Defining Hope displays talent in ITOBA Stallion Season Fillies Stake

Defining Hope and Malcolm Franklin proved why they were the heavy favorites in the fourth running of the $75,000 ITOBA Stallion Season Fillies Stake Saturday, June 10 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The duo took control of the race in the stretch and rallied out to a three-length advantage at the wire.

Defining Hope has her ears up as she nears the wire for her easy win in the $75,000 ITOBA Stallion Season Fillies Stakes Saturday, June 10. Malcolm Franklin is aboard the sophomore filly. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post two in the condensed field of five, Defining Hope got away from the gate in second and was perfectly satisfied to track No Bluff Just Hope and Eddie Perez through the early stages of the one-mile event. The front runners put some distance between them and the rest of the field by the time the final turn had arrived. That was Franklin’s cue to take over. He moved the three-year-old Strong Hope filly out and around No Bluff Just Hope in the turn and the two matched each other stride for stride for a short time in the early stretch.

Halfway through the stretch, Defining Hope wore down No Bluff Just Hope, who did not give in easily and moved into the lead with ease, rallying home for her fifth win in eight career starts. No Bluff Just Hope was a comfortable second as Pass and Go and Constantino Roman maintained positioning for third.

Rachel McLaughlin, on air racing personality, interviews trainer Barbara McBride and owner Colette Vanmatre following their win with Defining Hope in the ITOBA Stallion Season Fillies Stakes. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

“She (Defining Hope) can be a little bit of a handful at times,” said Franklin. “But Barb and her barn work well with her. She is a very talented filly and was much the best in this race tonight. I’d like to thank Ms. Colette (Vanmatre) and Ms. Barb for this opportunity to ride her.”

Franklin, a native of South Carolina, was the leading rider at Indiana Grand in 2013, establishing several records that year, including most wins in one season at 158 wins. The win aboard Defining Hope meant a little more celebration to him as his mother was in town for the race and also to celebrate his birthday.

Defining Hope paid $2.10 across the board as the heavy favorite. She increased her career bankroll to more than $270,000 with her win, which was her fourth stakes win for owner-breeder Colette Vanmatre of Westfield, Ind. Defining Hope is Vanmatre’s first venture into horse racing, raising Defining Hope from the mare, On the Point, which she bought from a sale as a three-year-old.

“This is awesome,” said Vanmatre of her experience so far with Defining Hope. “I can’t even express how thrilled I am with her. I have a colt coming up in about a month, so I’m excited about that as well.”