Saturday, September 21, 2013
Close Hatches much best
By Frank Angst
Already good, Juddmonte Farms' 3-year-old filly Close Hatches appears to be taking things to another level as summer turns to fall. The First Defence filly registered her second straight grade I victory Saturday, Sept. 21 in the $1 million Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing.
Favored in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, Close Hatches passed Test Stakes winner Sweet Lulu turning for home and held off all challengers at the wire to register a 2-length win. Steve Beneto's Sweet Lulu, by Mr. Greeley, continued well to the wire to earn her first two-turn Grade 1 placing, edging third-place finisher Street Girl by a nose. Rontos Racing Stable's Street Girl, by Street Hero, secured her first Grade 1 placing.
Jockey Mike Smith and Close Hatches shadowed Sweet Lulu at every call as she led through a half-mile in :47.24 and six furlongs in 1:10.51. Close Hatches moved to the lead turning for home and opened a clear advantage mid-stretch on her way to her third career stakes victory and fifth win overall in seven starts.
With the victory, the Bill Mott trainee surpassed $1 million in career purse earnings at $1,007,300. For her backers Saturday, she returned $5.20 to win, $3 to place, and $2.60 to show. Sweet Lulu paid $3.80, $3.40; and Street Girl, $5.40.
Bred in Kentucky by Juddmonte-associated Millsec, Close Hatches is the first starter for the Storm Cat mare Rising Tornado.