The heat was on at the Bay Area Festival (June 24-28) when seven horses and riders returned for the jump off for the Bayfest Grand Prix. Course Designer John Manning gave the riders the opportunity to show how fast they could gallop, how well they could turn, and how brave they were. The crowd was treated to quite a show as each rider rose to the occasion. Guy Thomas, who is thrilled to have Peterbilt (Peterbilt LLC, owner) back in the show ring, left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he and the spectacular bay stallion are a force to contend with.
Guy started off with a bold pace, and after dropping down the double drop at the bank, he found the water jump out of a bold gallop. They sped through the double in the grob and showed their turning ability after the triple bar. Their final gallop to the oxer in front of the Carousel Club stopped the timers in 44.913 and no one could touch them. “In a jump off like that with seven horses and fast riders like Macella O’Neill and Daniel Zilla behind me, I knew I had to put the pressure on them to try to catch me,” Guy recounted. “Fortunately, I know Peterbilt so well I knew I could take a chance from 1 to 2. I saw the first rider do it in 7 strides and knew I could do 6 and leave it up. Then the rest just had to be fast and efficient. I was lucky to find a good one at the water. I knew I could trust Peterbilt to be able to run at the fences and he’d give me every effort to jump them clean.”
Robert Blanchette aboard his Lazur slipped into second with a bold jump off that stopped the timers in 47.769. Daniel Zilla gave it his all with Venice B (Branscomb Farm LLC, owner) and finished third with a time of 47.803. Amateur rider Blake Gardner aboard his own Cyrus rounded out the top four with at time of 48.158. “I watched Macella’s and Daniel’s rounds because I know they can be quick but I felt I had given them a challenge to really make them go for it and possibly make a mistake,” Guy added. “They were about three seconds slower, and I hadn’t realized I was quite that quick. I started to think they would have to really lay it down in order to catch me.”
Despite bold riding from each of the riders, Horse Park-based Guy held onto his spot at the top of the leader board to the delight of the hometown crowd and Peterbilt’s owners. “It makes it really special to win something like this when the owners can be there to see it,” Guy mused. “I really enjoying showing here at the Horse Park. It’s a nice facility, and the owners being able to be here makes it all the better.”