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Bit Of A Legend N (Bettor's Delight) was the runner-up in the 2016 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace contested at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The Peter Tritton-trained standout wound up second best to former harness racing Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit. On Saturday night, Bit Of A Legend N was dismissed at odds of 15-1 as he took part in his second consecutive $260,000 Gerrity Pace. Driver Jordan Stratton sat patiently with the talented eight year old as a grueling pace was being set. There wasn't a dull moment throughout as top rivals were slugging it out from the word "go." The opening quarter went in 26.4 before the first half was clocked in 54.3. The field bunched up after three quarters in 1:21.2 and longshot Bit Of A Legend N powered up three wide around the final turn. From fifth at the head of the stretch to first at the wire, Bit Of A Legend stopped the timer in 1:50.3 exacting his revenge from last year's defeat in the Gerrity with an impressive win in the ninth annual installment of the race in honor of the former Chairman of the Board at Saratoga who passed away in 2005. 36-1 shot Mach It So (Dave Miller) came on for second while Boston Red Rocks (Brett Miller) earned the show spot. Bit Of A Legend N returned $32.10 to win and led an exacta and triple that came back $1,037 and $5,295, respectively. Bit Of A Legend N The fourteen race program featured a track record performance by Funknwaffles (American Ideal) in the NY Sire Stakes as he became the fastest three year old pacer in track history by prevailing in 1:50.4. Funknwaffles Also, the fastest trotting time and pacing time of the year were set on Saturday as Gural Hanover (Matt Kakaley) trotted to victory in 1:54 and Luck Be Withyou (Brett Miller) scored in 1:49.2, the third fastest time in track history on what was a sensational night of racing at Saratoga. Luck Be Withyou Heaven's Gait - New York Sire Stakes Live racing continues on Tuesday evening featuring NY Sire Stakes action with first post time set for 7:05pm. Mike Sardella

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 15, 2017 -  Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton actually beat Jordan Stratton Saturday night (July 15th). Stratton and Kwik Talkin' ($5.60) held off odds-on Springsteen (Jason Bartlett) in a glorified match race, winning Yonkers Raceway's $110,500 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. The mile tickled the teletimer in 1:53.4, two-fifths of a second faster than the previous stakes record of Hail the Taxi (2012)...also driven by Stratton. At the outset, Kwik Talkin'-from post position No. 7-was thrown in the fray, along with pole-sitting Springsteen, Real Rayenbow (Chuck Connor Jr.) and Hora Star (Greg Merton). 'Rayenbow' was the first leader, before the 3-4 choice Springsteen played leapfrog. Hora Star was seated as Kwik Talkin' drove on, making the lead just after a spiffy :27.4 opening quarter-mile. After a 56-second intermission and moving toward a 1:25.2 three-quarters, the 48-1 Hora Star made a second move, but never came near the leaders. The pair of people's preferences, who finished 1-2 in last week's fastest of three (1:54.4) elims, were about to have the final to themselves. It was Kwik Talkin', as the second choice, opening a couple of lengths in and out of the final turn before defeating Springsteen by a length-and-a-quarter. It was seven lengths back to Trump Nation (Eric Goodell), who photoed Phat Blue Chip (Brent Holland) for third. Persist Blue Chip (George Brennan) earned the final pay envelope, while Real Rayenbow, Hora Star and Damion Diesel Hahn (Ray Schnittker) completed the order. Trump Nation and Persist Blue Chip was last week's other elimination winners. For Kwik Talkin', an $18,000 (Harrisburg) a perfect (4-for-4) son of Well Said trained by Rob Harmon for Ontario co-owners Robert Robinson, Jacqueline Dinelle and Scott & Lisa Henry, the mile was a life-best effort. The exacta paid $9.20, with the triple returning $22.60. "He doesn't race as a 2-year-old," Stratton said. "He doesn't act as a 2-year-old," Harmon said of the winner, indoctrinated at Ottawa's Rideau Carleton Raceway. "I knew I've have to use him early, but once I made the lead, he rated the way an older horse would," Stratton said. Kwik Talkin Saturday night's $55,000 Open Handicap Pace was won by a pole-sitting, pocket-protecting Bakersfield (Holland, $21.80) in 1:51.3, the highlight of his chauffeur's five-win night. Bakersfield Frank Drucker  

