Though her 2014 campaign didn't end the way her connections had hoped, Close Hatches put together a strong enough resume to capture the Eclipse Award as champion older female.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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