Cross Traffic Filly Upsets Ashland for McPeek

Defining Purpose (f, 3, Cross Traffic–Defining Hope, by Strong Hope) lit up the tote board at 20-1 to upset Friday’s GI Central Bank Ashland S. on opening day at Keeneland.

The gray sat a dream trip in a stalking second behind a longshot leader through fractions of :23.62 and :47.25. She turned up the heat rounding the far turn, gained command at the top of the stretch, and, after enjoying a clear lead down the lane, held the rallying duo of previously unbeaten and favored Punchbowl (Uncle Mo) and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Julia Shining (Curlin) safe by a diminishing half-length. Last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine and champion 2-year-old filly Wonder Wheel (Into Mischief) never factored while sixth.

Defining Purpose posted a six-length maiden win going two turns at Churchill Downs at second asking in an auction-restricted maiden special weight Nov. 17. Fifth at 22-1 in the GII Golden Rod S. Nov. 26, she concluded her juvenile campaign with a strong win with first-time Lasix in Oaklawn’s Year’s End S. Dec. 31. She made two previous starts at Oaklawn this term–both against potential GI Kentucky Oaks favorite Wet Paint (Blame)–finishing third as the favorite after leading in the stretch in the Martha Washington S. Jan. 28 and a flat sixth in the slop in the GIII Honeybee S. last time Feb. 25.

Defining Purpose’s Ashland win was good for 100 Kentucky Oaks points.

“I’m not overly surprised,” said winning trainer Ken McPeek, who also won this race in 2002 with Take Charge Lady and in 2014 with Rosalind. “She had a couple of reasons why–she fell off a little bit of form in her last two. She hooked a couple of muddy race tracks. The last trip she had was really wide and wider.”

Winning rider Brian Hernandez, Jr. added, “[Her early position] was great. When she went around the first turn and got her position so nice and smoothly and settled into a nice rhythm, going down the backside I was just thinking to myself, ‘Be patient, just wait and wait and let her travel well.’ And that’s what she did. When she turned for home she kicked on, and with the short stretch to the sixteenth pole, I was pretty confident in her.”

Pedigree Notes:

Defining Purpose, a $14,000 KEEJAN RNA as a short yearling, becomes the second graded winner, both at the highest level, for Cross Traffic, who is also represented by champion Jaywalk. The 2018 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine was third in this same race the following season. She becomes the third graded winner for broodmare sire Strong Hope.

The Indiana-bred Defining Hope, a three-time stakes-winning homebred for Colette M. Vanmatre, is also represented by the 2-year-old filly Defining Joy (Runhappy) and a Csaba filly of this year.

Friday, Keeneland
CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND S.-GI, $600,000, Keeneland, 4-7, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:43.31, ft.
1–DEFINING PURPOSE, 121, f, 3, by Cross Traffic
                1st Dam: Defining Hope (MSW, $306,238), by Strong Hope
                2nd Dam: On the Point, by Point Given
                3rd Dam: Longingtobeme, by Belong to Me
Ylg ’21 KEEJAN). O-Magdalena Racing (Sherri McPeek), Colette
Marie VanMatre and James Ball; B-Colette Marie VanMatre
(KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek; J-Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.
$362,700. Lifetime Record: 7-3-0-1, $543,688. Werk Nick
Rating: B+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Punchbowl, 121, f, 3, by Uncle Mo
                1st Dam: Devilish Lady (GSW, $400,318), by Sweetsouthernsaint
                2nd Dam: Devilish Brunette, by Diablo
                3rd Dam: Appealing Brunette, by Valid Appeal
TYPE. O/B-Gary & Mary West Stables Inc. (KY); T-Brad H. Cox.
3–Julia Shining, 121, f, 3, by Curlin
                1st Dam: Dreaming of Julia (GISW, $874,500), by A.P. Indy
                2nd Dam: Dream Rush, by Wild Rush
                3rd Dam: Turbo Dream, by Unbridled
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE.TDN Rising Star‘. O/B-Stonestreet
Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $58,500.
Margins: HF, NK, 3 1/4. Odds: 20.34, 1.26, 5.21.
Also Ran: Guns n’ Graces, Effortlesslyelgant, Wonder Wheel, Pride of the Nile.
Click for the chart and the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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