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Cross Traffic’s Defining Purpose triumphs over stellar Ashland S. (G1) field

April 8, 2023

Defining Purpose prevails in the 2023 Ashland S. (G1) - Coady photography

Defining Purpose prevails in the 2023 Ashland S. (G1) – Coady photography

Defining Purpose earned a trip to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) with a rousing win in Friday’s $600,000 Ashland S. (G1) at Keeneland in the first graded stakes win for the 3-year-old daughter of Cross Traffic.

The gray/roan filly tallied her first 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, assuring herself a spot in the starting gate for the May 5th race at Churchill Downs.

Defining Purpose got an ideal trip under jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. Although she was bumped a bit going into the first turn, she held a good spot in second behind Effortlesslyegant as the field entered the backstretch. The running order stayed the same through six furlongs in 1:11.64, and soon after Defining Purpose challenged the pacesetter for the lead. She took command entering the stretch, then held off both Punchbowl and Julia Shining to win by a half-length in 1:43.31 for the 1 1/16-miles on a fast track.

“I’m not overly surprised,” said winning trainer Ken McPeek. “She had a couple of reasons why–she fell off a little bit of form in her last two (at Oaklawn Park). She hooked a couple of muddy racetracks. The last trip she had was really wide and wider.”

Defining Purpose was bred in Kentucky by Colette VanMatre, who owns the filly along with James Ball and Sherri McPeek’s Magdalena Racing.

The winner is the first foal out of Defining Hope, who was a four-time stakes winner. Defining Purpose is the second U.S. Grade 1 winner for Cross Traffic; his first was the Champion 2-year-old Filly Jaywalk. Cross Traffic is also the sire of Panamanian Horse of the Year Capocostello and the Puerto Rican champion 2-year-old colt Cross Dancer.

Defining Purpose’s earnings now stand at $543,688 from a record of 3-0-1 in seven starts.