Modern Legend became harness racing’s newest millionaire with a victory in the $34,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday night (January 14) at Woodbine Racetrack.
Rebounding from a fifth-place finish in his 2017 debut last week, Modern Legend prevailed off cover as the post time favourite in rein to James MacDonald and survived a judge’s inquiry.
American Virgin (Doug McNair) left from the outside post position for the lead over insider Alexas Jackpot (Sylvain Filion), with Nirvana Seelster (Rick Zeron) parked to the turn before settling into third.
American Virgin sprinted the first quarter in :26 and proceeded to the half in :55.2. Meanwhile, 52-1 longshot Company Man (Louis Philippe Roy) went first-up from mid-pack, with Modern Legend following to the outside second-over and the oncoming Prescotts Hope (Phil Hudon) moved three-wide.
American Virgin continued to lead the field of seven past three-quarters in 1:23.2, but Modern Legend rallied off cover down the stretch to defeat the pacesetter by a neck in 1:50.4. Company Man finished over two lengths behind in third with Nickle Bag (Jody Jamieson) closing from the back of the pack for fourth. Prescotts Hope completed the top five finish order.
Following the race, there was a judges’ inquiry into whether Modern Legend had sufficient clearance when tipping outside approaching the half. Judges ruled there were no violations of the rules of racing and the results were made official.
In a special winner’s circle presentation, Modern Legend and his owner, trainer and breeder, Dave Drew, of Grimsby, Ont., were honoured for the career milestone.
The millionaire son of Modern Art and Ruby Cam has won 23 races from 71 starts lifetime, including the 2014 Canadian Pacing Derby in a career-best 1:47.2 at Mohawk Racetrack as part of an O’Brien Award-winning campaign that year.
After a shortened 2015 season and being sidelined for more than 18 months, Modern Legend won his return race on December 17 in sub-1:50 fashion against Woodbine’s Preferred pacers. Despite a fifth-place finish in his next outing on January 7, the betting public maintained their faith in the talented nine-year-old gelding, who returned $5.80 to win on Saturday night as the 9-5 favourite.