Michigan
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Wilhelm Genn (GER) & Van Gogh – 0 / 0 – 38.007
2. David Oberkircher (USA) & Upper – 0 / 0 – 38.3493
3. Ryan Michael Genn (USA) & Dieta – 0 / 4 – 35.573
4. David Beisel (USA) & Essince W – 0 / 4 – 37.801
5. Alma Bjorklund (SWE) & Loro Piana Ballyleck Royale – 0 / 8 – 36.557
6. Lauren Ditallo (USA) & Olivers Army – 0 / 20 – 48.944
7. Michael Burnett (USA) & Chagrand – 4 – 72.210
8. Chris Ewanouski (USA) & Binja – 4 – 73.254
9. KC Van Aarem (USA) & Las Vegas – 4 – 73.910
10. Theo Genn (USA) & Chaccomo 11 – 4 – 75.265
11. Briley Koerner (USA) & Dante – 4 – 75.830
12. Wilhelm Genn (GER) & Dirocco Blue – 4 – 76.245
Source: Press release from Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media group for GLEF – Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © GLEF / Andrew Ryback Photography