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, July 8, 2017-Yonkers Raceway's premier open event for 2-year-olds colts and geldings, the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace, offered a trio of $25,000 elimination races Saturday night (July 8th). The first and third elims were prim and proper, but the middle one was dynamite. Ottawa invader Kwik Talkin' (Jordan Stratton, $3.40) proved he was kwik walkin' as well. From post position No. 2, he prevailed in a mile with much movement, whipping a stubborn Springsteen (Chris Ryder) by a length in a snappy 1:54.4. 'Phat' was third, beaten 4½ lengths. Those two, plus pole-sitting Phat Blue Chip (Jason Bartlett), mixed it up two- and three-wide through intervals of :27.4, 57.4 and 1:27.1. It was Springsteen getting first 'run,' ripping out of a three-hole and leading into the lane. He could not stall the winner, now 3-for-3 in his career after cutting his teeth at Rideau Carleton. For Kwik Talkin', an $18,000 (Harrisburg) son of Well Said trained by Rob Harmon for Ontario co-owners Robert Robinson, Jacqueline Dinelle and Scott & Lisa Henry, the mile was a life-best effort. The exact paid $17.20, with the triple returning $31.80. "Nice horse," Stratton said. "Hopefully, we draw well in the final." Harmon offered a bit more insight. "The owners called and asked if I'd take the horse," he said. "I didn't know anything about him. I trained him here (Yonkers) last Friday in 1:58 and he was getting around the track well. I just added a line pole outside, since he's sort of green and doesn't know a whole lot." Another example of why ignorance is bliss. Those three frosh are to be joined in next week's $110,500 finale of the Sheppard by the other elimination winners-maiden-breakers Persist Blue Chip (George Brennan, $10.20) in 1:58.3 and Trump Nation (catch-driver Eric Goodell, $23.40) in 1:57.1-as well as second-place finishers Damion Diesel Hahn (Ray Schnitttker) and Hora Star (Brennan) and Real Rayenbow (Jason Bartlett). Real Rayenbow cut the mile as the 13-10 fave in the final elim before fading to third. Persist Blue Chip ($57,000 Harrisburg) is a Roll with Joe colt, while Trump Nation, a son of Betterthancheddar, did not sell at auction. The Sheppard is, of course, named for the man behind breeding behemoth Hanover Shoe Farms. The open draw takes place Monday afternoon (July 10th), Saturday night's pair of $55,000 Open Handicaps were annexed (big word) by... --(Pace) Somewhere in L A (Bartlett, $4.70) in 1:51, matching fastest local mile of season; --(Trot) Homicide Hunter (Brian Sears, $10) in 1:55.4. Special Saturday props to Brennan for his five-win night, including the first four races during the dozen-race card. New York Sire Stakes hit town for the first time this season Monday night, with the $169,500 Hugh Grant Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. by Frank Druker, for Yonkers Raceway

The Peter Tritton-trainee Bit Of A Legend N took no prisoners en route to capturing the harness racing 2017 edition of the $150,000 Molson Pace. The son of Bettor's Delight used rail advantage into the opening turn before releasing defending champ Evenin Of Pleasure and driver Sylvain Filion, before the quarter pole. Driver Jordan Stratton quickly marched the 36-time winner back to the lead before the opening panel in :26.3. Stratton and Bit Of A Legend N then led the field of eight past the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:23.2. Evenin Of Pleasure was stalking in the pocket as Night Pro (Bob McClure) began to fade allowing Clear Vision to make a three-wide bid for the lead. Down the stretch, Bit Of A Legend N was still in control and was able to fend off a last minute rally from Evenin Of Pleasure to secure the win in 1:51.3. Evenin Of Pleasure stayed for second, over Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald). "I knew the post one was the best spot to start from tonight and I wanted to take advantage of that," Stratton said in the winners circle. "I wanted to control the pace and I was happy to see Clear Vision not coming first-over at me. Down the stretch I felt pretty comfortable and we were rewarded. This is my first Molson Pace and hopefully it won't be the last. It was a great evening and a thrill to be here." Bit Of A Legend has banked $1,600,001 in his career for owner Harry Von Knoblauch. He paid $3.80 to win. Bit Of A Legend Greg Gangle  

