Well Defined parlayed an easy early lead into an easy victory in the $400,000 In Reality Division of the 2018 Florida Sire Stakes series Saturday at Gulfstream Park, providing Stonehedge LLC's Gil Campbell and trainer Kathleen O'Connell with their 11th victories in the series for juveniles sired by stallions standing in Florida.
“I don't keep count, because they're all very special,” said O'Connell after her first success in the 1 1/16-mile FSS open division finale that co-headlined Saturday's eight stakes worth $1.325 million with the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile FSS finale for fillies.
Well Defined went right to the lead under jockey Carlos Montalvo and set comfortable fractions of 24.57 and 48.33 seconds for the first half-mile. Garter and Tie, who caught Well Defined by a half-length in the seven-furlong FSS Susan's Girl last time out, progressed along the backstretch to enter contention heading into the far turn. Emisael Jaramillo sent Garter and Tie after the pacesetter on the turn into the homestretch but was never able to make a serious threat as Campbell's homebred colt drew off to a 7 ½-length score in 1:44.47.
“Unbelievable horse. For the distance he relaxed even more. Miss O'Connell did an amazing job with him in the morning teaching him to relax with the pony,” Montalvo said. “When we got to the backside he let me set to cruise control and catch our breath, so when we got to the front side it was over. I didn't have to ask him, it was an amazing ride.”
Garter and Tie, the 7-5 favorite, finished second, 14 ½ lengths ahead Gump.
Well Defined, a son of With Distinction who broke his maiden at first asking at 4 ½ furlongs June 2 before finishing third in an optional claiming allowance and second in the Susan's Girl, has been a work in progress.
“He's always shown he has a lot of talent. He was like a mischievous Dennis the Menace. It's just getting it all together at the right time,” O'Connell said.
Although Well Defined was unable to hold off Garter and Tie in the second leg of the FSS series, O'Connell had no qualms about his ability to carry his speed around two turns.
“I actually liked him better going farther. To me it's so much easier on a horse rather all the hoopla going short,” said O'Connell, who recently saddled the 2000th winner of her career to rank second all-time among women trainers.
O'Connell was noncommittal when asked if Well Defined could be headed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.
“I'm am going to enjoy today, as I'm sure [Mr. Campbell] will, and go from there,” she said. “We'll see how he comes out of the race and come up with a plan that makes sense.”
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.