Bit Of A Legend N captures Molson Pace
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Favorite Bit Of A Legend N ($3.80) and driver Jordan Stratton swept to the lead at the quarter pole and never looked back en route to winning the $150,000 Molson Pace, the final race of the meet at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Friday night.
Defending champion Evenin Of Pleasure (Sylvain Filion) fired to the lead off the gate from post five, but Stratton moved inside starter Bit Of A Lend to the front by the :26.3 quarter mark and carved out middle splits of :55.3 and 1:23.3. Nitro Pro (Bob McClure) advanced first-over while Clear Vision (Brett Miller) and Fool Me Once (Doug McNair) rallied wide from the outer flow down the backstretch, but 4-5 favourite Bit Of A Legend N was untouchable winning in 1:51.3 by one and three-quarter lengths. Evenin Of Pleasure followed in second-place while Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) finished third off a ground-saving trip.
In his first Molson Pace start, Stratton drove the eight-year-old Down Under son of Bettors Delight and Sokys Legend for trainer Peter Tritton and owner Harry Von Knoblauch of Tucson, Arizona. He has been the regular reinsman for the half-mile specialist who competes primarily at Yonkers Raceway.
"The rail's a great spot here," said Stratton after the race. "The turns come so quick, you know, so you can hold your position to there. The front end's been holding up all night and I was just lucky to have the rail.
"Sylvain had a real class act horse. Year in and year out, he's here at the Molson and he's always near the front, but I was lucky to get back to the front and control the fractions.
"I was happy I didn't have Clear Vision first-over on me," said Stratton of his thoughts at the three-quarter pole. "At that point, I was a little confident." (SC)