OTTB: Zanetti

Zanetti has been on this earth longer than his young owner and rider, Hunter Trombley. In fact when Trombley, now 15, was a toddler, Zanetti

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By: Jennifer Morrison |

Zanetti (affectionately known as Zane), now 17, has given Trombley the thrill of competing in some of the top eventing competitions in North America, most recently at Rebecca Farm in Montana where the pair finished 14th of 30 in a tough group of U.S. riders.

Trombley, who was born in Calgary, Alberta and now lives in Airdrie with her parents and a sister, met Zanetti two years ago when she was looking to embark on a career in eventing.

“I had a welsh pony cross, that was my first horse,” said Trombley, whose mother Amy is an accomplished horsewoman. “I saw an ad for [Zanetti] in an online publication but, at first, I was not too interested.”

Zanetti was on the small side and 15 years old at the time, a bit older than a horse that a young person may look for to start out in eventing, which also includes dressage classes and stadium jumping.

“But he kept coming up on my screen, I kept seeing him, so I went to look at him. I fell in love right away.”

Zanetti had been a true road warrior by the time Trombley went to see him in St. Albert, a town near Edmonton.

A $40,000 yearling buy-back at a Florida yearling sale by breeder Dr. John Piconi, Zanetti, a son of Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval, began his racing career in Ontario at Woodbine under champion trainer Jim Day. He won two of his first three starts as a two-year-old and then won the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Championship race for sophomores the following winter. In his very next race, he finished sixth in the Lexington Stakes (GII) at Keeneland to eventual Kentucky Derby winner Charismatic.

Zanetti stayed off the American class trail and returned to Woodbine where he won the Toronto Cup Stakes at nine furlongs on the grass. He went on to place in major stakes races at Del Mar in California, Hoosier Park in Indiana before he was claimed by Holly and Dave Wilson in 2000 for $100,000. In three races for the Wilsons, Zanetti won two including the Turf Paradise Breeders’ Cup at Turf Paradise in Arizona in 2001, his final race. He retired with earnings of over $400,000.

Zanetti took to eventing as well as he did racing, placing in the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in 2006.

For Trombley, Zanetti won the Alberta provincial championships for training level in 2012 and was named thoroughbred of the year for 2012 for the Alberta Horse Trials Association.

“This past winter, we went to California to get more experience eventing and to upgrade to the preliminary level with Zane,” said Trombley. “I plan on going back to California this fall to do the CCI* at Galway Downs, and to qualify us for the 2014 NAJYRC.”

Trombley, who does her schooling online, has not only found a forever friend, but is certainly learning a lot from her gelding.

“He’s an amazing horse and truly loves his sport. The heart that the off-track thoroughbreds have is unbelievable and truly stands out among the many breeds that compete in eventing.”

Trombley hopes to graduate with Zanetti to the third level in eventing and currently has been concentrating on improving their skills in dressage.

“He always stands up to new challenges with enthusiasm and his standard “Zane style” intensity and I’m excited for what the future will bring.”