Saturday, October 11, 2014

Resending: Legendary rolls to victory in G3 Knickerbocker

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

** Fixes site of Japan Racing Association Stakes to Laurel Park**


Saturday, October 11, 2014


Legendary rolls to victory in G3 Knickerbocker


By Jenny Kellner


ELMONT, N.Y. - The well-travelled Legendary found the yielding turf at Belmont Park to his liking on Saturday, coming from off the pace and going on to a 1 ¼-length victory over favored Up With the Birds in the 55th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Knickerbocker.


With Sheldon Russell in the irons, Legendary was content to run in third, just a few lengths behind Plainview, through an opening quarter-mile in 23.90 seconds and a half in 49.07. Moving up on the turn, the 5-year-old Legendary turned for home in full stride and quickly took command to complete the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.65.


"It was a perfect set up," said Russell, who rode legendary to win the Japan Racing Association Stakes at Laurel Park on September 6. "I know the inside horses had a little bit of speed; I was happy that he broke well and put me in a great spot with such a short run into the first turn. After then, well, he's so good. As long as he's on the outside, he comes home real good. Being from England, he'd run on softer courses, so I knew today wasn't going to be a problem for him."


It was the third victory in as many starts at Belmont Park for Legendary, who took a first-level allowance in May and added an optional claiming victory over a similarly yielding course in July. He then finished in a dead heat for third in the Lure at Saratoga Race Course before winning the Japan Racing Association Stakes.


"This is my first graded stakes; this horse won my first stake a month ago," said Niall Saville, who trains the gelded son of Exceed and Excel for former jockey great Walter Swiburn. "I'm very, very pleased. I was a little nervous with the long stretch here, but they weren't catching him."


Legendary, who began his career in Great Britain and made his North American debut in April at Keeneland Race Course, enhanced his record to 6-5-2 from 19 career starts. The winner's purse of $120,000 extended his earnings to $293,219 and he returned $10.20 for a $2 win bet.


"It's a huge honor to train for Walter Swinburn, and for them to send me a horse like this it's just been great," said Saville. "I'd won at Saratoga Race Course and at Aqueduct Racetrack, but until this year I hadn't gotten it done at Belmont. This race had been the goal."


Checking in third, 1 ½ lengths behind the late-closing Up With the Birds, was Mshawish, who was followed under the wire by Plainview, Speaking of Which, and Winning Cause. Easter Gift, Tricky Hat, and Za Approval were scratched.




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