January 21, 2023 - Fair Grounds, Race 7, Msw, USD $65,000, 6F

First Defender, C, 3, 2020 by Quality Road

1st Dam: Love and Pride (MGISW, $985,760), by A.P. Indy
2nd Dam: Ile de France, by Storm Cat
3rd Dam: Cara Rafaela, by Quiet American

Owner: Three Chimneys Farm
Breeder: Three Chimneys Farm, LLC (KY)
Trainer: Steven M. Asmussen

Gunned to the front from a middle gate by jockey Tyler Gaffalione, First Defender (3, c, Quality Road-Love And Pride, by A.P. Indy) withstood pressure on all sides and a contested early pace at the Fair Grounds to become the newest 'TDN Rising Star'.

Off sharply, the colt found himself sandwiched between horses from the opening strides with Pinfire (Bolt d'Oro) to his inside and Golden Nugget (Mendelssohn) off his outer flank. The trio quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field as they sped through an opening quarter in :21.48. Still bunched together as they rounded the far turn, the race became a question of who could withstand the pressure. First Defender answered to the affirmative, striding away past the furlong marker and opening up close to home for the 5 1/4-length win as the 4-5 favorite. 21-1 shot Quaternion closed to be a clear second.

Out of a dual Grade I-winning dam in Love and Pride, herself a $4.9 million purchase by Three Chimneys out of the 2013 FTKNOV sale, First Defender is already a half-brother to a pair of stakes winners in Bella Runner (Gun Runner) and Princesinha Julia (Pioneerof the Nile). Third dam Cara Rafaela (Quiet American) is responsible for the late MGISW and leading sire Bernardini (A.P. Indy). First Defender is the 14th 'TDN Rising Star' for Quality Road. Love and Pride produced a filly by Volatile last year and was not bred for 2023.

Back to Rising Stars Listing | Chart | Video | Pedigree

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.