Close Hatches took command on the opening turn and never looked back in the $500,0000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I), romping over a muddy track at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 22 for her third grade I triumph in a row.
Close Hatches puts a three-race win streak on the line against six rivals Aug. 22 in the $500,000 Personal Ensign Invitational (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course.
J. Keeler Johnson takes a look at the Belmont Stakes and also reflects on several undercard races for this week's After the Wire. watch video
People, horses, and scenes that make Belmont Stakes Day unique. View Slideshow
Close Hatches turned back Princess of Sylmar and picked up the pieces when Beholder finished fourth in the June 7 Ogden Phipps Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
NYRA unveils the first in its mega-day strategy June 7 when it moves races like the Met Mile, Ogden Phipps, Acorn, and Brooklyn to Belmont Stakes day in an effort to ramp up interest, quality, and handle.
A sporting gesture put two-time champion Beholder on a plane to Belmont Park last week for the brewing rematch between her and 2013 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Princess of Sylmar in the $1 million Ogden Phipps (gr. I).
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contenders weren't the only ones catching attention June 2 at Belmont Park. Champion filly Beholder and rival Close Hatches both turned in final pre-race preparations for the Ogden Phipps (gr. I).
Claire Novak reports from Belmont Park on Social Inclusion possibly running in the Woody Stevens, California Chrome, Kid Cruz, Beholder and Close Hatches. watch video
A list of likely starters for the five grade I events on the Belmont Stakes day undercard June 7 has been released by the track's racing office, headed by the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap.
Defeating four older fillies and mares, Juddmonte Farms' Close Hatches secured her third grade I with a front-running performance in the $588,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) April 11 at Oaklawn Park.
Close Hatches will try to add a third top-level victory to her resume in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I), in which she meets four opponents, including last year's winner On Fire Baby, April 11 at Oaklawn Park.
Favored at odds of 3-5 and making her first start of the season, Juddmonte's 4-year-old First Defence filly galloped wire to wire in the 1 1/16-mile test, taking rider Joel Rosario straight to the winner's circle March 15.
Don't Tell Sophia has sailed through the early part of 2014, but faces a stout test March 15 in the $200,000 Azeri Stakes (gr. II) against multiple grade I winner Close Hatches, On Fire Baby, and Flashy American.
Beholder's smashing victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) ensured her a second consecutive Eclipse Award. She was voted champion 3-year-old filly of 2013 over finalists Princess of Sylmar and Close Hatches.
Perhaps no Eclipse Award category overflowed with more talent than among the 3-year-old fillies of 2013. They performed admirably against each other and then went out and defeated the best of their older counterparts.
Smooth as silk under jockey Gary Stevens, Beholder vanquished both two-time champion Royal Delta and Princess of Sylmar while rolling to an open-lengths victory in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) Nov. 1.
Lenny Shulman updates the news of the day including track work by Royal Delta, Close Hatches, and Mucho Macho Man. watch video
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott oversaw Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) contenders Royal Delta and Close Hatches as they stretched their legs at Santa Anita on Oct. 29 after arriving from New York the day before.
The Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) may only have a field of six, but they have created perhaps the most riveting puzzle in the entire series this year.
Trainer Bill Mott said he was happy with the final works by Royal Delta and Close Hatches at Belmont Park Oct. 26 before they head to California for the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I).
Led by champion Royal Delta and Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) contender Ron the Greek, horses conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott got in their Belmont Park works Oct. 19 in advance of the Nov. 1-2 Breeders' Cup.
- By Steve Haskin
Steve offers some early thoughts on the Breeders' Cup. read blog
Close Hatches secured a second straight grade I victory Sept. 21 when she passed Test Stakes (gr. I) winner Sweet Lulu turning for home and held off all challengers in the $1 million Cotillion Stakes (gr. I).
Grade I winners Sweet Lulu and Close Hatches will meet on the track for the first time when an accomplished group of 3-year-old fillies starts in the $1 million Cotillion Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 21 at Parx Racing.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Leading commercial sire Unbridled's Song is still looking for his true heir as a stallion, and he may have found it in First Defence.
Close Hatches became Juddmonte Farms' newest grade I winner when she captured the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) June 22 at Belmont Park, leaving heavily favored Dreaming of Julia behind on the turn and cruising home.
Stonestreet Stables' homebred Dreaming of Julia is the 1-2 morning line favorite in a light edition of the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, where just four other 3-year-old fillies will challenge.
Dreaming of Julia stood out on a busy worktab for trainer Todd Pletcher June 16, breezing a half-mile over the Belmont Park training track in 49.07 for the upcoming $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I).
Midnight Lucky more than made up for her lackluster fifth-place performance in the May 3 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) when the Bob Baffert-trained filly unleashed a powerful 6 1/4-length victory in the May 25 Acorn Stakes.
Grade II winner Kauai Katie will stretch out to take on Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) also-rans Midnight Lucky and Close Hatches while those two turn back in distance in the $300,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) May 27 at Belmont.
Dreaming of Julia is the freshest on the minds of most leading up to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) due to her extraordinary 21 3/4-length victory in the March 30 Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. I).
Dreaming of Julia, the remarkable 21 3/4-length winner of the March 30 Gulfstream Oaks (gr. II), drew post 8 of 11 sophomore fillies and was installed the 3-1 favorite for the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Juddmonte Farms' Close Hatches drills a half-mile in :47 2/5 in advance of the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The daughter of First Defence is unbeaten in three starts, all this year.
- By Esther Marr
Here are some of the explanations I received on this year's stellar field of contenders. Which one is your favorite? read blog
Calumet Farm's Broken Spell was ruled out of the Kentucky Oaks the morning of April 23 by trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Trainer Bob Baffert said Fiftyshadesofhay will also not contend.
Juddmonte Farms' undefeated filly Close Hatches had her first Churchill Downs work in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), breezing a half-mile in :47 4/5 over a fast track under exercise rider Joanna Trout.
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands contender Verrazano galloped at Churchill Downs the morning of April 15 as trainer Todd Pletcher outlined the training regimen for the colt and his other probable Derby starters.
Close Hatches led at every pole, repelled Princess of Sylmar in deep stretch, and drew away to keep her unbeaten record intact, registering her first stakes score in the $250,000 Gazelle Stakes (gr. II) April 6 at Aqueduct.
King of Prussia Stable's impressive Princess of Sylmar takes a step up into graded company April 6 in the $250,000 Gazelle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack, facing a talented field of sophomore fillies.
Most Popular Stories
- Big Three Clash in Rich Travers Stakes
- Close Hatches Dominates Personal Ensign
- California Chrome Sharpens Up at Los Alamitos
- Mark Valeski, Magna Graduate to Woodford
- Bayern Gallops 1 1/2 Miles On Eve of Travers
- Chrome Set for Pennsylvania Derby Return
- Pedigree Analysis: Bayern
- Hootenanny, The Wow Signal to Meet in France
- Jerkens, Lukas, Durkin Honored at Saratoga
- BHA Levies Heavy Penalties Against Three