06/22/2013 6:59PM

Belmont Park: Close Hatches rolls to upset victory in Mother Goose

Barbara D. Livingston
Close Hatches was never threatened coming down the stretch under a hand ride from Joel Rosario.

ELMONT, N.Y. - One week removed from watching his own heavily favored Royal Delta get upset in a graded stakes at Churchill Downs, trainer Bill Mott turned the tables on another heavy favorite, as Close Hatches rolled to a 7 1/4-length victory over 1-5 shot Dreaming of Julia in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.

Dreaming of Julia, who got shuffled back to last on the far turn, rallied to get second by a half-length over Marathon Lady. Toasting and Sister State completed the order of finish.

After winning her first three starts, Close Hatches finished seventh in the Kentucky Oaks and second in the Acorn, but Mott felt confident enough to run her back in 26 days against the heavily favored Dreaming of Julia.

“All I know is our filly was doing good, maybe the other filly . . . shot her best race in the Gulfstream Park Oaks,” Mott said, referring to Dreaming of Julia’s 21 ¾-length win in that race. “One outstanding horse in the race, you don’t want to avoid the race, you want to take your chance and run. That’s what we did today, and it worked out.”

Under Joel Rosario, Close Hatches raced in fourth position early, outside of Dreaming of Julia, but about 2 1/2 lengths behind Toasting, who set fractions of 23.32 seconds for the quarter-mile and 46.27 for the half while being stalked by Sister State.

Entering the far turn, Rosario sent Close Hatches after the leaders, while John Velazquez tried to send Dreaming of Julia into a hole between horses, but she wouldn’t go and got shuffled back to last. Dreaming of Julia was coming out of a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks in which she got slammed at the start and had to steady down the backside.

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

Meanwhile, Close Hatches opened up a sizeable advantage turning into the stretch and was never threatened coming to the wire under a hand ride from Rosario, who won three races on the card.

Close Hatches, a Juddmonte Farms homebred daughter of First Defence, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.36 and returned $10.60 as the second choice.

“It was easy, and I think it was a one-horse race turning for home,” Rosario said. “She ran very good.”

From his vantage point, Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Dreaming of Julia, said his filly never looked comfortable.

“She just never was herself, it didn’t look like,” he said. “She was stuck in between horses, never found a seam. I thought she ran very gutsy to get up for second, but she clearly didn’t run her race.”

Of the $744,888 wagered in the show pool, $689,154 was wagered on Dreaming of Julia. Close Hatches and Dreaming of Julia each paid $2.10 to show while Marathon Lady paid $2.20.

J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
There has got to be a rider switch. Johnny is freaking out Julia. I think they will look for a new rider who is not a J, so Castellano, Lezcano and Alvarado are out. Probably Mike Smith and he could get reacquainted with Palace Malice while he's at it. Or Rajiv Maragh who has ridden a number of good fillies especially for Godolphin a few years ago, and probably had a role in Caleb's Posse and Groupie Doll's rise to the top.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
I have said it a million times. Even the best jockeys are dumb as a box of rocks. I mean, how many times have you seen a horse want to run and the jockey insists on restraining them? And then they say the heck with it and quit? Let the horse dictate to you, not the other way around. I sometimes watch these dances of stupidity and say , why am I here?
Holybull More than 1 year ago
Johnny Velazquez is another over-rated rider who only wins when things do not appear to be too risky for him.
Holybull More than 1 year ago
dreaming Of Julia has been an over-rated filly all along.
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
All one has to do wait for the numbers guys to tout a horse as the next best thing and you can make some money in this game. D.O J. is all the proof you need.
Sup!! More than 1 year ago
Mr. Velazquez should be checked for dementia after that ride. It was just disturbing, at best, and sad at worst. After that race, I was watching the post parade on t.v. for the following race and was watching this horse, away from his lead pony no less, and he was putting his head over the outside rail and acting extremely strange. The horse's rider was letting his horse bob his head over the rail and picking at some trees. I wondered what idiot would let his horse do this only to look up in the program and see that number 4 was ridden by Mr. head in the clouds, Velazquez. Normally, a decent rider on dirt, and the best on turf. Yesterday, hopefully was just one of those days.
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Wassup Loser?
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Nice filly. Maybe best on east coast.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Great ride by Close Hatches and Joel Rosario. Congrats to the whole team!
Edward More than 1 year ago
Lessons to be earned for the novices and those of you who don't have a positive ROI: Don't compare final race times as if the pace doesn't matter.(if the pace is slow, the final time will be slow, it doesn't mean the winning horse is slow) (2)Don't over do it with calling a race a monster based on these comparisons. DoJ had that race all to herself as no other horse ran a step, subtract 8-10 Beyer points. She is a good but limited horse who should not be bet at less then 6-1
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Any of you Dreaming of Julia fans still think shes a world beater all because of her win in the Gulfstream Park Oaks ? Beat the boys huh, Not even a call.....