June 12, 2024

Legend of Time just gets up in Pennine Ridge

Legend of Time wins the Pennine Ridge at Belmont at the Big A
Legend of Time (left) wins the Pennine Ridge at Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photography)

Things didn’t pan out so well for hot favorite Legend of Time in his U.S. debut on Kentucky Derby Day, but the Charlie Appleby trainee worked out the winning trip in Saturday’s $200,000 Pennine Ridge (G2) at Aqueduct. The 9-10 favorite got the needed split in deep stretch to head pacesetter White Palomino at the wire.

In addition to the possible help of acclimation, Legend of Time had two key changes in the wake of his disappointing fifth in the American Turf (G2). New pilot Joel Rosario handled him more patiently than Frankie Dettori did in a pace-chasing role at Churchill Downs, and the added distance of the 1 1/8-mile Pennine Ridge played to his strengths.

But the game plan didn’t come off without a hitch. Legend of Time bobbled out of the gate, putting himself perhaps further back than envisioned. The Sea the Stars colt had to rally from last in a steadily-run race, and find an inside seam in a bunched-up field. Eventual third-placer Royal Majesty wasn’t as fortunate.

White Palomino leveraged his rail draw to take control early, in a race devoid of an obvious front runner, and he nearly pulled off the coup. Carving out splits of :23.67, :48.76, and 1:12.98 on the firm outer course, the 4.90-1 chance had more up his sleeve. Early stalkers Cable Ready and St James the Great couldn’t quicken as much as White Palomino, who continued to hold sway into the stretch.

Meanwhile, Royal Majesty left the rail and angled out in expectation of running room, only to have Triple Espresso keep him pocketed. Rosario, on the other hand, stuck to the inside path for Legend of Time and played for luck.

The gambit worked as just enough of a gap materialized, and Legend of Time had the gears to exploit it. Surging between foes in the final strides, he collared White Palomino in 1:47.73.

Royal Majesty finished with interest another 1 1/4 lengths back in third, edging Cable Ready. Next came St James the Great and Triple Espresso. Risk Tolerance was a late scratch by the veterinarian.

The Pennine Ridge trifecta earned an automatic invitation to the July 6 Belmont Derby (G1), also staged at Aqueduct.

Legend of Time has been mentioned as a candidate for New York’s Turf Triple since his exploits at the Dubai Carnival, so the Godolphin brain trust will likely consider the 1 3/16-mile opening leg.

“Joel had him in a nice rhythm,” Appleby’s assistant Chris Connett said, “and he was nice and relaxed compared to his last run at Churchill. That’s what Charlie was hoping for – to get him in a good and relaxed rhythm. We know he’s a horse that always finishes off his races really strongly, so we had every confidence in Joel.

“Obviously, when you’re an eighth from the wire and haven’t quite got out yet, you have a little worry but once the gap came, he quickened up nicely. He’s a smart horse.”

“That worked out good,” Rosario said. “I mean, I was trapped inside there for a little bit. It looked like I had the horse, so it worked out good.

“The instructions were try to follow along and hopefully he will relax. Then, go from there. It looked like he relaxed really nice, and I just had to find a place to go. He was the best horse in the race.”

Indeed, Legend of Time was better than the bare margin, between the race dynamics and his conceding four pounds as the 122-pound highweight.

Legend of Time’s first graded victory improved his record to 7-5-0-0, $393,754. Overcoming traffic to get up in his debut at Haydock last September, he tried the Somerville Tattersall (G3) at Newmarket but found himself outpaced in fifth. Legend of Time wasn’t seen again until the Carnival at Meydan, where he rattled off a hat trick capped by the about nine-furlong Jumeirah Classic.

Bred by Lordship Stud and Sunderland Holding in Great Britain, Legend of Time was purchased for almost $175,000 as a Tattersalls October yearling. He is a half-brother to Group 1 winner Loving Dream as well as Grade 1-placed stakes scorer Amandine.

Their dam, the Group 1-placed Kissable, scored her stakes laurel in the 2012 Waya S. at Saratoga. The Danehill Dancer mare is herself out of Kitty O’Shea, a stakes-winning full sister to 2003 St Leger (G1) star Brian Boru. This is also the immediate family of European champion Workforce, who turned the Epsom Derby (G1)/Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) double in 2010.