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Valedictory Continues At Woodbine; Modern Legend Returns A Winner

Published: December 17, 2016 10:11 pm ET

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The second leg of the Valedictory Series featured career-best performances by three-year-old pacers Awesomeness and Lyons Sands at Woodbine Racetrack while Canada's 2014 Older Pacing Horse of the Year, Modern Legend, made his return to the races in Preferred action on Saturday evening (December 17).

Awesomeness opened the Saturday card with a 1:52.3 pocket-pulling victory in the first of two $17,000 series divisions for driver Randy Waples and trainer Ryan Maxwell.

Insider starter Senior K (Doug McNair) was intent on securing the leading role, parking out Awesomeness and a three-wide Artful Bliss (James MacDonald) through a :26.2 opening quarter. Waples eventually settled in behind Senior K with the 3-5 favoured Awesomeness while Artful Bliss was left outside for the long haul. Senior K continued to lead the field through middle fractions of :55.1 and 1:24.2 while rebuffing Artful Bliss into the lane. However, Awesomeness kicked home in :27.4 to overtake Senior K in deep stretch and score by one length over that foe. Twomacsonemach (Travis Cullen) rallied three-wide from the back of the seven-horse field to grab third-place honours.

Awesomeness, who was a runner-up in the opening leg of the Valedictory, paid $3.40 to win.

The Mach Three-Fancy A Dream gelding equalled his lifetime mark taken in mid-November at Woodbine. He's since been acquired by Martin Scharf of Lawrence, New York. Unraced as a two-year-old, Awesomeness boasts five wins and three second-place finishes from nine career starts and earnings totalling $53,750.

Lyons Sands lowered his lifetime mark to 1:52.2 with a front-end victory in the second division for driver J Harris and trainer Bruce Goit.

Lyons Sands left out from post six to establish the lead over first leg winner Dreamfair Mesa (Phil Hudon) and carved out panels of :27, :56.3 and 1:24.4 with a :27.3 final frame to seal the deal and shave three seconds off his lifetime mark. Breaktime Hanover (Doug McNair) rallied off cover and edged out P L Jackson (Travis Cullen) for second-place. Dragon Strikes (Mike Saftic), the other first leg winner, rallied from the backfield into the mix for fourth. Dreamfair Mesa, the 2-1 favourite, was seventh in the field finishing within just four lengths.

Lyons Sands paid $10.10 to win as the 4-1 third choice on the toteboard following his third-place finish in round one of the series.

Owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Brantford, Ont., the Somebeachsomewhere-Ozmopolitan gelding made just one start as a two-year-old and has now won nine of his 12 races this year while banking $44,090.

After spending more than 18 months on the sidelines, the O'Brien Award-winning pacer Modern Legend was ready to rock in his return race on Saturday night, winning the $34,000 Preferred in sub-1:50 fashion with James MacDonald aboard.

While Alexas Jackpot (Louis-Philippe Roy) led the field of six through fractions of :26.1, :54.3 and 1:22, Modern Legend followed the cover of 2-5 favourite Nickle Bag (Trevor Henry) and then powered home to score in 1:49.4. American Virgin (Doug McNair) closed late to finish a neck behind in second with Prescotts Hope (Phil Hudon) finishing outside in third. Alexas Jackpot and Nickle Bag finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Modern Legend last raced in May 2015 and entered tonight's Preferred off a pair of December qualifying wins, including a 1:52.3 mile in cold and windy conditions last Thursday. The homebred eight-year-old Modern Art-Ruby Cam gelding paid $10.60 to win as the 4-1 second wagering choice.

Speaking with Trot Insider on Modern Legend's comeback, owner/trainer Dave Drew said, "...I've let him determine what the next step is, we'll take it week by week based on what he's doing."

Modern Legend's 22nd career win boosted his bankroll to $986,325.

Woodbine's Jackpot Hi-5 was not hit on Saturday and therefore the wager will feature a $548,396.96 carryover when it resumes. The Jackpot Hi-5 will be suspended for the Monday and Thursday programs, with a mandatory payout effective on Friday, Dec. 23.

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

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