Legendary gets well-earned retirement

by | Aug 4, 2016 | Breaking, Features, Happy Endings, Maryland, MD Racing, Racing |

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

Walter Swinburn’s Grade 3 winner Legendary, who earned more than a half-million dollars over 36 starts in the United States and England and won the 2014 Japan Racing Association Stakes at Laurel Park, has been retired.

Fair Hill-based trainer Niall Saville said the 7-year-old gelding, winless in four starts this year and 12 overall dating back to his victory the 2014 Knickerbocker (G3) at Aqueduct, would remain on a small farm near the training facility until a decision is made on future plans in the spring.

In his last race, Legendary ran fourth of five behind Grade 1 winner Twilight Eclipse in a 1 3/8-mile turf allowance July 8 at Belmont Park, beaten 6 ½ lengths.

“We’ve dwelled on it for six months now. It was a very difficult decision because he’s doing everything quite well at home and never really changed,” Saville said. “The races this year you could really give him an excuse with bad ground or funny trips until the last day we ran him in New York. He had a perfect trip. He may not have won the race but he definitely would have got away from them and had a turn of foot that he used to have, and he just didn’t have that. We got back and digested it and decided it was time to stop on him while he was healthy.”

Bred in England, Legendary made his first 13 starts overseas before joining Saville in the spring of 2014. He was first or second in five of his first six starts for Saville, including the JRA Stakes and Knickerbocker, also running third behind Grade 1 winner Big Blue Kitten in the 2014 Lure Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

He retires with six wins, six seconds, three thirds and $508,219 in purse earnings. Third in the Grade 1 Manhattan last June, he was fifth in the 2015 Dixie (G2) at Pimlico and second in the Commonwealth Cup (G2) and the Richard Small Stakes last year at Laurel in his other Maryland starts.

“He was a massive part of my stable and the reason that I’m in business now. He came along at the right time,” Saville said. “He was my first stakes winner and first graded-stakes winner, so I owe him a lot. I think I should have won the Manhattan with him. I thought he had that big race in him, but we were third and we never really got back to that race. Third was a pretty good run for him.”

Saville said Legendary will remain in the United States and possibly be retrained to be a riding horse. Saville and his wife, who often traveled in the back of a horse van with Legendary when he was shipped out of town for races, are keeping an eye on him.

“He’s been at the farm about a week. I actually stopped out to see him three times,” Saville said. “It’s a bit of a shame not having him in the barn. The ones like him, you miss them. Hopefully, I can find a new one because they don’t come along every day.”

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