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Press Release


Theo Genn and Asirea Fortuna

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Beth Underhill and Theo Genn Ride to Top Ranks in Open Jumper Divisions

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-02

Traverse City, MI – July 2, 2015 – The Grand Prix ring is the stomping grounds of champions, as well as the beginning to many horses’ international careers. For Theo Genn, the Grand Prix Ring at the Flintfields Horse Park ushered in the start to a fantastic first week of competition at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. The Ohio-native captured the 1-2 finish during the $3,000 1.40m Open Jumpers, riding Asirea Fortuna and Castiel to the top placings, respectively.

Genn has been riding Asirea Fortuna, owned by Eduardo Leon of Houston, Texas, for four years, bringing her through the young horse ranks. Known for her quick foot speed, the grey mare has proven both her accuracy and speed on courses throughout the nation. The 10-year-old has a tendency to get a little wound up, however, and Genn made the decision to step her down a couple of levels to help improve her reliability. His plan worked well, leading the class from start to finish with the trailblazing time and clean effort posted in 39.872 seconds.

“The last couple of weeks, we stepped her back down just for rideability. She jumped almost every round clean,” Genn said. “She started great yesterday in the 1.35m and then today was her first 1.40m since the winter circuit. It was easy for her—she was confident, relaxed, careful and really smart. I didn’t want to push the speed today.”

Genn and Asirea Fortuna were the only two to clear Michel Vailancourt’s first round track. He brought the class full circle with Castiel, owned by Patty Genn, ranking second as the last horse and rider combination of the day. Although they incurred three time faults, Genn was all smiles as he picked up the top spots with his mounts.

“Castiel is unbelievable. I have a lot of really good horses, but that one is really special,” Genn explained. “He jumped his first jumps ever a little over a year ago. Everything is a joke to him. He is freaky careful but he has this innocent braveness about him. You could light a jump on fire and he would go up to it, at least the first time. I have high hopes for him, and we are aiming him towards the grand prix the third week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.”

David Beisel picked up both the third and fourth place finishes just behind Genn. If it was not for an unfortunate rail, Beisel and Call Me Hannes, owned by Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC, may have caught Genn in the jump-off.

“Since I didn’t push the speed, I thought David would get me. He always gets me,” Genn laughed.

“Michel is the best. You always know what you are going to get. He is always fair, but he never gives it to you. I have ridden so many courses that he has built, and I have to say that he is my favorite. He always builds to the right height, he doesn’t try to trap the young horses and he asks questions of the riders.”

Only three horse and rider combinations were able to clear the $1,500 1.35m Open Jumpers, but it was Beth Underhill (CAN) and her own Count Me In who took the win as the fastest of the field. Michael Morrissey and Torino Q, owned by Rae Martin of Wellington, Florida, were the first to clear the course, immediately moving into the jump-off. Their time of 34.927 seconds set the pace for the remainder of the competitors, and it seemed as though he had the win, until the end. Ryan Genn and Zenith B, owned by father Wilhelm Genn, fell behind Morrissey with a double-clean effort in 40.627 seconds.

Underhill swept in as the last to go, breaking the beam in 34.139 seconds. She has only been riding him for about a year and a half, yet he has continued to impress.

“He only recently came to the sport, and he has very little mileage,” Underhill said of Count Me In, “At this point in his career, to be jumping as confidently and explosively as he is, is really exciting. I am really excited about him, and I feel as though he can be a great horse for the future.”

Underhill continued, “I think he has the potential to be an international horse, but you never know until you get there. The feel is spectacular from a rider’s perspective. It’s a hard combination to find—the desire to be that careful all the time and be that brave.”

Underhill already has the 2016-edition of the Great Lakes Festival on her calendar.

“I love it. I think that they have been so welcoming. They are open to ideas and they really want to provide a positive experience. I brought some new customers, and they are really enjoying the city. It is a breath of fresh air, and it allows for us to feel as though we aren’t just working. It is an opportunity to enjoy the show and the city with old friends and new friends. It is one of my favorite spots and I will be back next year, for sure,” Underhill concluded.

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival will continue to welcome riders and thrill spectators over the next four weeks of competition. Feature events for this week include the $25,000 Antares Welcome Stake tomorrow afternoon, as well as the $50,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City on Sunday, July 5.

For more information or to view schedules, please visit or


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