London, May 23, 2017 -- The 2017 edition of the Molson Pace, slated for this Friday May 26 at The Raceway at Western Fair District, will feature some of the harness racing sport's top free-for-all pacers. One of the new faces joining this year's field is Bit Of A Legend N, who will make his first trek to Canada for trainer Peter Tritton. The New Zealand-born son of Bettor's Delight will line up from the coveted rail with regular pilot Jordan Stratton in the bike. "The draw couldn't have worked out any better," Tritton said from his home base in Pine Bush, New York. "I think most trainers would want the rail and now it's up to the horse to deliver." Tritton, a native of Australia, has spent more than 15 years in the US and will also be making his first trip to Canada. "It's something I'm definitely looking forward to it," he said. "There have been a few times in the past I've meant to come, but it never worked out. My family and I are looking forward to the trip." The veteran conditioner, who races primarily at Yonkers, has found a strong niche for recruiting horses from Down Under (Australia & New Zealand) that fits his program in New York. Standout horses that have found their way in the Tritton barn include Moss Dale Connor N, Mackenzie N, Texican N and Sell A Bit N, just to name a few. "I've been very fortunate to have a great relationship with agent Peter Larkin for the past 35 years," Tritton said. "He recruits the horses and I'll go ahead and look them up with owner Harry Von Knoblauch. He knows the horses have to fit my program at Yonkers and we've had quite a bit of success over the years." Bit Of A Legend N is one horse that Tritton has become very fond of since arriving on North American soil a few seasons ago. The 35-time winner has more than $1.5 million earned lifetime and captured the 2016 final of the Levy against the best free-for-all pacers in North America on a half-mile track. He capped off last season with more than $723,000 earned. "I shouldn't say he was a pleasant surprise how good he turned out, because I knew he was very talented," he said. "I just didn't think he'd be this good. "He's so professional and very easy to drive," Tritton continued. "He's has just a pleasant horse and his manners are perfect. I can't fault him in any way." Tritton will once again be handing the driving assignment to young driver Jordan Stratton. The young reinsman will also be making his debut in the Molson Pace. "Jordan use to drive for me a little a few years ago and we had some luck," said Tritton. "I wanted a driver that would commit to driving all my horses, because I didn't like using different drivers every week. Jordan agreed and I think it has worked out well for everyone." Tritton admits it won't be an easy task on Friday. "I think it's an excellent looking field," he said. "I wouldn't say there is a standout and that should mean a great finish. We're looking forward to the experience in Canada." The field for this years Molson Pace will line up as follows: 1. Bit Of A Legend N ($1,525,011) - Jordan Stratton 2. Rockin In Heaven ($548,971) - Trevor Henry 3. Clear Vision ($2,703,859) - Brett Miller 4. Fool Me Once ($963,778) - Doug McNair 5. Evenin Of Pleasure ($773,857) - Sylvain Filion 6. Sunfire Blue Chip ($1,181,939) - Mark MacDonald 7. Rockin Ron ($665,988) - Matt Kakaley 8. Night Pro ($738,432) - Bob McClure Greg Blanchard

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 12, 2017 - A first-up Freeze Out (Jordan Stratton, $8.10) did it with a flourish Friday night (May 12th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace for a fifth consecutive harness racing victory. Away fifth from post position No. 4, Freeze Out was uninvolved early as Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) quarter-moved past Apple Bottom Jeans (George Brennan). The 'Queen' made the lead just at :27.4 opening quarter-mile, then found a :56.2 intermission. Freeze Out took aim at her target going by a 1:25 three-quarters, then went past early in the lane. Freeze Out finished out winning by a length-and-a-half in a life-best 1:53.2. Apple Bottom Jeans, compromised sitting behind a tiring leader, closed inside for second, with Sassa Hanover (Matt Kakaley), Jag Out (Brent Holland) and a never-in-it 8-5 choice Mach it a Par (Brian Sears) rounding out the payees. For third choice Freeze Out, a 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal owned and trained by Ricky Bucci, it was her seventh win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $138, the triple returned $890 and the superfecta paid $2,389. During her form spree, she hasn't once been sent off as the betting favorite. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, May 5, 2017 - Harness racing favored Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $4.70) lasted on the lead Friday night (May 5th) , winning Yonkers Raceway's Cinco de Mayo $55,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace In play from post position No. 4, Sell a Bit N worked around Delightful Dragon (catch-driver Eric Goodell), then finished (:27.4, :57.2, 1:25.3, 1:54.1) what she started. Sell a Bit N defeated the 'Dragon' by a neck, with a two-move Dublin Rose (George Brennan) third. Caviart Cari Ann (Dan Dube) and Certified Ideal (Brian Sears) settled for the remainder. For Sell a Bit N, a 7-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fifth win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $17.40, the triple returned $82 and the superfecta paid $357. Sell a Bit N It turned out that fives were indeed wild for the fifth day of the fifth month. In addition to the ol' double-nickel purse for the feature, March Awareness (Mark MacDonald, $6.60)-horse No. 5 in race No. 5-rolled home by seven lengths in a $27,000 trot (1:56). