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‘Legend’ Has It

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Published: March 8, 2012 3:29 pm ET

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When a horse loves his job as much as his trainer, it makes for a winning combination. Conditioner Dave Drew and his homebred Modern Legend certainly have that one-two punch.

When Modern Legend heads behind the starting gate for the $100,000 final of the Cam Fella Pacing Series this Saturday at Woodbine Racetrack, Drew knows the four-year-old gelding will be ready to deliver.

“He shows a lot of enthusiasm about racing,” explained the 60-year-old resident of St. Catharines, Ont. “I had the opportunity to drive him in his first four starts and he was enthusiastic about going to the gate. He just loves to race.”

And that’s important to Drew.

“The main thing right now, he is feeling good and enjoying it,” he said.

Drew takes great pride in Modern Legend, the son of Modern Art--Ruby Cam, who has a seven-race win streak going into the rich final.

The streak includes victories in the preliminary legs of the Cam Fella Pacing Series and a sweep of the Snowshoe Pacing Series and Autumn Stakes, where he lowered the stakes record to 1:50.4, all at Woodbine. The 10-time career winner, who was unraced at two, has banked earnings of $85,000 in 2012 and $161,085 lifetime.

“It’s just absolutely a lifetime dream to see this horse race as well as he has raced because you never know through breeding, raising and training a horse how they are going to turn out,” Drew noted. “He certainly turned out to be more than I could have ever expected.”

Drew has always had an interest in harness racing. His father and brother, Greg Drew, had horses while he was growing up. Before becoming a trainer, Drew owned horses with his brother, who handled the training and driving.

But in the early 2000s, Drew decided to get his trainer and driver license. After retiring from working as an executive for General Motors in 2003, he set up his own management consulting business while training standardbreds.

One horse Drew had was Ruby Cam, Modern Legend’s dam. The Drew brothers purchased her as a yearling for $14,500 at the 2000 Forest City Sale. Greg did the training and they shared the driving duties.

“The horse just essentially raced at four, but raced fairly well and had a very good gait, so we decided to keep her as a broodmare and raise several offspring,” Drew said.

Drew’s current stable of three consists solely of Ruby Cam’s offspring. Modern Legend, Web Cam, a five-year-old gelded son of Astreos, and Rubys Patriot, a two-year-old Jeremes Jet filly, who is in training at this point.

Stabled at the farm of Dr. John Hayes in Beamsville, Ont., Drew considers himself lucky to work alongside Dr. Hayes and Carman Hie, who also has his string there.

“It is a great place to be, especially for someone like me,” he said. “It has a nice, relaxed atmosphere and good people with lots of experience. These are very experienced trainers. They have certainly given me a lot of guidance as I have trained horses.”

Drew ensures he always does what’s best for his horses. When Modern Legend was a freshman, he battled sickness, which prompted the conditioner to wait on him until he was ready at three.

Also after a race, when the driver hands back the reins, Drew will hop on the sulky and take his trainees back out for one last slow lap around the track.

“I do that because of the research that has been done at the University of Guelph,” he explained. “It suggests that horses need to keep moving after a strenuous event, such as a race. That it is healthier for their heart and better for them.

“They work extremely hard and they have a very high heart rate so it lets it come down on a more gradual basis,” he added.

When Drew and his standout pacer take their lap of the Toronto oval after the Cam Fella final, he’ll be hoping it will be a victory one.

Driver Jack Moiseyev will start from Post 3 with Modern Legend in the final, which is for four and five-year-old pacers, who are non-winners of $150,000 lifetime as of midnight, December 31, 2011.

To view the harness racing entries for Saturday at Woodbine, click the following link: Saturday Entries - Woodbine Racetrack.

(WEG)


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