Gulfstream Today: 3.10.2013

Gulfstream Today: 3.10.2013


Close HatchesLead: Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s arsenal of 3-year-old filly talent continued to get deeper Sunday at Gulfstream Park as Juddmonte Farm’s Close Hatches passed her first distance test with flying colors drawing off to 1 ¼ length victory over Catalyst Stable and partners’ Kimberly Jean in the third race ‘a other than’ allowance test at 1 1/16 miles under jockey Joel Rosario.

A Kentucky-bred daughter of Juddmonte stallion First Defence, Close Hatches was very impressive winning her career debut here at seven furlongs on Jan. 26 by seven lengths under Rosario and now joins Juddmonte’s Emollient, Donald Dizney’s Calistoga and West Point Thoroughbreds and Tom Keithley’s Flashy Gray as impressive allowance race winners at Gulfstream this season.

“They’re all nominated for the (Kentucky) Oaks,” said Mott, who will be happy to deal with the challenge of choosing a path to the coveted $1 million race at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 3. “There are good races for them about every two weeks and we’ll see which ones up for which races as they come along. It is a good position to be in.”

The $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) at 1 1/8 miles will be run on Florida Derby Day here on Saturday, March 30 and will likely be a target for at least one of the Mott team.

Close Hatches paid $3.80 for $2 as the odds-on favorite in the field of six 3-year-old fillies. Ghostzapper Racing Limited Partnership’s Montana Native finished another 1 ½ lengths back in third behind the runner-up, Kimberly Jean. Close Hatches was timed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43:57 over the ‘fast’ track.

Emollient is the most experienced of the Mott-trained fillies with four starts. Following a second-place debut at Saratoga last summer she broke her maiden at Belmont Park by 2 ¾ lengths in late September and finished second as the odds-on choice after stumbling at the break in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct in late November.

A daughter of Juddmonte’s 2003 Florida Derby (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Empire Maker, Emollient won a 1 1/16 miles allowance here on Feb. 16 over a ‘sloppy’ track as the 1-to-2 favorite. Flashy Gray finished second in Saturday’s $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park while Calistoga has won both of her career starts at this meet by big margins.

Another Win For Cross Traffic: Gold Mark Farm's Cross Traffic remained unbeaten in his second lifetime start with a 7 1/2 length victory in Sunday's eighth race, a $54,500 allowance optional claimer. A 4-year-old son of Unbridled's Song, Cross Traffic won his racing debut Jan. 24 by 1 3/4 lengths at 6 1/2 furlongs. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Cross Traffic covered a mile under jockey John Velazquez in 1:35.17. Stablemate Discreet Dancer won Saturday's Gulfstream Park Handicap in the same time.

Who’s Hot: Jockey Elvis Trujillo rode two winners on the card aboard Freedom Child ($7.40) in the fourth and Grand Jetsetter ($9.20) in the ninth. Joel Rosario also won a pair with Close Hatches ($3.80) in the third and Brickyard Kitten ($5.60) in 11th race nightcap.

Rainbow 6 Carryover: $551,970.58