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 28, 2017 - Freeze Out (Jordan Stratton, $8.90) was first-up and first home Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $55,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Away fourth from post position No. 2, Free Out saw Call Me Queen Be (Scott Zeron) leaving around 9-10 choice Windsun Glory (George Brennan), the latter shoehorning herself into a pocket. Call Me Queen Be set early intervals of :27.3 and :57.4 before Freeze Out took out after her. She engaged the leader in and out of the third turn, dispatching her in and out of the (1:25.4) three-quarters. Freeze Out, continuing her form spree, opened to 2¾ lengths into the lane. The final margin was a length-and-a-half in 1:54. Motu Moonbeam N (Mark MacDonald) rallied into second, with a second-over Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) third. Apple Bottom Jeans (Brian Sears) and Keystone Riptide (Jason Bartlett) settled for the remainder. For third choice Freeze Out, a 4-year-old daughter of American Ideal owned and trained by Ricky Bucci, it was her sixth win (fourth consecutive) win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $57, the triple returned $361.50 and the superfecta paid $2,203. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Saturday evening’s (April 29th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $3,110.41.   The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11 during every racing card. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Friday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 22, 2017 - When the 92-year-old boss flies in from San Diego, you don't want to disappoint him. Good thing Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton, $12.80) held up her end of the bargain Saturday night (Apr. 22nd), winning Yonkers Raceway's $310,600 harness racing final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. Sitting chilly from post position No. 4, Mackenzie A watched as Lispatty (Brian Sears) leave hard from the pylons, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) second and 9-10 choice Mach it a Par (Jason Bartlett) third...all three away in post position order. Meanwhile, Regil Elektra (Yannick Gingras) and Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron) tried to leave, only to get parked for their troubles (the latter badly compromised by the former). It was Lispatty leading at the :26.4 opening quarter-mile before Mach it a Par move to take the baton approaching the :55.1 intermission. Down the backside, Shesjustadelight N took out of third, with Mackenzie A third and Medusa (Matt Kakaley) staying in. Mach it a Par was seemingly in control in and out of a 1:23.4 three-quarters, with the uncovered rival pacing in place, forcing Mackenzie A wide. It was Mach it a Par owning a length-and-half lead into the lane, but company was coming. Mackenzie A blew on by, widening to win the ninth Matchmaker by 2¾ lengths in in life-best 1:53.1. Medusa, who had left the cones, failed to match strides with the winner but was a rallying second, with 81-1 rank outsider Diva's Image (Joe Bongiorno) a closing third. That one found her way into the final after original eight-holer Empress Deo came up ill. Mach it a Par faded to fourth, with Shesjustadelight N fifth and Lispatty, Regil Elektra and Bedroomconfessions bringing up the rear. For co-second choice Mackenzie A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned by the nonagenarian Harry von Knoblauch (a fine TV interview) and his daughter, Ellen Kinser and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her second win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $167, the triple returned $6,251 the superfecta paid $19,960 (base $2 payout). "I thought I have to race her from off the pace," Stratton said. "The trip worked out perfect for us. I knew there were horses behind and I wanted to move." Stratton won the inaugural edition of the race in 2009 with Pancleefandarpels. Mackenzie A A $75,000 series consolation was won by Hidden Land (Bartlett, $9.50) in 1:54.1. Hidden Land Saturday night's $55,000 Open Handicap Trot was won by Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $4.70) in 1:56.4. Barn Doll Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 21, 2017- 'Twas the night before the harness racing finals of the George Morton Levy and Blue Chip Matchmaker and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... ...except for Jordan Stratton. The lad had himself a