Eighteen-year-old Sanoma Blakeley of Terrebonne, Oregon, and 10-year-old dark bay Arabian gelding, RA Ares Bay, crossed the 2019 Tevis finish line at 9:27 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, in Auburn, California. They were just feet ahead of three-time Tevis winner Jeremy Reynolds to claim the Tevis Cup.
Both RA Ares Bay, aka “Goober,” and Reynold’s mount, bay mare RTR Rimfires Etta, pulsed down quickly (heart rates recovered) and vetted out sound after the 100-mile journey, which Blakeley said involved some intense racing during the last several miles.
“I left Lower Quarry (six miles from the finish line) first, but Jeremy and I leapfrogged a couple of times before the finish,” said Blakeley.
Endurance is a family affair for the Blakeleys. This year Sanoma’s mother, Gabriela (who has six Tevis completions under her belt) crewed for her husband, Wasch, (five Tevis completions) and son, Barrak (four completions), in addition to Sanoma. In 2014, at the age of 15, Barrak won the Haggin Cup, awarded to the horse finishing within the top ten deemed to be in the most superior condition.
Goober, acquired as a 2-year-old through a Craigslist ad offering a free horse, earned his name honestly with his antics. “He would open gates,” said Sanoma. “He would grab our other horses by their halters and lead them around. He was such a goober.”
“Technically Goober is my dad’s horse, but he thought we might do really well together,” she added.
He predicted well. Sanoma said she knew the pair had a shot early in the race, and the trend continued. “Even 90 miles in, Goober didn’t seem tired,” she said. “He was shying at stumps and getting bored and I decided to go for it.
“I thank my dad for letting me ride his horse,” Sanoma added. “I have the greatest parents in the world. And the greatest horse.”