05/24/2017 6:04PM

Ron, Defining Hope deliver as favorites in Indiana stakes

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Leandro Goncalves guides even-money choice Ron to a 1 1/2-length win in the Sagamore Sired Stakes.

The strong favorites both prevailed in a pair of Indiana-sired stakes on Wednesday at Indiana Grand Racecourse.

Ron, who paid $4 to win, scored by 1 1/2 lengths geared down in the $104,500 Sagamore Sired Stakes for Indiana-sired 3-year-olds. Defining Hope, who paid $3.60, won the $104,500 Swifty Sired for Indiana-bred 3-year-old fillies in an absolute romp, scoring by 9 1/2 lengths after a wide trip around the turn.

Ron was bred by Carol Renn, is owned and trained by Marvin Johnson, and was ridden to victory by Leandro Goncalves. By Mondavi and out of the Timeraker mare Colton’s Dilemma, Ron ran his record to 3-4-1 from nine starts while winning for the first time in 2017.

One of the better Indiana-bred 2-year-olds of 2016, Ron had finished second and fourth in two decent runs to start his campaign this year, and he appeared to appreciate turning back from one mile to six furlongs on Wednesday. Ron, racing several paths from the rail, stalked fractions 22.43 and 46.26 seconds into and around the Sagamore Sired’s one turn before taking over at the top of the stretch. Comfortably ahead at the stretch call, he was not ridden aggressively to the finish, stopping the timer in 1:11.34 as longshot Leo D cut into the lead and got within 1 1/2 lengths at the finish. Calandave finished another three lengths back in third.

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Defining Hope didn’t have to run as fast as Ron (she went six furlongs in 1:12.05) to win even more easily. Under Malcolm Franklin, Defining Hope was sixth after a quarter-mile in 22.61 and third through a half-mile in 46.64 before asserting control. She cruised to a clear lead in upper stretch and increased her advantage to the finish as Passion Rush, a first-time starter, plugged away to get second. Four lengths farther back came second-choice No Bluff Just Hope, who edged Cora Anne for third.

Defining Hope is a homebred owned by Colette Marie Vanmatre and trained by Barbara McBride. The filly, by Strong Hope and out of the Point Given mare On the Point, now has a record of 4-2-0 from seven starts.