Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was delighted this morning with the way
Close Hatches emerged from her 7 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 Mother Goose.
“She looks great; I’m happy,” said Mott of the Juddmonte Farms
color-bearer, who with the victory earned her first Grade 1 in three
consecutive tries. “[Yesterday] she
just kind of shot to the lead and seized the race at the three-eighths
pole, and kept going. She trains like she had a race like that in her.
She ran well last time [second in the Grade 1 Acorn] and didn’t
embarrass anyone [when seventh] in the Kentucky Oaks,
although probably that wasn’t her best race. She ran very average in
the Oaks, and good in the Acorn, and real good yesterday.”
The Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks, 1 1/8 miles around
two turns on July 20 at Saratoga Race Course, remains the next logical
target, said Mott.
Of more immediate concern is Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000
New York for turf fillies and mares, in which
Starformer looks to rebound from an eighth-place finish over soft footing in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay.
The 5-year-old Dynaformer mare turned up for the 1 ¼ mile race
Sunday morning with a six-furlong breeze over the inner turf in 1:14.05
“She went really, really well, and did it on the bridle,” said Mott. “So, she was good.”
Also on the worktab for Mott was his other star 3-year-old filly, Grade 1 Ashland winner
Emollient, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01.53 in preparation for an expected start in the Grade 1 American Oaks on July 13 at
“We’ve found out with Emollient that synthetic and turf is going
to be a little bet better than the dirt,” he said, adding that the
promising sophomore filly
Tapicat, winner of the
Grade 3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs in February, would likely target
the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George on July 24 at
Mott confirmed that
Flat Out, whose four-race unbeaten streak at
ended when he was third in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, was under
consideration for the Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban Handicap on July 6.
“He runs well here,” said the trainer. “We didn’t get it done in
the Met Mile, which we wanted to, and maybe we’d give him another
opportunity here. I would think the
Suburban might not be as tough as the Met Mile was. If we were to wait
for the Whitney [Grade 1, August 3,
Saratoga] we’d have to wait another month and I’m not sure the horse needs another month.”