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Belmont Park notes: Close Hatches targets Breeders' Cup Distaff
ELMONT, N.Y. – Barring a setback in her training, Close Hatches, a three-time graded stakes-winning 3-year-old filly, will run in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 1, trainer Bill Mott said Friday.
“She deserves a chance to be in there,” Mott said on an overcast fall morning at Belmont Park. “She will be.”
Close Hatches gives Mott a potent 1-2 punch for the Distaff, in which he also will run the race’s two-time defending winner, Royal Delta. Mott has won the Distaff five times, including the last three, when it was called the Ladies’ Classic.
Mott said Joel Rosario will ride Close Hatches in the Distaff as jockey Mike Smith, who won the Grade 1 Cotillion with Close Hatches at Parx last month, will ride Royal Delta. Both horses were due to have workouts at Belmont over the weekend.
Close Hatches, a Juddmonte Farms homebred daughter of First Defence, is 5 for 7 this year, with Grade 1 victories in the Cotillion and Mother Goose and a Grade 2 score in the Gazelle, in which she defeated Princess of Sylmar, who has since won four consecutive Grade 1 races.
Princess of Sylmar was scheduled to work this weekend as well, a breeze that could determine whether she will participate in the Distaff.
A temperature forced Close Hatches to miss the big summer races at Saratoga – the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama – but she came off a three-month layoff to win the Cotillion by two lengths.
Regarding two-time champion older female Royal Delta, Mott said, “It’s relatively safe to say we’re going in the Distaff.”
Mott said he has not had any recent discussions with owner Benjamin Leon regarding pre-entering her in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic as well. Last year, Royal Delta was pre-entered in both races.
Royal Delta is coming off a second-place finish to Princess of Sylmar in the Beldame Invitational on Sept. 28.
In Trouble sidelined
In Trouble, the authoritative winner of the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont on Sept. 29, will be sidelined for the remainder of his 2-year-old season due to a chip in his left knee, trainer Tony Dutrow said.
In Trouble underwent surgery Thursday at the New Bolton Center to remove the chip. The surgery was performed by Dr. Dean Richardson, Dutrow said.
“It went excellent, just a little chip fracture in the upper joint of the left knee,” Dutrow said. “It will take him out of the Nashua, which was our plan. We’ll move forward with him as a 3-year-old.”
In Trouble, a son of Tiz Wonderful owned by Team D Stable, won his debut at Saratoga on Aug. 10 before taking the Futurity by 2 1/4 lengths, a race in which he earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure.
Dutrow said In Trouble’s injury was diagnosed following a routine gallop last week at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.
Wired Bryan to Showcase Day
Wired Bryan, an open-company graded stakes winner who dominated New York-breds both times he’s faced them, will run in next Saturday’s $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes on the Empire Showcase Day program, trainer Michael Dilger said.
Wired Bryan, a son of Stormy Atlantic, won the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga in July. After a narrow loss to Corfu in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and a fifth in the Grade 1 Hopeful in the slop at Saratoga, Wired Bryan won the $237,457 New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes on Sept. 28.
Though the Bongard would mean coming back in three weeks, Dilger noted that Wired Bryan ran in two graded stakes in a three-week span.
“He’s shown us before that he can run back on short rest,” Dilger said. “He came out of his race at Finger Lakes very well, and he’s fresh, so we’ll take advantage of his New York-bred status. It’s a good race – it’s a good pot.”
Dilger said John Velazquez will ride Wired Bryan in the seven-furlong Bongard.
Strapping Groom to Bold Ruler
Strapping Groom, the winner of the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga in August, will be pointed to the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Stakes here on Oct. 26, trainer David Jacobson said.
Following the Forego, Strapping Groom ran in the Grade 1 Vosburgh, where he finished third, 4 3/4 lengths behind the victorious Private Zone.
“That last race knocked him out a little bit – it’s taken him a little while to recover,” Jacobson said. “Running against those kinds of horses takes a little extra out of you. It took a little extra out of me, too.”
Jacobson eschewed shipping to California for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, saying he would like to point the 6-year-old horse to the winter sprint stakes program at Aqueduct.
Furthermore to add to my comment below..Mott has just FORCED Pletcher and Stanco into running Princess of Sylmar. He egged em into it by stating Royal Delta wasn't cranked for Beldame. They took the bait. Now with Beholder and Royal Delta having speed for pace and Close Hatches probably getting jump on Princess with their styles. Ill pick Close Hatches to win over the classy Royal Delta as Santa Anita seems to favor them both. Nice chess move by Mott. Cagey!!! Now filly Eclipse comes back into play as CH has won Grade 2 as well as Mother Goose and Cotillion. A Distaff win over Princess and Beholder would make it tough NOT to give her Eclipse. Just one more reason to admire Mott. Horseman and world class chess moves!
Well I just picked up my two DRFs for the weekend, and expecting the worse, I was not disappointed. What a piece of crap. Whoever signed off on this should apologized and step down immediately. No margins, unable to separate tracks, over abbreviated. If it was your intention to drive more core players away from the track; you have been successful. Bill
I think DRF should start charging for us to look at entries, results, scratches & other sites that we visit too:(
I believe Close Hatches is the now filly in this years Distaff. I know Mott commented that Royal Delta was not fully cranked for The Beldame. And having The Breeders Cup as the goal, its quite possibly true. Still not taking anything from Princess Sylmar. She ran a great race. But as far as fillies go this year, Close Hatches seemingly is over her summer illness and could very well move forward again off her Cotillion victory. Philly is a deep track and to run like she did off the bench impressed me. Joel is a definately positive angle to help her as well.
Why is it I can get all the news , articles, injury reports on any sporting event to make a wager or even just read it as news and the DRF has the nerve to charge an arm and a leg and drf + . Are you kidding ? I would never buy this paper . Peeps you gotta wake up.
I like the way this filly comes in a little bit under the radar. Princess of Sylmar beating Royal Delta and Close Hatches winning a race at Parx. Close Hatches is my BC Distaff pick. She has tactical speed, can finish and I don't think we seen the best she has yet.
The sport is dying...the fan base dwindling so let's charge more for article the remaining fan have been getting for the last 50 years.....Bravo Mr. Crist! Never forget the conversation we had at the Racing Times. Obviously you haven't changed.
Articles not covered here at DRF even in the DRF plus payment plan. Woodbines grade 1 Nearctic is a win and your in race, with some American shippers and Woodbine mile runners included. Breeders Cup has decided to give entry fees to Silver Max and Poker Player should they qualify under regular rules. At the end of Keenlands make a wish day, an unidentified man gave a winning pick four ticket worth 26k to the charity. Now all of you happy with DRF give me 8 bucks.
Why is this story on DRFPlus?? Come on DRF. Learn to nickel and dime your customers better. Geez.