Updated on 06/26/2013 8:18AM

Belmont Park: Coaching Club American Oaks likely to draw top fillies

Barbara D. Livingston
Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar breezed a half-mile in 48.29 seconds Sunday and might run in the July 20 Coaching Club American Oaks.

ELMONT, N.Y. – The top 3-year-old fillies on the East Coast could be headed for a showdown in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 20 at Saratoga, their connections indicated Sunday.

Close Hatches, the 7 1/4-length winner of Saturday’s Grade 1 Mother Goose over 1-5 favorite Dreaming of Julia, is expected to make her next start in the $300,000 Coaching Club, a 1 1/8-mile race around two turns, trainer Bill Mott said.

Mott said Saturday that if Close Hatches is doing as well in the weeks leading up to that race as she was heading into Saturday’s Mother Goose, he would see no reason not to run.

On Sunday, he felt Close Hatches came out of the Mother Goose in good order.

“She looks great; I’m happy,” Mott told the New York Racing Association.

Close Hatches earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

Close Hatches, a Juddmonte Farms homebred daughter of First Defence, is 4 for 6 with wins in the Mother Goose over Dreaming of Julia and the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct over Princess of Sylmar. Both of those fillies finished ahead of Close Hatches in the Kentucky Oaks, won by Princess of Sylmar, with Dreaming of Julia checking in a troubled fourth.

On Saturday, Dreaming of Julia was expected to make amends in the Mother Goose, but she appeared uncomfortable while racing between horses, got shuffled back to last on the far turn, and, after being taken five wide at the top of the lane by John Velazquez, she did show mild interest late to get second place over Marathon Lady.

On Sunday, trainer Todd Pletcher said Dreaming of Julia came out of the race in good shape and that the Coaching Club is an option, as is waiting for the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama on Aug. 17.

“She came out of it well, looks good. We’ll ship her up to Saratoga and regroup and see how she trains,” Pletcher said Sunday as he himself was driving up to Saratoga. “The Coaching Club is a possibility. The Alabama is a possibility. Both are possibilities.”

Princess of Sylmar is 3 for 4 this year, with wins in the Busher and Busanda stakes over Aqueduct’s inner track as well her 36-1 upset in the Kentucky Oaks.

On Sunday, she had her fourth work since the Oaks, breezing a half-mile in 48.29 seconds over the training track in company with Teen Pauline.

“She worked great, looked very good, galloped out super,” Pletcher said. “It certainly looks as though the Oaks form is holding up.”

Pletcher said Princess of Sylmar also is being pointed for the Coaching Club Oaks and Alabama.

Close Hatches, seventh in the Oaks, won the Mother Goose, while Midnight Lucky, fifth in the Oaks, won the Grade 1 Acorn over Close Hatches.

Princess of Sylmar, Dreaming of Julia, Cross Traffic, the Metropolitan Handicap runner-up who worked a half-mile in 50.20 on Sunday, and Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice all were scheduled to ship to Saratoga on Monday morning.