Yonkers Raceway Friday night (Apr. 21st), winning a personal-best six races during the 11-race card. "I can't explain it," Stratton said. "Everything I drove raced very well. It was just one of those nights." What made Stratton's run that much more impressive was there was nary a favorite in sight. He swept the $150 early double with a first-up That'll Be the Rei ($20.20) in the $23,000, first-race pace (1:53.2) and a down-the-road Mass Balance ($15) in the $27,000, second-race trot (1:57). After taking the third race off, Stratton struck again in the $27,000, fourth-race pace, this time with a closing Ambro Courage N ($43.40) in 1:54.3. Win No. 4 came behind a come-from-behind Lease Ness Monster ($32.60), roaring from the back of the bus in the $27,000, fifth-race pace (1:54.4). Stratton was then parked leaving from the eight-hole in the fifth race--backpedaling to last-then 'won the bob' in the night feature. Freeze Out ($15.60) rallied to take the $40,000, seventh-race Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace by a scant schnoz in 1:54.2. Freeze Out Stratton's happy-half dozen concluded with Platoon Seelster ($21), who scooped up the $27,000, eighth-race trot (1:57.1) after 3-10 favorite Frost Free Hanover (George Brennan) jumped it off on the lead. Stratton ended his night finishing fourth, third and second, respectively. Additional props to driver Brent Holland for his hat trick Friday night. No one took down the Pick 5, so Saturday night's (Apr. 22nd) gimmick begins with a carryover of $3,206.32 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). The Raceway's seven-figure Saturday includes the sport's two richest races of the season to date. $310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker-8th race (approximate post 9:35 PM) PP-Horse Driver M/L 1-Lispatty Brian Sears 7-1 2-Shesjustadelight N Ron Cushing 4-1 3-Mach it a Par Jason Bartlett 2-1 4-Mackenzie A Jordan Stratton 20-1 5-Regil Elektra Yannick Gingras 5-2 6-Medusa Matt Kakaley 20-1 7-Bedroomconfessions Scott Zeron 6-1 8-Diva's Image Joe Bongiorno 20-1   $529,000 George Morton Levy Memorial-10th race (approx. post 10: 15 PM) PP-Horse Driver M/L 1-McWicked Matt Kakaley 3-1 2-Blood Brother Brian Sears 12-1 3-Missile J Tim Tetrick 4-1 4-Keystone Velocity Dan Dube 9-1 5-Somewhere in L A Jason Bartlett 2-1 6-Bit of a Legend N Jordan Stratton 5-1 7-Provocativeprincen Yannick Gingras 20-1 8-Soto Brett Miller 12-1 Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, April 13, 2017-- Yonkers Raceway's Thursday night (Apr. 13th) harness racing program was sponsored by the letter 'S'. 'S,' as in Stratton, as in driver Jordan Stratton. 'S,' as in Siegelman, as in trainer Robbie Siegelman. 'S," as in Southern Pursuit N, as in the 62-1 ($126.50) upsetter--driven by Stratton and trained by Siegelman, of the break-filled, $15,000, third-race pace (life-best 1:55.1). The eight-hole bombardier led a $652 exacta and $2,308 triple, while ending a $5,393 Pick 3. 'S' also, as in Sears, as in season-debuting Brian Sears. The Hall of Famer-in-waiting made his first appearance since late last season after laser eye surgery. Sears went 1-for-8 Thursday night, lasting on the lead with odds-on One Through Ten ($3.60) in the $25,000, 11th-race pace (1:53.2). Sears has seven drives Friday (Apr. 14th) and six Saturday (Apr. 15th). The Friday/Saturday cards feature the fifth and final preliminary rounds of both the Blue Chip Matchmaker (two $40,000 divisions) and George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series (three $50,000 divisions). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 27, 2017 - You just have to admire someone who was in a sow barn by day and a Yonkers Raceway harness racing winner's circle by night. "She's the best horse we've ever had," owner Jeffrey Williamson said after not-quite-death-and-taxes Cousin Mary (Jordan Stratton, $2.70) easily disposed of her seven rivals in Monday's (March 27th) final of the $61,000 Petticoat Pacing Series. The series was open to 3- and 4-year-old pacers who are/were non-winners of four races or $40,000 through last Dec.1 and pretty much closed once 'Mary' strutted her stuff. After hat-tricking her three Petticoat prelims, Cousin Mary won the draw for the final. Yielding early to St. Kitts (Jason Bartlett), the people's choice took over eight before a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. From there, is was quite simple (:57.2, 1:25.4, 1:54.3) after putting away a first-over bid from Vintage Babe (Yannick Gingras). The margin, a length-and-a-half entering the lane, was 2¾ lengths at the wire. St. Kitts was second, with a closing A Crafty Lady (Dan Dube) third. Vintage Babe and Real Diva (George Brennan) settled for the minors, while Northern Soiree (Matt Kakaley), Rei's Star Cross (Jim Marohn Jr.) and Angels Rockn