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.
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.
Juddmonte Farm announced Nov.11 that Mizzen Mast will stand for $20,000 in 2014 and First Defence will have a stud fee of $15,000.
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).
The ceiling for top prices dropped as Keeneland's September yearling sale ended its penultimate session Sept. 20, but overall figures for the 12-day auction stayed on course to beat last year's returns.
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.
Khalid Abdullah plans to disperse part of his global Juddmonte equine operation, the organization's chief executive confirmed.
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.
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.
Mizzen Mast, the sole stallion to sire as many as two Breeders' Cup winners this year, will stand in 2013 for $15,000, up from $12,500 in 2012.
A Yes It's True colt purchased by California trainer James Kasparoff for $220,000 topped the Sept. 19 ninth session of the Keeneland September yearling sale that continued to show strength entering the home stretch.
First Defence's initial winner, 2-year-old Dundonnell, romped by 12 lengths at Lingfield in England Aug. 4.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
The feeling that Empire Maker's move to Japan was a significant loss for U.S. breeders, especially as an excellent cross for A.P. Indy, was reinforced when Royal Delta won the Alabama.
Mizzen Mast, sire of 21 stakes winners, will stand in 2011 for $12,500 at Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms near Lexington.
Empire Maker, who stands at Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms near Lexington, has had his 2009 fee reduced from a previously announced fee of $100,000 to $75,000.
Empire Maker, 12th on this year's leading second-crop sires list by progeny earnings, will stand once again for $100,000 at Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms.
Forego Handicap (gr. I) winner First Defence will stand the 2009 breeding season at Juddmonte Farms near Lexington for a stud fee of $20,000 live foal, the farm announced Oct. 31.
Cost of Freedom and Street Boss drew posts 1 and 2, respectively, for the Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). The pair had finished one-two in the Sept. 27 Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I) over the same Pro-Ride synthetic surface they will be competing on in the Oct. 25 Sprint.
Trainer Bob Baffert will be trying to accomplish something in the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) never done before-win the race twice with the same horse.
This year the Breeders' Cup World Championships has expanded to 14 races. Trainer Eoin Harty was hoping for a 15th event, for swimming, not running.
A star-studded cast of seven talented sprinters led by grade I winners Fabulous Strike and First Defence will do battle in the $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
HRTV's weekly series analyzing each division of the Breeders' Cup. This episode includes an analysis of the Woodward, a review of the Juveniles, a preview of the Ruffian and much, much more.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
First Defence is one of those horses whose pedigrees scream speed. The son of Unbridled's Song began displaying that potential with a 6 3/4-length romp in the Forego Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 30. After surviving an early speed duel with opening fractions of :22.53 and :44.61, he pulled away in the stretch to win in a final time of 1:21.55.
Juddmonte Farms' homebred First Defence took over at the three-eighths pole and never looked back, the son of Unbridled's Song eventually romping to a decisive 6 3/4-length victory in the $250,000 Forego Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 30 at Saratoga. It was his first graded stakes win on the dirt and first triumph in four starts the Spa.
With the surprising retirement of Benny the Bull and the disappointing effort by Midnight Lute last weekend, all of a sudden the sprint division has become wide open. Should he claim victory in the $250,000 Forego Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 30 at Saratoga, Shadwell Stable's Lucky Island could catapult himself into the upper echelon of those ranks.
Hall of Fame trainer Robert Frankel was still amazed with the way Ginger Punch managed to defend her Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) July 26 at Saratoga title by muscling her way between horses after being boxed in at the top of the stretch.
Favored Abraaj, under a vigorous ride from Alan Garcia, earned his first stakes victory when he rallied from far off the pace to win the $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga July 26.
Although slowed by a fever that knocked him out of the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I), undefeated Bustin Stones should be ready for a top effort in the $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga July 26, trainer Bruce Levine says.
Stronach Stables' Giant Gizmo, winner of his last three starts, will be sidelined for the remainder of the year with a non-displaced condylar fracture in his right front leg, trainer Bobby Frankel said July 22.
First Defence made his initial effort on grass a winning one for trainer Bobby Frankel and became a graded stakes winner in the process, just holding on by a head to capture the $162,966 Jaipur (gr. III) on Belmont Park's yielding course June 15.
A well-matched group of turf sprinters will each seek their first graded stakes score June 15 at Belmont Park, as 10 go to post in the $150,000 Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT). The six-furlong contest will be held on the inner turf.
Ginger Punch, last year's champion older female, had her first work since winning the Louisville Stakes (gr.II) on the morning of May 16 at Belmont Park.
The $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) was billed as the return of multiple graded stakes winner Discreet Cat. Instead, it became Fabulous Strike's coming out party.
The spectacular Sept. 30 card at Belmont Park includes four Grade I events, each with Breeders' Cup implications. One of the more anticipated is the $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I), which includes the return of 4-year-old superstar Discreet Cat, who will be making his first start in nearly six months.
Lawyer Ron, winner of the Whitney (gr. I) and Woodward (gr. I) in his last two starts at Saratoga, worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds over Belmont Park's main track Sept. 17.
Heavily favored Hard Spun, a colt who has made all the major dances for trainer Larry Jones this season, earned his elusive first grade I victory when he turned back a serious challenge from First Defence in the $250,000 King's Bishop (gr. I) for 3-year-olds at Saratoga Aug. 25.
Juddmonte Farms' First Defence punched his ticket for the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Saturday, leading every step to win the $150,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup for 3-year-olds by 2 1/4 lengths at Monmouth Park.
- By Claire Novak
First Defence will tackle the field when six horses go postward in Saturday's Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Juddmonte Farms homebred First Defence, a late-developing 3-year-old who was not ready for this year's Triple Crown events, steps it up Saturday for trainer Bobby Frankel in the $150,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup, Monmouth's local prep for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 5.
Rested since his 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Sponsored by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Elizabeth Valando's Nobiz Like Shobiz will likely be the favorite anyway in the $150,000 Dwyer (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park Wednesday.
Glencrest Farm's Honey Ryder, handled patiently by Garrett Gomez, swept past stablemate Safari Queen inside the final sixteenth of a mile to make it back-to-back victories in the $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Belmont Park inner turf course Saturday.
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