06/11/2017 8:02AM

Defining Hope romps in ITOBA Stallion Season Fillies

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Defining Hope has never finished worse than second at Indiana Grand.

The combined win and place pools for the $77,750 Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Stallion Season Fillies Stakes on Saturday at Indiana Grand totaled $31,841.

The show pool drew $413,251.

There is no sure thing, but 1-9 favorite Defining Hope, who took an 11 1/4-length victory, was clearly close enough for the betting public. She met expectations with authority, abandoning a field of five Indiana-bred sophomore fillies sired by horses whose connections donated to the ITOBA stallion season auction.

The Strong Hope filly broke outwardly, but quickly corrected her course to track early leader No Bluff Just Hope on her outside flank into the first turn of the one-mile race. The two began to distance themselves from third-place Pass and Go as they entered the back straightaway and set an opening quarter fraction of 25.24 seconds.

Jockey Malcolm Franklin sat confidently on Defining Hope as she stalked No Bluff Just Hope across the backstretch, into a half in 49.55. Franklin never drew his whip as he brought his mount to the leader’s side in the turn, and put her head in front as they passed the quarter pole in 1:12.07. The rider spent more time looking behind him for challengers than urging his mount down the stretch, and the two loped off to the win.

No Bluff Just Hope was well clear of third-place Pass and Go by 4 1/2 lengths.

Defining Hope completed the one-mile race in 1:39 flat over a fast main track, and she paid $2.10 to win as the overwhelming favorite.

The filly runs as a homebred for Colette Marie Vanmatre, and she is trained by Barbara McBride. McBride also trained third-place Pass and Go, who was cataloged to be offered at the ITOBA 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age sale on Sunday afternoon at Indiana Grand.

Defining Hope’s win on Saturday improved her record to five wins in eight career starts. It was her fourth time winning in stakes company, all coming at Indiana Grand, where she has never finished worse than second. The filly entered Saturday’s race off a 9 1/2-length win in the Swifty Sired Fillies Stakes on May 24.