Happy Z Takes 59th Grand Prix Win at Pin Oak
RELEASE: March 21, 2014
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Pin Oak Communications
- At age 16, when many show jumpers are slowing down, Happy Z is as speedy as ever. And, once again, she left the field in her dust while clinching the blue ribbon in the $25,000 Moet Hennessy Grand Prix, her 59th grand prix victory with owner/rider Wilhelm Genn.
When announcer Brian Lookabill was on his way to Texas, Happy snuck in two more wins, so Genn made a point to correct Happy’s grand prix record, which was announced as 56 wins.
“I don’t think he knew about the two wins in a row she just had in Gulfport [Mississippi],” said Genn with a smile. “I gave her last week off because I knew we would have two grand prix classes here each week. And so it worked out.”
When the Lebanon, Ohio-based rider and Happy returned last of the eight contenders in the jump-off, the pressure was off his shoulders. He was already guaranteed the win as a rider because he held the lead aboard yesterday’s Welcome Stake winner Welcome Cor, owned by Ann Anastasio. He also placed fourth aboard Eduardo Leon’s Bugatti for a total payout of $15,000.
“I’m so proud of Welcome Cor. She’s young and gave me a huge effort in the Welcome Stake so I expected her to be a little bit more tired, and she was jumping tired, but she still tried really hard,” he said. “I got a little lucky in the first round. We all need that! But she was fantastic in the jump-off, just amazing.”
Alan Wade’s jump-off course featured a long run to the final oxer, placed strategically in front of the Sponsor Club for an exciting finish for competitors and spectators alike.
While jump-offs are rather routine for Happy these days, Genn admitted she can still have a rail, so her 59th victory wasn’t a given. Happy didn’t let her fans down and jumped clear in 38.51 seconds, edging stablemate Welcome Cor with a time of 38.69. Lochinvar and Matt Cyphert placed third with a clear round in 41.10 seconds.
“The only place I thought I might have lost it was the Valobra jump, because with Happy I needed to do the six strides to that fence,” he said. “The six was long, and she’s short-strided, so I had to take her back there. I did the five strides with the two others. But she’s quick everywhere else, so I knew I could do the six there and still be faster and she was.”
When asked about his plans for Saturday night’s $30,000 Hildebrand Fund Grand Prix, Genn thought for just a moment and smiled. “Right now I think I would have to ride those three again, right? I have a couple more coming along. It’s already a fantastic group, and by summer I’ll add two more to it. I’m very excited.”