Bill Lowry Triumphs in the $35,000 Jacksonville A to Z Grand Prix

Green Cove Springs, FL—FEB 3 2007—

Statistics say the accuracy of a polygraf ranges between 95 to 98 percent. Today’s $35,000 Jacksonville A-Z Grand Prix presented by Outback Steakhouse, which closes out Week III of competition, witnessed Polygraaf, ridden by classic horseman Bill Lowry, achieving a perfect 100 percent.

After a week of observation, course designer Allen Rheinheimer put all he learned about today’s starting field into a lengthy 14 obstacle-17 effort test with a time allowance of 90 tight seconds. “It was a long way around.” chuckled Bill about the first track, “I thought it was a nice course. Very appropriate for the field. I think Allen always does a great job.” A vast majority of the faults in round one occurred at the #3 oxer-which had the liverpool beneath, Lowry gave his take on why, “I think it’s kind of a blind turn. It’s early in the course, you come around the turn, you’re worrying about the time allowed and the horses aren’t seeing it until maybe a stride out.” No doubt Bill’s awareness and Polygraaf’s great scope helped them sail through safely. The pair finished clean in 89.211.

Bill, who’s Winsor Farm Sales, Inc. is based out of North Scituate, RI, piloted two rides in the class, held on Super Bowl Sunday in the covered Grand Prix arena of the Clay County Agricultural Center. The first being his 12 year-old Hessen gelding Rio Corde who ended the first track with 4 faults in 83.713. The second being Polygraaf. “He’s awesome.” Was the description first used of the partner he purchased at age 6, “He’s a hard horse to collect and put together. And it took awhile to get him together, but he’s turned out to be a superstar!”
Lowry and the coming 10-year-old Westphalian gelding that he owns and trains, bested six jump-off contenders with a second clear go in the 48 second seven-obstacle final round that challenged riders with a hairpin turn or two and a swift pace. The duo stopped both the timers and a few hearts in 38.705.

“I had to stuff one extra stride in there [8b fence],” began Bill in reference to the last half of the jump off course- the 8ab vertical to vertical rolling back to #9 vertical and flat out gallop to the last fence 10c, a big oxer. “He [Polygraaf] had to back up there and I was half contemplating cutting the gap there between the fence and the tree.” Lowry had watched Sharn Wordley accomplish this maneuver but with the unlucky outcome of having a rail down. “That’s the high risk of making that inside cut, between the possibility of them spooking at the liverpool or the tree right there, so I thought the odds were against us.” Instead Lowry put his faith in Polygraaf’s huge stride and scope. The gelding did not disappoint.

Hot on their hooves were last week’s Grand Prix winning rider Wilhelm Genn and Happy Z posting a first round clear of 85.252 followed by a pace setting clear second round time of 39.922. Also in pursuit of the win was top five placer for the past 3 Grand Prixes Sharn Wordley and two of his mounts, Mr. Flanagan and Epson Pierreville, after clear first rounds of 87.535 and 84.261 respectively. Mr. Flanagan would end the jump off with 4 faults in 39.665 seconds while Epson finished quicker at 39.572 but had the unfortunate rail on the inside turn. “I just went as fast as I could but tried to be careful. It just paid out.” Lowry said of his strategy. “It’s just hard to catch a Ferrari with a Hummer.” a laughing Bill referenced of the tight race between Polygraaf and Happy Z. “She’s quick, turns great, and wins a lot of classes. And Wilhelm rides great.” he complimented of the mare and rider, then added with a big chuckle, “I’m glad to canter ahead of her…I’ve been waiting three years!”

Bill Lowery winning $35,000 A-Z Grand Prix
Photo: © Flashpoint Photography

However, today’s Grand Prix is not the only competition going on among these three friends, all are in contention for the $10,000 rider bonus to be awarded at the end of the series to high point Grand Prix athlete. Lowry was 1 point ahead of Genn going into this event and Wordley a mere two points off his lead. “The whizzing match” as it’s been jokingly called, has had all three men egging one another on each week. When asked if he’s still having fun with Genn and Wordley, Lowry laughed hardily and replied, “Especially when I’m leading now..I’m having a blast!” Admitting that while yes, the rider bonus is in the back of his mind, “just trying to get both horses to do well in every class” Bill said is the bigger focus. His goal is consistency and of course the hope of a paycheck so he can keep going. Like many hard working horsemen, Lowry owns and shows all the horses, personal and sale horses. Their well-being and success rests entirely on his shoulders. “It’s hard sometimes, really hard.” Lowry explained, “This is not an easy or cheap business. You can have really good horses-like Polygraaf who I truly believe could jump anywhere in the world, but sometimes costs (entry fees, stalls, travel, and such) prevent you from reaching certain goals, so you make new ones.” Bill’s immediate goals include next week’s finale Grand Prix here in Green Cove Springs then most likely on to the Gulfport Winter Series.

Presenting awards this afternoon were President of the North Florida Hunter Jumper Association, Tony Weight, and board member Glen Becker. Official results for today’s event were, in second place owner-rider Wilhelm Genn and Happy Z finishing clear in 39.9222; third went to Mary Nicholson-Leffler aboard Gerona 92 for owner Rolling Acres also clear in a time of 43.073; fourth spot was Roberto Teran with Distant Star 3E for owner Kingridge Stables with 4 faults in 37.816, and the fifth position went to owner-rider Sharn Wordley on Epson Pierreville with 4 faults in 39.572. A portion of today’s proceeds will be donated to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

The Jacksonville Winter Series continues through February 10th with classes Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8AM until about 5PM. The Winter Series will conclude with the thrilling $25,000 Jacksonville Finale Grand Prix next Saturday at 7PM and the naming of the $10,000 Reynolds, Smith, & Hills High Point Grand Prix Rider, presented to the top rider, calculated by earned points, of the four-week series. Admission is free.

For more information or results on the 2008 Jacksonville Winter Series please visit www.classiccompany.com or call the show office at 904-284-9492.

 

 

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