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Modern Legend Sidelined

Published: August 20, 2015 9:25 am ET

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One of the most memorable upsets of 2014 came in the Canadian Pacing Derby when Modern Legend knocked off the top older pacers on the continent. Trot Insider has learned that a 'Legend'-ary repeat won't be happening this year.

Modern Legend started his season strongly, with a 2-1-1 summary from five starts, finishing no worse than fourth and being no more than two lengths off a winner. Breeder-owner-trainer David Drew of St. Catharines was gearing up for a summer full of stakes when the seven-year-old caught a touch of sickness.

"Unfortunately we ran into some coughing and nasal discharge in June so we ended up backing off and then starting to train down again about two weeks ago he injured a shin," Drew told Trot Insider." We had it x-rayed twice in the last couple of weeks and there's no indication of a fracture. I stopped jogging him for a little while after he injured it and he just got back jogging last week. He's done some light training but he's not ready to race based on that."

Drew and his veterinarian were unable to determine the cause of the injury, but the damage is obviously done in terms of timing. The injury was found right around the time he planned to test Modern Legend with a qualifying mile.

"There doesn't appear to be any swelling and most of the heat is gone from it, but he's going to have to take it a little bit easier and start training back down again."

The trainer is not going to set a time frame for the horse's return. Instead, the ever-patient Drew stated that he will let Modern Legend set his own return date.

"I need to have him tell me how he's progressing and when he's ready," said Drew. "The way he was progressing, I thought he could make the Canadian Pacing Derby but that's not going to be."

Modern Legend - 2014 Canadian Pacing Derby

The 2014 O'Brien Award winner in the Older Pacing Horse category, Modern Legend has won 21 of 68 lifetime starts for Drew with just under $970,000 earned. His 1:47.2 win in the 2014 Canadian Pacing Derby was not only one of the more memorable races of the past season, it was also historic for its speed as one of the fastest miles ever on Canadian soil.

Drew notes quite frankly that the older pacing horse division is extremely deep and he'll need to have his homebred son of Modern Art - Ruby Cam in pristine condition upon his return.

"At this stage, it's going to be up to him and how he's doing and how quickly he can come back. He's got to be ready, the caliber of racing he's involved in. He's got to be at or near 100 per cent, so I have to let him tell me how he's doing based on what I see, hear and feel."

What Drew sees is a horse that's "feeling good and has a great attitude," signs of optimism from his equine pupil. The conditioning of that star pacer falls into Drew's capable hands. With the top horses knocking heads in the older pacing division throughout the Spring and Summer, Drew doesn't feel that he'll be able to capitalize on a tired group if he gets Modern Legend back to the races for the Fall stakes season.

"In the group he races with, I would never diminish any of their ability...whether they've raced a long season or a short season there are some really top performing horses this year and that's the type of horse he has to race against so he has to be fit and ready to go."

[Photo credits: New Image Media (racing), Dave Landry (training)]

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