07/21/2016 12:03PM

Saratoga Harness: Bit Of A Legend N tackles Wiggle It Jiggleit in Gerrity

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Mike Lizzi
Bit Of A Legend N starts from post one in Saturday's Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga.

While most fans of the sport have spent the previous few weeks discussing the showdowns between Wiggle It Jiggleit, Always B Miki and Freaky Feet Pete, it wasn’t very long ago that Bit Of A Legend N was the talk of the town. The Down Under import meets up with Wiggle It Jiggleit for just the third time in Saturday’s $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial for older pacers at Saratoga Raceway.

Back in March and April, Bit Of A Legend N went on a spectacular six race winning streak while sweeping the George Morton Levy Memorial series at Yonkers Raceway. Along the way he met up with Wiggle It Jiggleit and the pair could not be separated at the wire, as Bit Of A Legend N dug in gamely to pull out the tie and ultimately keep his rival from advancing to the $609,000 Final.

[SARATOGA: Watch Bit Of A Legend N take on Wiggle It Jiggleit in Saturday's Gerrity--Live on DRF!]

Since the impressive Levy run, Bit Of A Legend N has only managed one victory in an Open Handicap at Yonkers Raceway (5/21) that was sandwiched by a sixth-place finish in an Invitational at Pocono Downs in early May and a last-place finish that included a break in the Dorothy Mullin Invitational on May 29 at Harrah’s Philadelphia.

“He couldn’t grab the track at all that day,” said regular driver Jordan Stratton about the miscue at Philly.

With few races on his immediate schedule and having already put in a grueling 13-race campaign through the end of May, Bit Of A Legend N was given the month of June off before qualifying on July 8 at Yonkers in a sharp 1:54 2/5. He proceeded to finish sixth, beaten only 2-1/2 lengths, while starting from the dreaded outside post eight in an Open Handicap at Yonkers to prepare for his Saratoga engagement on Saturday.

“It is hard to make up any ground in that kind of mile,” said Stratton on the sixth-place finish behind fellow Gerrity starter Doctor Butch, who won in a sizzling 1:50 2/5. “He felt really good and paced straight through the wire. Pete (Tritton, trainer) feels the horse is 100% going into the Gerrity and that he didn’t need a whole lot of preparation.”

While the initial instinct of many might be to discount Bit Of A Legend N versus the likely heavily favored Wiggle It Jiggleit on Saturday, their statistics are somewhat comparable in 2016. Both horses have nine wins in 14 starts, though “WIJI” leads North America in earnings at $673,667 to “Legend’s” $473,750.

One advantage for Bit Of A Legend N in the Gerrity is post position. He drew the coveted one-hole while Wiggle It Jiggleit will fire away with driver Montrell Teague from post five in the eight-horse field. That slight edge in posts is something Stratton hopes to take advantage of in the race.

“I think in a half-mile race he can (step up and beat Wiggle It Jiggleit),” said Stratton, who is certainly hoping for a pocket trip behind the logical chalk. “(A pocket trip) would be ideal, but you know how that goes. Nothing works out the way you plan. When we go behind the gate everyone has their own game plan.”

Slated as race seven on a power-packed 14-race card, the Gerrity includes some other interesting players who will be looking to play spoiler. The aforementioned Doctor Butch starts from post two and has a strong history of success on half-mile tracks. Tim Tetrick will drive the Linda Toscano trainee. All Bets Off is another small track specialist that could clearly perk up in his return to the half. He will start from post three with Matt Kakaley in the bike.

Rounding out the field in post order is Artistic Major, Sunfire Blue Chip, Cooperstown, and 2015 champion P H Supercam.

In addition to the Gerrity, the Saratoga card, which gets underway at 7:05 p.m., features two divisions of New York Sire Stakes for the best 3-year-old colt pacers in the state and three Open Handicaps. The highlight of the overnight races is race nine where top older pacing mares Katie Said and Krispy Apple hook up in a strong field of seven.

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