The race just seemed to suit Well Defined’s running style. The Florida-bred son of With Distinction set the early pace and never looked back, drawing off to win the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) gate-to-wire, by a 2 ¾-length margin.
The dark bay colt is owned by Stonehedge Farm, conditioned by Kathleen O’Connell and was ridden to victory by Pablo Morales.
“He’s just a cool horse to ride,” said Morales. “He has a lot of speed, but long speed. I wasn’t too concerned with going to the front. I was just going to use his natural speed to get in a good position and keep him running. I found myself on the lead and actually doing a really comfortable pace. He wasn’t rank. He was just cruising along.
“When I felt the time was right, I just started asking him to make sure the time was right, and made sure to keep his attention. He responded well to everything.”
The Sam F. Davis was Well Defined’s second start in 2019 and fifth consecutive stakes start, with his other stakes victory coming last autumn in the Florida Stallion Stakes’ In Reality division. It was the first time Morales rode Well Defined.
“Kathleen pretty much told me he was a free running horse,” said Morales. “You don’t want to rush him. You don’t want to take a hold. You just have to let him do his own thing. The times that he hasn’t run well have been when he’s been crowded out, or had to be steadied. I was very lucky. I don’t think it would’ve mattered with the way I broke today. I was happy and comfortable with a clear outside post, even if somebody went, I wouldn’t have had to fight him or take a hold.
“I kept him in the clear where he likes it. I really thought he was going to run big for me. I didn’t know if we were going to win, but I was really confident that he was going to run really well and he showed it.”
Morales has won a number of stakes races during his career, but his last graded stakes win came in 2005, with The Daddy, who captured the Super Derby (G2). The Sam F. Davis win was a significant victory.
“Somebody asked me just the other day, if it was his aspiration to win graded stakes,” said Paula Bacon, Morales’ agent. “And I said, ‘His aspirations are to do the best he can.’ I don’t know if that’s one of them, but he did it today. For this lady too, this lady is very special to me, Kathy O’Connell. It’s very cool.”