Stonehedge homebred stakes winner Well Defined exited his first career off-the-board finish in good order and could launch his sophomore season in the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes on New Year's Day.
The one-mile Mucho Macho Man kicks off Gulfstream's series of races for 3-year-olds leading up to the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) March 30 that includes the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) Feb. 2 and the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) March 2, both at 1 1/16 miles.
“He's doing super,” trainer Kathleen O'Connell said. “We're looking at maybe bringing him back in the stake here on the first of January, the one-turn mile.”
A gelded son of Grade 3 sprint winner With Distinction, Well Defined won his unveiling June 2 at Gulfstream and after finishing third in his first try against winners, ran second by a half-length to Garter and Tie in the seven-furlong Affirmed division of the Florida Sire Stakes Sept. 1.
Well Defined avenged that loss with a front-running 7 ½-length romp over runner-up Garter and Tie in the 1 1/16-mile FSS In Reality Sept. 29, punching his ticket to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) Nov. 2. Garter and Tie skipped the Breeders' Cup and won the one-mile Smooth Air Stakes Dec. 8 at Gulfstream.
Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith in the Breeders' Cup, Well Defined came out at the start, was in contention for a half mile and had to steady at the five-sixteenths pole before fading to finish ahead of one horse in the field of 14. He returned to the work tab with a half-mile breeze in 48.40 seconds Dec. 2 at Tampa Bay Downs, eighth-fastest of 77.
“If you watch the break his whole a** end went out. He didn't get bothered but it was like he broke so hard, his a** end went out from underneath him, so now he was actually a jump behind,” O'Connell said of the Breeders' Cup. “It wasn't terrible but it really compromised him because now he's in the pocket on the inside, not where he really wants to be. Mike didn't beat him up. He took care of him.”
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