Close Hatches Closes the Door on Mother Goose Field

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Close Hatches wins the Mother Goose S. Close Hatches wins the Mother Goose S.

Close Hatches barreled into the lead on the far turn and was never threatened as she rolled to easy 7 ¼-length victory over prohibitive favorite Dreaming of Julia in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose at Belmont Park.

With Joel Rosario in the irons, the daughter of First Defence raced in fourth, just off the favorite, as long shot Toasting led the field of five 3-year-old fillies through an opening quarter-mile in 23.32 seconds and a half in 46.27. As Dreaming of Julia dropped back to last with a half-mile to go, Close Hatches began picking up the pace, snatched the lead approaching the quarter-pole, and straightened for home with a commanding lead.

She crossed the wire in 1:41.36 under mild encouragement, with Dreaming of Julia coming on to edge Marathon Lady by a half-length for place. Toasting and Sister Slate completed the order of finish.

“It was easy and I think it was only a one-horse race turning for home,” said Rosario of Close Hatches. “She ran very good. She ran good last time [second in the Grade 1 Acorn], but in this race she ran better. That day [when seventh in the Kentucky Oaks] she never showed up, but after that when she came back here, she ran second, and today even better.”

Owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Close Hatches extended her record to 4-1-0 from six starts, including a victory in the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct Racetrack prior to the Oaks.

“She was doing very well – she only ran 3 ½ weeks ago [in the Acorn] but she came out of it extremely well,” said Mott. “She looked good, her color was good, [and] I think she actually put on a little weight since then. It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain, why all of a sudden they start to really round into form. She was good before, but she really went into this one very nicely.”

Sent off as the 4-1 second choice, Close Hatches returned $10.60 for a $2 win bet and earned $180,000, extending her career winnings to $451,300.

Dreaming of Julia, who was sent off at 1-5 in her first start since finishing fourth as the favorite in an eventful Kentucky Oaks, had less than an ideal trip, said Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

“She wasn’t comfortable between horses, and I think she got shy from the time before when she got squeezed in the Oaks,” said Velazquez. “Now she’s between horses and getting shy in there. It’s hard for her to get in there, and she didn’t want to take it at all. That was it.”

The next start for Close Hatches could be the Grade 1, $300,000 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks on July 20 at Saratoga Race Course.

“Now, she’s got the Grade 1,” said Mott. “There’s no gun at our head to do anything. We’ll wait until she’s ready again. Right now, we’ll try to keep her with her own age group, I suppose. [The Coaching Club American Oaks] is something to consider. If she’s doing as well as she was going into today, we’ll have to give it strong consideration.”

See the full chart here.

Mother Goose (G1) Quotes

Bill Mott, winning trainer of Close Hatches (No. 3): “She exploded nicely. She was doing very well – she only ran 3 ½ weeks ago but she came out of it extremely well. She looked good, her color was good, [and] I think she actually put on a little weight since then. It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain, why all of a sudden they start to really round into form. She was good before, but she really went into this one very nicely.”

“By the time we got to the middle of the turn, it looked like we got first run on [Dreaming of Julia]. At the three-eighths pole, we’re breezing to the lead. It looked pretty good from here.”

“It’s way too early to start talking about [championships] right now. There are some good fillies out there. I think it will all probably come down to who beats the older girls later in the year. A lot is decided October-November time.”

“Now, she’s got the Grade 1. There’s no gun at our head to do anything. We’ll wait until she’s ready again. Right now, we’ll try to keep her with her own age group, I suppose. [The Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 20 at Saratoga Race Course] is something to consider. If she’s doing as well as she was going into today, we’ll have to give it strong consideration.”

Joel Rosario, winning jockey aboard Close Hatches (No. 3): “It was easy and I think it was only a one-horse race turning for home. She ran very good. She ran good last time, but in this race she ran better. That day [when 7th in the Kentucky Oaks] she never showed up, but after that when she came back here, she ran second [in the Grade 1 Acorn], and today even better.”

Todd Pletcher, trainer of runner-up and beaten favorite Dreaming of Julia (No. 2): “She was never herself, it didn’t look like. I don’t know if she was kind of stuck in between horses, never really found a seam. I thought she ran very gutsy to get up for second when clearly she didn’t run her race.”

John Velazquez, jockey aboard of runner-up and beaten favorite Dreaming of Julia (No. 2): “She was never comfortable, and I was between horses. I tried to keep my position. They go to the half-mile pole, and the hole is that big. I tried to get there before it closes, and she didn’t take it. Sure enough, the hole closed and we’re back to last. Nothing you can do.”

“She wasn’t comfortable between horses, and I think she got shy from the time before when she got squeezed in the Oaks. Now she’s between horses and getting shy in there. It’s hard for her to get in there, and she didn’t want to take it at all. That was it.”

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  • upstarthere

    Congrats to Close Hatches and her connections. Gotta love the excuses.

    • 4Bellwether666

      Coming from Johnny V it was just a fact…

  • harry

    Todd Pletcher “she (Dreaming of Julia) ran gutsy to get up for second”. What!!! Todd she staggered into second and barely beat a horse who could not win allowance races (Marathon Lady). Dreaming of Julia fell in love with Gulfstream that is so evident. Todd you always have excuses for her????? Today she got beat and beat bad by Close Hatches (7 1/4 lengths). Maybe she just isn’t as good as you think!!!! You never gave any credit to winner at least nothing I read. Its always excuses excuses excuses!!!! Kentucky she did not like the track!!! Today would not go through a hole during race!!!! Great horses win regardless of track and regardless of way race is run. Somebody on HRTV said Dreaming of Julia was the best 3 year old running!! Better than males and much better than females. What!!!! She never been same since winning at Gulfstream by 21 lengths. Todd find a race for her at Gulfstream looks like that is her track!!! The future looks very very bright for Close Hatches going into Saratoga.

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