05/26/2017 11:53PM

Western Fair: Bit Of A Legend N prevails in Molson Pace Invitational

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Angie Goodfellow
Bit Of A Legend N scored his first North America win away from Yonkers Raceway in Friday's Molson Pace Invitational

Bit Of A Legend N delivered as the odds-on favorite in the C$150,000 Molson Pace Invitational on Friday night at The Raceway at Western Fair District, controlling most of the tempo and sealing the deal when called upon to do so.

Starting from the advantageous post one, Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) allowed defending Molson champion Evenin Of Pleasure (Sylvain Filion) to clear early from post five, but Stratton was right back out to gain command at the 26 3/5 opening quarter.  Stratton was then able to back the pace down in the second quarter, getting to the half in just 55 3/5, with Night Pro (Bob McClure) moving up to challenge first-over, followed by Clear Vision (Brett Miller), the 3-1 second choice.

Night Pro's bid stalled as they raced up the backstretch for the final time, and Clear Vision was three-high to try and get around him as Bit Of A Legend N reached three-quarters in 1:23 3/5.  Clear Vision didn't advance either, though, allowing Evenin Of Pleasure and Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald), who had been sitting third on the rail, to have ample clearance at the pace-setter in the lane.

Bit Of A Legend N had no intentions on letting it slip away, though, and a 28 second final quarter closed the door on the competition, with the public choice hitting the finish line 1 3/4 lengths to the good in a 1:51 3/5 mile.  Evenin Of Pleasure, Sunfire Blue Chip, Rockin In Heaven (Trevor Henry), and Rockin Ron (Matt Kakaley) rounded out the top-five finishers.

"The rail's a great spot here because the turns come so quick if you can hold your position to there," said Stratton.  "The front-end's been holding up all night, and I was just lucky to have the rail.  Sylvain had a real class-act horse.  Year-in, year-out he's here in the Molson, and he's always near the front.  I was lucky to get back to the front and control the fractions.

"I was glad I didn't have Clear Vision first-over on me.  At that point (three-quarters) I was a little confident."

The winner is an 8-year-old Bettor's Delight stallion trained by Peter Tritton for owner Harry Von Knoblauch Stable.  This was Bit Of A Legend N's 37th career victory, and he has now earned C$1,600,011.  He paid $3.80 to win.

The undercard features were a pair of C$95,600 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events for 3-year-old colt pacers, and they were won by Walter Mitty (Mach Three) in 1:56 3/5 for driver Louis-Philippe Roy, trainer Richard Moreau, and owner Synerco Ventures Inc. and Happy Trio (Mach Three) in 1:53 for driver Doug McNair, trainer Tony O'Sullivan, and owners Domenic Chiaravalle, Lorne Keller, and O'Sullivan Racing Inc.