view counter
 
view counter
 
 

The 'Legend' Even Impresses His Driver

Published: March 3, 2017 3:15 pm ET

No Comments | Jump to Comments

Typically calm and level-headed, driver Jordan Stratton isn't one to exaggerate or dramatize either a horse’s performance or his own. Instead, the 29-year-old reinsman is quick to deliver matter-of-fact outlooks on any situation. But ask about Bit Of A Legend, and he lights up.

The winner of the 2016 George Morton Levy Series Final, Bit Of A Legend made his first start of 2017 at Yonkers Raceway on February 18. Handicapped by post position eight, the son of Bettors Delight trailed the field by 11 lengths after the quarter. Sticking to the pylons, Bit Of A Legend willingly advanced within 5-3/4 lengths of the lead at the three-quarters, but soon found himself jailed at the inside. A tug on the right line to navigate to clear-sailing with just a sixteenth to pace helped facilitate a 27-second final panel. Bit Of A Legend, individually timed in 1:53.3, finished third beaten 3-3/4 lengths.

“Man, he was awesome,” Stratton said, his voice possessing all of the excitement and satisfaction of a kid unwrapping his favorite gift on Christmas morning. “It's tough from Yonkers from the eight hole. I really never expected him to be third from there. He was way better than I expected.”

Bit Of A Legend’s 2016 season, which saw him win 13 of 28 races and nearly double his career earnings to $1,389,536, concluded November 11. To bridge the gap between seasons, trainer Pete Tritton prepped Bit Of A Legend for his seasonal debut with just one qualifier at Yonkers on February 11.


Bit Of A Legend, winning the 2016 Levy at Yonkers

“His qualifier was good, but Pete didn't really do much with him,” Stratton explained. “He's aiming for the Levy again. I thought he'd be a little short, but wow, the good horse just came out I guess.”

Tritton expects Bit Of A Legend’s 2017 season to mirror last year’s campaign. The eight-year-old’s primary engagements will include the Levy Series and the Invitational Pace on International Trot Day while starts in Yonkers’ rich Open Handicaps will substitute other Grand Circuit events.

“I haven't staked him again. I'm not a big fan of traveling everywhere. I'll race him here, probably race him very similarly to last year and he might go to stud at the end of the year,” Tritton explained.

Last year Bit Of A Legend captured all five preliminary legs of the Levy Series, including a dead-heat victory with 2015 U.S. Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit in the fifth leg. Tritton is confident as the first leg of this year’s series, set for March 18, nears.

“I don't think Bit Of A Legend has lost any step and I hear Wiggle It Jiggleit isn't coming up, so I think he's got a great chance of winning the Levy again,” Tritton reasoned. “He's got a lot of toughness about him and keeps racing good every week. I'm just hoping to have luck in the series and that he stays healthy.”

Bit Of A Legend won't be Tritton and Stratton’s only chance in the Levy Series. Another New Zealand import, Provocativeprince, has blossomed since arriving in the U.S. last fall. The seven-year-old by Grinfromeartoear out of the Village Jasper mare Catherine Zeta is 3-for-4 for Tritton as he continues to climb the class ladder. This week, he’ll tackle the $39,000 Preferred Handicap Pace from post seven, his toughest assignment yet.

“He's a pretty nice horse,” Tritton remarked of Provocativeprince. “He's not supposed to be this good. Bit Of A Legend had a lot more credentials when he came, but we can only go on what he's doing.”

Provocativeprince won six of 44 races in New Zealand and banked NZ$69,319. After a winless final season in the Southern Hemisphere, the gelding has found his best stride at Yonkers. Most recently, he thrived while first-over as the 4-5 favourite in a $30,000 overnight, cruising to an easy win in 1:52.3 after trailing by 3-3/4 lengths past a :57.1 half. Stratton describes Provocativeprince’s closing kick as, “the only one that's come close so far (to Bit Of A Legend).”

“I'm hoping he can make a little money and possibly get through to the final. I'm sure he's a better horse than Texican and he ran third in the final last year, so I've got high hopes for him,” Tritton said. “It’s just a matter of whether he can keep it up through a grueling series, but he's definitely got the ability, no doubt about that.”

Provocativeprince is a 5-1 morning line chance in Saturday's Preferred Handicap while Blood Brother is the 2-1 favourite.

Bit Of A Legend will start from post six in the $50,000 Open Handicap Pace as a 6-1 morning line. Caviar Luca and Somewhere In L A will start to Bit Of A Legend’s outside at odds of 9-2 and 2-1, respectively. First Class Horse, Lucan Hanover, Make Some Luck, Sports Bettor, and Roland N Rock complete the field.

Saturday's 11-race card also features a $50,000 Open Handicap Trot and a $39,000 Preferred Handicap Trot. First post time is 7:10 p.m.

(with files from SOA of NY)


view counter
 
 
 

© 2022 Standardbred Canada. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement and compliance with the legal disclaimer and privacy policy.

Firefox 3 Best with IE 7 Built with Drupal