Wilhelm Genn & Van Gogh Close Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week I with $50K GGT Footing Grand Prix Win

The first week of the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, concluded Sunday with its finale event and the first grand prix class of the six-week circuit, where a field of competitive exhibitors rode for a chance at the top prize in the $50,000 GGT Footing Grand Prix, presented by JTWG, Inc. and 4G Surfaces. Proving to be the best of the day, Wilhelm Genn of Rheinland Farm in Warren, Ohio, and Van Gogh came out on top, marking the second GLEF Week I grand prix victory for Genn. One year ago, Genn was also victorious in the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix, presented by East Wind Farms, aboard Bugatti to commence the 2018 series.

Wilhelm Genn and Van Gogh. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

For the first round track, course designer Keith Bollotte offered exhibitors a technical pattern, with only four pairs out of the original list of starters managing to keep all of the rails in the cups within the time-allowed. Second to take to the ring, Theo Genn and Bridlebourne Stables LLC’s Chaccomo 11 logged the first clear effort of the afternoon, followed immediately by Shane Sweetnam and Gerko, owned by Seabrook LLC, to force a jump-off. As the class progressed, Sweetnam qualified a second mount, Seabrook LLC’s Bijzonder, for the tiebreaking round, and another Genn added his name to the list, this time in the form of Wilhelm and Van Gogh, owned by Wilhelm and Patty Genn.

Returning for the jump-off, two of the four horse-and-rider partnerships successfully tripped the timers fault-free, with Theo and Chaccomo 11 serving as the early pathfinders in 40.923 seconds. The younger Genn was soon overtaken by his father with the ride on Van Gogh, breaking the beam in a blazing 35.648 seconds. Sweetnam laid down valiant efforts with his two mounts but was ultimately unable to catch Wilhelm and Van Gogh, solidifying them as the champions of the $50,000 GGT Footing Grand Prix, presented by JTWG, Inc. and 4G Surfaces.

“Van Gogh is 11 years old this year,” Wilhelm shared. “We bought him as a 5-year-old coming 6. We saw a lot of talent in him as a young horse, and Theo [Genn] rode him and developed him very properly. We gave him a lot of time because he was a little bit slow. As a big horse he was a little sluggish, but we saw the talent. We gave him the time and Theo did great with him. I needed a good second horse so Theo was nice and said, ‘Dad, you should ride him.’ I took over the ride about a year and a half ago, but he did all the developing.”

Wilhelm Genn and Van Gogh. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

In 2018, the combination finished in fifth place during the series’ Week I grand prix and returned one year later to improve upon their performance to take home the 2019 title during the opening week of the festival. It was a good day for the Genn family, as Theo and Chaccomo 11 captured second place, with Sweetnam and Bijzonder rounding out the podium spots.

$50,000 GGT Footing Grand Prix, presented by JTWG, Inc. and 4G Surfaces:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Van Gogh / Wilhelm Genn / Wilhelm & Patty Genn / 0 / 0 / 35.648
2. Chaccomo 11 / Theo Genn / Bridlebourne Stables LLC / 0 / 0 / 40.923
3. Bijzonder / Shane Sweetnam / Seabrook LLC / 0 / 4 / 34.542
4. Gerko / Shane Sweetnam / Seabrook LLC / 0 / 4 / 40.182
5. Quadros 3 / Ashley Fleischhacker / Ashland Show Stables LLC / 2 / 83.398
6. Binja / Chris Ewanouski / Castle Point Farm LLC / 4 / 75.383
7. Dieta / Ryan Michael Genn / Shannon Reid/ 4 / 79.027
8. Loro Piana Ballyleck Royale / Alma Bjorklund / Alma Bjorklund / 4 / 79.342
9. Ziezo / Scott Lenkart / Fleur De Lis Farms / 4 / 79.979
10. Win For Life / Spencer Brittan / Spencer Brittan / 4 / 81.287
11. Essince W / David Beisel / David Beisel / 8 / 78.742
12. Quality On Top / Erin Haas / North Face Farm / 12 / 78.011