09/06/2014 5:38PM

Legendary gives trainer Saville first stakes victory

Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Legendary, with Sheldon Russell aboard, takes the Japan Racing Association Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths Saturday.

LAUREL Md. – Trainer Niall Saville had Legendary cross-entered in the $100,000 Japan Racing Association Stakes at Laurel Park and the $100,000 Yankee Affair Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday. Saville chose to run at Laurel, and the result was a strong 2 1/4-length victory that gave the Irish trainer his first stakes victory.

Legendary, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Walter Swinburn, is now 3 for 5 since being imported to the United States from Britain over the winter, and by the look of things, there are bigger and better things to come. In Britain, he was 2 for 13.

"He's the least-mature 5-year-old I ever had," Saville said. "When we brought him over here from Great Britain, he was a very nervous horse. The biggest thing was to get him to relax."

Saville, a former jump rider, has been training on his own since 2008 and is based at Fair Hill. He has 33 career wins.

Legendary was reserved early by jockey Sheldon Russell, moved up three wide on the far turn, then accelerated when Russell asked him in upper stretch.

"When we hit the front, I tapped him once, and he really exploded," Russell said.

Legendary covered 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:41.52. The mile split was 1:35.63, and he looked good in getting his final sixteenth in under 6 seconds. His first two U.S. wins came in first- and second-level allowance races at Belmont Park.

Runner-up Under Control also went well, working his way into the clear in upper stretch after racing along the inside. He had two lengths on third-place finisher Hamp at the wire.

Eighttofasttocatch, making his first start of the year, was a bit fresh and set the pace for six furlongs before tiring to finish last in the eight-horse field. Trainer Tim Keefe is pointing him to the Maryland Million Classic, a race he has won twice before.