03/24/2016 3:48PM

Yonkers: Bit Of A Legend N is making a name for himself in Levy

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Mike Lizzi
Bit Of A Legend N has never finished worse than second since coming to North America.

The George Morton Levy series enters second round action on Saturday night and already it’s starting to look like a Down-Under affair. The prominence of imported stock has escalated over the years and perhaps the race will see it’s first champion from the Southern Hemisphere in 2016. Trainer Peter Tritton may indeed have the goods in first round winner Bit Of A Legend N, an impressive looking son of duel-continent sire Bettor’s Delight.

“He’s the best horse I’ve ever had,” said Tritton, a 65-year-old conditioner that has done rather nicely with horses purchased in New Zealand and Australia.

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“We got the opportunity to buy him because he reached the top level and there was no way for them to make money with him,” said Tritton.

Unlike North America, when horses reach an elite level in New Zealand they are not permitted to drop in class. Thus the sixth best horse in the country could in fact find it difficult to make money. “They could have raced him in Australia,” said Tritton, but they really didn’t want to ship him around.”

The good fortune for Tritton and owner Harry von Knoblauch was a horse delivered to North America for a hefty, yet reasonable six-figure price tag.

“I’m pretty careful with them when they come over,” said Tritton. “I had Tim (Tetrick) drive many of them and he understood that you have to take it easy with them at first. With Tim not driving at Yonkers, I’ve had Jordan Stratton drive them and he’s done a great job.”

Stratton, who will sit behind Bit Of A Legend N in the third of five $50,000 divisions on Saturday night, has also confirmed the horse to be the best he’s sat behind and that’s only with the benefit of five starts.

“He’s a very handy horse and you can race him any way you like,” said Tritton, “In this series you still have to be lucky and draw well."

On Saturday, Bit Of A Legend N drew post four in the eighth race of 12 and that puts him inside first leg winner Mach It So (post 6) as well as the classy All Bets Off (post 7), a horse he beat rather handily in 1:52 flat in opening round action.

Bit Of A Legend N has already won nearly half of his purchase price, but Tritton didn’t take that as a guarantee when they purchased the horse.

“I knew he was a nice horse. He won the Breeders Crown in Australia as a 2 and 3-year-old,” said Tritton.

Last year, once the horse got in too deep in New Zealand, he won just one time in 17 starts. That’s after winning 19 of his first 46 starts.

Texican N, a Levy finalist in 2014 for Tritton, was just a head shy of Take It Back Terry in the opening round. Also by Bettor’s Delight, he drew post two in the fifth race and first division on Saturday.

“He’s a good horse that made a lot of money last year just showing up every week,” said Tritton of the hard-hitting gelding.

Texican N faces first round winner Lucan Hanover (post 6) as well as another recent import, Te Kawau N (post 1), making his first start in North America.

Tritton is also sitting in a good spot in the Blue Chip Matchmaker with second leg action on Friday night. His Sell A Bit N didn’t draw well in the opening round but she raced rather impressively.

“She’s a very nice mare,” said Tritton of the pacing mare that arrived last August and made an immediate impact.

Sell A Bit N captured her last five starts in 2015, all Open Handicaps at Yonkers, setting her up as one of the horses to beat in this year’s lucrative Blue Chip Matchmaker series.

Outside posts have neutralized Sell A Bit N thus far this year, but on Friday she drew post four in one of three $40,000 divisions and could be ready for her first win of the year.

“Post position is crucial,” said Tritton in regards to both series. “But I wouldn’t trade my two (Sell A Bit N and Bit Of A Legend N) for any others.”

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