Close Hatches worked 4 furlongs in :46.71 at Belmont Park Oct 26.<br><a target="blank" href="!i=2860860545&k=CmjBHqJ">Order This Photo</a>

Close Hatches worked 4 furlongs in :46.71 at Belmont Park Oct 26.
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Mott Pleased With Royal Delta, Close Hatches

Stablemates post fast half-mile breezes in final tuneup for Breeders' Cup Distaff.

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).

Royal Delta zipped a half-mile in :46.52, the fastest of 38 at the distance, while Close Hatches worked the same distance separately in :46.71, the second-quickest on the work tab.

"I was very pleased with both works," Mott said by telephone a couple of hours later. "They were similar works. It might have been a little fast, but they did it the right way and both galloped out very well."

Two-time champion Royal Delta, owned by Besilu Stables, is seeking her third Breeders' Cup Distaff win. The 5-year-old daughter of Empire MakerDelta Princess, by A.P. Indy, won the race the last two years when it was called the Ladies' Classic.

This year her victories include the Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) and Delaware Handicap (gr. I). She is coming off a second-place finish in the Beldame Invitational (gr. I) to 3-year-old Princess of Sylmar, who is also pointing for the Distaff.

Juddmonte Farms' Close Hatches, a 3-year-old daughter of First Defence–Rising Tornado, by Storm Cat, will take on her stablemate in the Distaff. The filly began her racing career this year and has won five of seven starts, including the Cotillion Stakes (gr. I), Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I), and Gazelle Stakes (gr. II).

Mott plans to ship Royal Delta and Close Hatches to Southern California Oct. 28. It should be less eventful than Royal Delta's trip last year, when horses heading for the Breeders' Cup from New York had to contend with the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

The Hall of Fame conditioner noted that the Distaff is shaping up much like last year.

"Last year, they touted it as one of the most competitive races," Mott said, "and that's what it turned out to be. This year it's a small but select field, and you can make a case for any of them."