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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

BOLAND’S FIRST (STAKES) W

Edited Gulfstream Release – Although Perfect Silent Cat entered Saturday’s $60,000 Aventura at Gulfstream Park as a maiden, trainer Sharon Boland had a high level of confidence in the son of Tale of the Cat.

            “I knew what I had,” Boland said. “You can make those moves when you know what you have running for you.”

            Perfect Silent Cat rewarded Boland’s faith by providing her with her first stakes victory on her own, although she is hardly a newcomer to the stakes game.

            The daughter of Bill Boland, the Hall of Fame jockey who won the 1950 Kentucky Derby aboard Middleground, Sharon has been training and working with horses for more than 30 years.

            “Unfortunately, because my father was a steward, they wouldn’t let me run horses in my name. In those days, they thought it was a conflict of interest, so I took a back seat and let my [then] husband [multiple graded stakes-winning trainer Anthony Mitchell] run them in his name,” said Boland, who has 21 horses stabled at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, in her second year of training her own public stable.”

            The Charles Fipke-bred Perfect Silent Cat ($27.20) was purchased for $6,000 in February at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Mixed Sale by Shamrock Highlands Thoroughbreds.

           “The owner is a new client who bought him and brought him to our stable. We couldn’t figure why he slipped through the cracks,” said Boland, whose 89-year-old father lives in Palm Coast, FL and plays golf frequently. “We found a few little things we were able to fix, and from the second we fixed his little issues, he’s been a 100-precent performer who gives you everything. He’s the nicest colt I’ve been around – just a class act.”

            Perfect Silent Cat had run three prior races – an off-the-board debut on dirt, a third-place finish on turf and a runner-up finish in the June 26 Not Surprising Stakes over a yielding Gulfstream turf course last time out. The Kentucky-bred colt was the beneficiary of a perfect trip under Luca Panici, pressing the pace outside Rabdan past fractions of 24.47 and 48.04 seconds for the first half mile of the mile overnight handicap before drawing away to a three-length score.

            Perfect Silent Cat carried low weight of 114 pounds, 10 fewer pounds than highweight Papetu, the 1-5 favorite who finished fourth following a rough trip in traffic. Perfect Silent Cat ran a mile over a sealed sloppy track in 1:36.35.  Emperor’s Cause finished second following a three-wide trip, a neck ahead of a tiring Rabdan, who was 1 ¼ lengths clear of Papetu, who had captured the Carry Back Stakes in his prior start.

                        Well Defined Prevails in Saturday’s $75,000 Benny The Bull

            Graded-stakes winner Well Defined continued a successful comeback Saturday at Gulfstream Park, capturing the $75,000 Benny The Bull Stakes by the rapidly diminishing winning margin of a neck.

            The 5-year-old son of With Distinction, who captured the 2019 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs Gil Campbell’s Stonehedge LLC, won his sixth race from nine starts since coming off a layoff following a private purchase by his trainer Kathleen O’Connell.

            “He needed some time off and Mr. Campbell has a lot of horses. I was willing to give him some time off,” O’Connell said of the sale. “It’s a gamble. Sometimes, they come back and sometimes they don’t. I have ones come back that have never been half of what they were. I’m just glad he made a whole recovery, and Mr. Campbell still reaps the benefits because he’s the breeder. It’s a win, win, win.”

            Well Defined, who was sent to post as the 6-5 favorite in a field of seven in the seven-furlong stakes for Florida-breds, was beaten to the lead by Travy Boy, who set fractions of 22.75 and 45.03 seconds for the first half mile while pressed by the favorite. Well Defined took the lead entering the stretch under Emisael Jaramillo but started to falter in the final yards and was just able to hold off the late outside surge by Shivaree, a multiple-stakes winner who finished second behind Tiz The Law in the 2020 Florida Derby (G1).

            “I think he’s better loose on the lead, but I think Jaramillo made a great decision sitting off a horse that was sharp coming off a layoff,” O’Connell said.

            Well Defined, who earned a $25,000 Florida Sire Stakes Win Only bonus in addition to the winner’s share of the purse, ran seven furlongs in 1:23.47. Shivaree finished three-quarters of a length ahead of third-place finisher Pro Quality.

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