Locally-owned Modern Legend pulled off a 60-1 shocker as he defeated a powerful Ron Burke quartet led by the streaking Sweet Lou with a 1:47.2 Canadian record equalling performance in the $634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby.
Dave Drew of St. Catharines, Ont. trains, owns and bred the six-year-old Modern Art-Ruby Cam gelding, the only horse currently in his stable.
"At this point, that's all I have. I've had as many as five or so and I'm down to one. This is an absolute top horse. A horse of a lifetime for me. A race of a lifetime," said Drew after winning the 72nd edition of the Derby. "He's been racing on the Grand Circuit for the last couple of years and coming close, but never really put it all together. David Miller gave him a great trip and he was right on his game. It's just a super night for him."
The Burke brigade dominated the top four spots lining up with Bettors Edge (Matt Kakaley) on top over Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras), Sweet Lou (Ron Pierce) and Clear Vision (Brett Miller) through a :26-second opening quarter. They switched things up through the second panel with Foiled Again taking over and then Sweet Lou sweeping by before the half was reached in :53.
Clear Vision then moved underway with Modern Legend and Miller tracking his cover after watching the action from fifth.
Riding a 10-race win streak, Sweet Lou continued to lead the way to three-quarters in 1:20.1 and into the stretch before being swarmed from both sides with Clear Vision pressuring outside and Foiled Again closing up the inside as a path along the pylons opened up. However, the real threat on this night was Modern Legend looming second over as he powered past the stablemates down the stretch for the three length triumph. Foiled Again and Clear Vision rounded out the top three finishers.
"It worked out great, just the way I wanted it to," said Miller after the race. "I know the horse Clear Vision and I figured if I could get on his back and follow him, he'd take me to where I needed to go to be in the race. I was really surprised, around the last turn I had a lot of horse and we came into the stretch and fanned him out and the horse did the rest. He raced tremendous.
"He beat some great horses tonight. Hats off to the horse. He's battled with them for the last couple of years and it's good to see he finally got the job done."
Modern Legend boosted his earnings to $841,285 and now sports a career record reading 18-6-12 in 58 starts. He's earned four of those wins this year in his six-year-old campaign.
"He has always raced well. He had some outside posts early on in the season and had some tough trips -- got some interference -- but he's been racing well," said Drew. "It's just a matter of putting it all together at the right time and the right place and he did that tonight. I'm very proud of him. It's a superb night for me and my family and this great horse." (SC)