Pink (Mark MacDonald) rounded out the order. For Cousin Mary, a 4-year-old daughter of Camluck owned by Williamson-a hog farmer northwest of Toronto-and trained by Andrew Harris, it was her seventh win in nine seasonal starts. The exacta paid $13.20, the triple returned $170 and the superfecta paid $704. "Honestly, when she first came to me, I didn't think that much of her,' Harris said. "She was handling (Yonkers') lower conditions, but not going that fast. When she moved up from non-winners of four (races) to non-winners of eight, she lost but raced better than she did when she was winning. "That's when I thought she had a future. Tonight was the first time the series Jordan (Stratton) popped her plugs, and I don't know where her bottom is." A $30,000 series consolation was won by a Winners Over MacDonald, $36.60) in 1:55.1. Monday night's Pick 5, which began with a $5,353.51 carryover, attracted $22,248 worth of fresh investors. The winning combination of 4/1/4/5/1 paid $60.87 for every winning half-a-buck-wager. The $61,800 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series goes Tuesday night (March 28th). Frank Drucker

Yonkers, NY --- Typically calm and level-headed, harness racing 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 New Zealand import 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 Feb. 18. Handicapped by post position eight, the son of Bettor's 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 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 Nov. 11. To bridge the gap between seasons, trainer Peter Tritton prepped Bit Of A Legend for his seasonal debut with just one qualifier at Yonkers Feb. 11. “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 8-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 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 7-year-old by Grinfromeartoear out of the Village Jasper mare Catherine Zeta is three-for-four 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 $55,382. 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 favorite 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 favorite. 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. Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

YONKERS, N.Y. - Harness racing driver Jordan Stratton sat behind 5-year-old mare Mackenzie for the first time last Friday (Feb. 17) as she faced the starting gate for a qualifier at Yonkers Raceway. Starting from post position six, she paced evenly in the early stages before sprinting home late. She posted her final quarter in :27.1 and finished fourth. Although it was her first outing since finishing second in the Breeders Crown for 3-Year-Old fillies at Australia’s Tabcorp Park Melton August 28, the effort pleased Stratton. “I was happy with it. Pete just wanted to run her home a little bit. She did it pretty easily,” he said. “She seems like the real deal to me. It’s tough to tell off one qualifier, but she seems good.” The latest import to join to ranks of trainer Peter Tritton, Mackenzie is already an accomplished mare. She won eight of 19 starts Down Under, including the Group 2 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Blue Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and placed in another seven races en route to A$121,861 in earnings. The November 18, 2012 foal by Rock N Roll Heaven out of Kept For Pleasure took her mark of 1:52.4 at Tabcorp Park Menagle last May. Now, her connections are eager to launch her North American campaign in Friday’s sixth race $50,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace at Yonkers. “She’s probably not 100 percent, but Jordan said to put her in,” Tritton said. “He was very excited about (the qualifier) and said she’s a real good mare. That was pleasing. I haven’t done a lot with her, but she does feel very impressive driving her.” Mackenzie first caught Tritton’s eye when he noticed her in a replay. Soon, he got a call from a friend tipping him off that she was for sale. Tritton purchased Mackenzie and shipped her to the United States just before Christmas. Two months later, she will make her stateside debut. “She looked like a nice horse and looked like she could go around Yonkers, which is the main criteria,” Tritton explained. “She’s a big mare, but she seems to get around the tracks good. She’s got plenty of class. She’s fairly young. It’s a shame she’s got to start up in the top class, but she’s won so much money that she has to start up there for a while.” Preparing a horse for her first races in such short order after crossing the Equator is challenging, but Tritton’s experience training in both Australia and the United States gives him an advantage. He understands horses must cope with drastic changes in seasons and differences in training methodologies. Above all, the process takes patience. “The