Sara E. Collette’s Zanclus, showing no signs of rust after more than a year on the sidelines, went to the lead at the start of the $30,000 My Lady’s Manor and never was challenged as he rolled to a 25 1/4-length victory Saturday in the first leg of the Maryland timber triple crown.
Straight to It, a veteran of the timber-racing wars, stayed well to finish second, eight lengths ahead of Mystic Strike, the early trailer who closed well in the stretch for third. Drift Society, second in the My Lady’s Manor last year before a second in the Maryland Hunt Cup, tired late to finish fourth, six lengths farther back, in a field of six.
Zanclus was ridden by Darren Nagle, the National Steeplechase Association’s leading jockey by wins last year, and ran the three miles of the My Lady’s Manor in 5:47 on turf rated as good at the Monkton course. Nagle placed Zanclus approximately four lengths ahead of his five opponents in the early going before drawing away in the final quarter-mile.
Collette, a resident of Casanova, Va., bred Zanclus out of a stallion and mare that she also bred. Zanclus is named for a species of fish popularly known as the Moorish idol, a nod to the owner-breeder’s husband, Bruce, a marine zoologist. Her dark green silks bear the images of two jumping dolphins.
But there is nothing fishy about Zanclus, an eight-year-old trained by Neil Morris in Virginia.
The My Lady’s Manor was his eighth career start, the last six over timber fences. In those starts, he has never finished worse that second. He won an allowance hurdle at the International Gold Cup in The Plains, Va., by 25 lengths while setting all the pace in October 2016 and went to the sidelines with an injury after his next start.
The $50,000 Grand National, the second leg of the Maryland timber triple, is next Saturday in Butler, and the series concludes with the $100,000 Maryland Hunt Cup on April 28 in Glyndon.