Hightstown, NJ — New Zealand-bred star Bit Of A Legend is ready to make his 2019 debut in Saturday’s (Feb. 16) $44,000 Open Handicap at Yonkers Raceway and trainer Peter Tritton says the 10-year-old stallion looks as good as ever.
Last year, Bit Of A Legend won five of 21 races, finished second seven times, and earned $549,315. His victories included the Battle of Lake Erie in a career-best 1:49.4 around Northfield Park’s half-mile oval and he was runner-up in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship, Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial, and Dan Rooney Invitational.
Since arriving in the U.S. in 2016, Bit Of A Legend has won 26 of 77 races and earned $1.79 million. Other top wins include the Gerrity, Bobby Quillen Memorial, and Molson Pace in 2017 and the 2016 Levy championship.
“To me, he seems to be coming up every bit as good as he did last year and the year before,” said Tritton, who trains Bit Of A Legend for Vonknoblauch Stable LLC. “He’s probably a little more forward this year than he was last year. We gave him a month off, but we couldn’t give him much more because he got too full of himself. But he had a really good break. I’m very happy with where he is at the moment.”
Bit Of A Legend, driven regularly by Jordan Stratton, is a son of Bettor’s Delight out of Soky’s Legend. He was a two-time Australasian Breeders Crown champion Down Under, where he won 20 times and earned $659,686, giving him lifetime earnings of $2.45 million.
Tritton will use the next month to prep Bit Of A Legend for the Levy Series, which begins March 16 at Yonkers. The series consists of five preliminary rounds followed by a $200,000-added final on April 20.
“With any luck through the series he should be right there,” Tritton said. “We’ll give him one or two more runs before the (preliminary rounds). The beauty of him is that he can go right through without a break. He enjoys his work and Jordan looks after him pretty good.
“I just hope we can get through the series and get to the final and draw good. I thought he could have won the last couple if he had drawn better, but he drew the outside both times. It’s hard to win those finals from the outside.”
Tritton is planning to keep Bit Of A Legend on a schedule similar to previous years, although he might not stake the stallion to events on bigger tracks. Bit Of A Legend is winless in eight starts on tracks larger than a half, with two on-the-board finishes.
“He can go around the big tracks, but he’s so slick on a half and can get around those corners so quick,” Tritton said. “I think he loses his advantage on the big tracks, where some of them gain an advantage.”
Bit Of A Legend is one of 10 horses in Tritton’s stable. Three other New Zealand-breds could compete in series action at Yonkers, with Pacing Major pointed toward the Levy and mares Sell A Bit and Shezza GNP penciled in for the Blue Chip Matchmaker.
“Pacing Major is not as good as Legend, but he’s a good racehorse,” Tritton said. “With the right trip he can go (1):51 around Yonkers. He’s done it a couple of times. I think he’ll acquit himself quite well.
“In the Matchmaker, I’ll run Shezza GNP. She’s probably not good enough to win, but she’ll be right there. She can go with those mares. I may run Sell A Bit. She’s qualifying on Friday. She’s getting close to a million dollars. I’d love to get her to a million dollars. I think I might give her another shot at it.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed. We just need a bit of luck.”
For Saturday’s complete Yonkers entries, click here.