seasons are exactly the opposite. When we get one in the middle of winter here like we did with her, it was completely in summer there, so it was pretty hard,” Tritton explained. “I just let the horse tell me. You just have to do the best with them that you can during that time and be prepared to back off of them and not work them too hard. “I’m a little bit fortunate because I know how they’re trained there and I know how they’re trained here, so I can sort of put them together a bit,” Tritton continued. “Whereas some guys who haven’t trained over there just train them the way they know here and it’s not really the same.” While Tritton says it takes a horse a full year to fully acclimatize after changing hemispheres, the experience they gain in their first few starts is pivotal to ensuring a smooth transition. In this way, patience in the sulky pays off as well. Stratton will employ a proven strategy in handling Australian horses for the first time: take them off the gate and let them finish strongly. As he puts it, “get the most money the easiest I can do it. “It’s all new to them. New country, new weather in the different hemisphere,” Stratton said. “One or two bad experiences in their first start and it kind of screws them for the rest of their career, but once you get past the first few starts, they’re usually ok.” Tritton is eager to see how Mackenzie fares in Friday’s Filly and Mare Open Handicap, where she’ll start from post position four as a 15-1 outsider on the morning line. A good effort could land her a chance in the upcoming Bluechip Matchmaker Series alongside stablemate Sell A Bit. “I think I’ll put her in the Bluechip,” he said. “I think she has the ability to go in it no problems at all, I just hope that I don’t tap her out the first season because she’s a young mare, but we’ll see how it goes.” While last week’s Filly and Make Open Handicap winner Bedroomconfessions is absent this week, Mackenzie will still face a full field in the distaff feature. Mach It A Par, the 3-1 morning line choice, will make her second start of the year after finishing third in last week’s feature. Last week’s preferred winner Tessa Seelster will start from post eight and is 7-2. Filly and Mare Open runner up last out, Empress Deo is 4-1 and starts from post five. Lispatty, For The Ladies, Regil Elektra, and Shesjustadelight complete the field. First post is 7:10 p.m. by Brandon Valvo for SOA of NY

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 11, 2017 - Bit of a Legend N, last season's winner of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series, returned to the scene of his greatest harness racing triumph for a first 2017 sighting. The now-8-year-old was an even third in the fastest of four qualifiers Saturday night, pacing his mile in 1:55.4 (last quarter :27.2). "I was very pleased," regular driver Jordan Stratton said after his first appearance since last November. "I really didn't want to go that fast, but he seemed fine." Trainer Peter Tritton said he expected to have Bit of a Legend N in the parimutuel entry box next week "event though he's probably going to be assigned an outside post position." A season ago, the Down Under son of Bettor's Delight win 13 of his 28 starts with earnings of $723,850. The 2017 Levy Series begins here Saturday night, March 18th. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 14, 2017- Roland N Rock and harness racing driver Jordan Stratton launched a decisive backside move Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. Away fourth-from assigned post position No. 2-among the half-dozen, Roland N Rock watched as 11-10 choice Limelight Beach (George Brennan) made the lead around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett). Early intervals of :27.1 and a flat 57 seconds should have served the leader well, but alas, nope. Roland N Rock moved at the leader by the 1:25.1 three-quarters, meeting no pushback whatsoever. 'Roland' opened a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, then held off the rival he dragged in-a last-early Blood Brother (Scott Zeron)-by a neck in 1:53.1. P H Supercam was a trapped third, with Sports Bettor (Dan Dube) and Somewhere Fancy (Matt Kakaley) rounding out the payees. Limelight Beach retreated to last. For second choice Roland N Rock, a now-5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding co-owned by Connie & Duane Roland trained by Rob Harmon, it was a season-debuting victory and it was win 39 from 71 lifetime starts. The exacta paid $57, with the triple returning $319.50. Saturday's Pick 5 wager did not get hit, so Sunday's gimmick begins with a double-carryover of $6,426.84 (50-cent base wager, races 6 through 10). Reminder first post for the 'French' 10-race card is 11:30 AM. Frank Drucker

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