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Close Hatches Makes Stakes Debut in Gazelle

Making her stakes debut as the 8-5 favorite in Saturday’s Grade 2 Gazelle is Juddmonte Farms’ Close Hatches, an impressive winner of both her starts at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the First Defence filly was a seven-length maiden winner on January 26 and a front-running 1 ¼-length winner of an optional claimer on March 19.

 

“Kevin McCarthy [Mott’s assistant in Kentucky] had her last year, and said she was one of the nicest fillies he’s had,” said Leana Willaford, Mott’s New York assistant. “She came up from Florida, and in the two days I’ve had her she’s been nothing but classy. We’re hoping she steps up tomorrow.”

 

A victory in the one-mile race would give Close Hatches 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks point system, which will be used this year to determine the 14 starters for the May 3 race if 14 enter. The Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Unlimited Budget and Dreaming of Julia currently top the standings with 160 and 132 points, respectively, and the Mott-trained Flashy Gray is sixth with 60 points.

 

“It depends on how she runs and how she comes out of the Gazelle, but if everything goes right, the Oaks would seem a logical spot for Close Hatches,” said Willaford.

 

 

 

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Older Comments about Close Hatches Makes Stakes Debut in Gazelle...

Can't wait to see what she can do in a stakes race:)

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