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Favourites Match WEG Winter Series Records


Published: January 21, 2012 9:21 pm ET

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Popular four-year-old pacers Modern Legend and Westwardho Hanover put forth a pair of impressive, stakes record equalling performances in their respective winter series finals on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack.

Driven by Jack Moiseyev, Modern Legend overcame the outside 10 post to sweep the Snowshoe Pacing Series with a 1:52.2 stakes record matching mile in the first $50,000 final on the card, which was for three and four-year-old male pacers who are non-winners of two races or $20,000 lifetime as of Oct. 31, 2011.

When the wings of the gate folded, Pisti and Keith Oliver fired from Post 8 to establish the early lead with 3-5 favourite Modern Legend gunning for the top spot as they raced into the first turn. Modern Legend took over command as they reached the opening quarter in a speedy :26.3 and proceeded to the half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:24.3 before extending his leading margin to four lengths in the stretch. Warrawee Nosuch and Randy Waples rallied home from third over to place at odds of 57-1 ahead of first over attacker Big League and Jody Jamieson and the Scott Zeron-driven Cobalt Man.

“You never know what other drivers are going to do in a race, but I wanted my horse to be up near the front,” said Moiseyev following the victory. “Once we made the front, he relaxed and we were able to get a slow quarter out of it. Turning for home, I was pretty confident that they weren’t going to catch me.”

The win was Modern Legend's fifth in a row as he swept his elimination and final of the Autumn Stakes in December prior to the three leg Snowshoe Series. The homebred Modern Art-Ruby Cam gelding is trained and owned by St. Catharines' Dave Drew (as Dave Drew Associates Inc.) and is now eight-for-12 in his career with $126,085 banked.

Modern Legend paid $3.50 to win.

Driven by Brett Miller, Westwardho Hanover later tied the Willowdale Pacing Series record while holding off Mystician, who was eyeing a series sweep of his own, in a 1:50 mile in the $100,000 final for four-year-old pacers.

Leaving from Post 6, multiple stakes winner Westwardho Hanover worked his way to the top as the field raced into the first turn. The 4-5 favourite cleared before the hot :26.3 first quarter mark and led the way past the half in :55 and three-quarters in 1:22.2. Westwardho Hanover began to open up three and a half lengths on his rivals as they turned for home, but Mystician and Jamieson was just gearing up as the duo rallied around stalling cover. Mystician made it a close race, but in the end Westwardho Hanover had built up a big enough lead to seal the deal. He reached the wire with a neck to spare. Camaes Fellow and Doug McNair finished third off a pocket trip.

“To be honest, I didn’t really have a game plan coming into tonight,” Miller admitted after the race. “I kind of let the horse decide what he wanted to do and he wanted to leave the gate. When we didn’t face any pressure in the middle half, I thought our chances were really good. At the end of the mile, Mystician almost got us. He went a great mile, also.”

The son of Dragon Again and Western Duel, who finished third in he both of his opening leg divisions behind Mystician, notched his 11th win in 31 career starts while pushing his bankroll to $647,320. Ron Burke trains the bay pacer for Pennsylvania's Westward Ho Stable.

Westwardho Hanover paid $3.70 to win.

To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack.

(With quotes from WEG)

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