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DRF Breeding Weekend Wrap: Close Hatches, Doinghardtimeagain shine in 3-year-old filly division
By Patrick Reed
Belmont’s Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes brought the 3-year-old filly division back to center stage last weekend, and Close Hatches’ dominant 7 1/4-length win over heavily favored Dreaming of Julia ensured that the overall pecking order in the upper rungs of the division would remain unsettled heading into the midsummer racing schedule.
The dark bay or brown filly from the first crop of promising young Juddmonte stallion First Defence took over the lead early in the turn and was not challenged thereafter. She covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.36 and earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.
Close Hatches did not race as a juvenile but won her first three starts earlier this year in Florida and New York, the last of that string in the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct. She finished a disappointing seventh in the Kentucky Oaks and second in the one-mile Acorn at Belmont to Midnight Lucky on Memorial Day but fired her best race yet in the Mother Goose for Bill Mott. Close Hatches would likely make her next start in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on July 20.
Bred by Millsec Ltd., Close Hatches is out of the winning Storm Cat mare Rising Tornado. The broodmare is a full sister to European champion and sire Xaar and a half-sister to Group 3 winners Masterclass and Diese and to stakes winner Ile de Jinsky. Other close relatives include Grade 1 winner Senure, Group 1 winner Cityscape, Grade 2 winner Didina, and Group 2 winner Bated Breath.
Close Hatches became the first Grade 1 winner for First Defence, a 9-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song who won the Grade 1 Forego and two other stakes races. He stands at Juddmonte’s Lexington, Ky., division.
Shifting focus to the West Coast, Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Doinghardtimeagain scored a breakthrough graded stakes win in Saturday’s Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained filly, a daughter of Tommy Town stallion Ministers Wild Cat, entered the 1 1/16-mile race off of two consecutive listed stakes victories and held all challengers at bay in a front-running 2 1/2-length win over Hollywood’s synthetic Cushion Track. She finished up in 1:43.27 and earned a 95 speed figure.
Doinghardtimeagain has won five of nine starts with three seconds and is undefeated in four starts at Hollywood. She is out of the winning Conquistador Cielo mare Silver Hawk Lady and is from the family of multiple California stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Formidable Lady.
Weekend notes: Two-year-old fillies stepped under the lights in the feature race on the penultimate Saturday of the Churchill Downs’ spring meet, and Texas-bred invader Fiftyshadesofgold made short work of her opposition in the six-furlong Debutante Stakes, stalking through the turn before powering clear to win by a widening eight lengths. The My Golden Song filly displayed an impressive amount of professionalism in her second career start following a 10-length debut score at Lone Star. She covered the distance in 1:10.63 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 82.
Owned and bred by Clarence Scharbauer, whose wife Dorothy and daughter Pam owned the great Alysheba in the late 1980s, Fiftyshadesofgold is the third foal to race out of the winning Hadif mare Hadif Cat, following 4-year-old gelding Sword Trick and 3-year-old filly Tastefullyxcessive. Both half-siblings are by Early Flyer and are also stakes winners.
Fiftyshadesofgold is the sixth stakes winner for Grade 3-placed My Golden Song, who was Texas’ leading freshman sire in 2011. The 10-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song stands at the Scharbauers’ Valor Farm in Pilot Point, just north of Dallas.
At Colonial Downs, London Lane rallied four-wide to post a 50.30-to-1 upset in the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup over a solid field that included last year’s Virginia Derby winner Air Support. The veteran Maryland-bred 6-year-old gelding picked up his the first stakes win of his career in the 1 3/16-mile turf event, covering the distance in 1:55.94 and earning a 95 Beyer. He is by Canadian champion and Lane’s End stallion Langfuhr, one of the better sons of Danzig at stud. Langfuhr’s progeny include champions Lawyer Ron, Wando, Mobil, and Kimchi.
London Lane’s dam, Travelling, by Miswaki, was unraced. She is a half-sister to five stakes winners, led by Foufa’s Warrior, who set a course record for 1 1/8 miles on the Delaware Park turf in winning the Grade 3 Kent Breeders’ Cup. Travelling has produced three other winners in addition to London Lane, including stakes-placed El Viaje.
Last Saturday concluded a five-day run of elite group stakes competition at the tradition-rich Royal Ascot meeting in England. U.S.-based sires fared well during the meeting, with Claiborne Farm stallion War Front picking up two group stakes winners on Royal Ascot’s opening Tuesday—Declaration of War in the Group 1 Queen Anne and War Command in the Group 2 Coventry—and No Nay Never, a juvenile colt by Ashford Stud’s Scat Daddy, taking the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes on Thursday. No Nay Never, who is out of the winning Elusive Quality mare Cat’s Eye Witness, established a course record of :58.80 for a juvenile going five furlongs at Ascot.
No Nay Never became the latest runner from trainer Wesley Ward to successfully make the trip to Royal Ascot following Strike the Tiger and Jealous Again. Scat Daddy will be profiled as Hot Sire this week in DRF Breeding.