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Close Hatches attains millionaire status with Cotillion win

Close Hatches appeared an easy winner of the Cotillion (Barbara Weidl/Equi-Photo)

Juddmonte Farms' Close Hatches was sent off the 8-5 favorite in Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion at Parx Racing, and vindicated that status with a two-length score under jockey Mike Smith.

The Bill Mott pupil battled early leader Sweet Lulu through fractions of :23 4/5, :47 1/5 and 1:10 2/5, with My Happy Face dogging their every step. The trio ran in tandem for a time nearing the turn before Close Hatches finally grabbed command. Sweet Lulu tried to fight back, but her rival was too good, finishing 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:44.

My Happy Face faded in the lane as Street Girl came with a furious rally following a stumbling start out of the gate. That 25-1 second longest shot on the board just missed second by a nose while getting the best of My Happy Face by a half-length. Dancing Afleet filled out the fifth spot and was followed under the wire by Asiya, Seaneen Girl, Promise Me More and Carnival Court. Flash Forward was scratched.

Close Hatches got back on the winning track in her last race, earning her first Grade 1 victory in the June 22 Mother Goose at Belmont Park. This second straight top-level victory improved her record to 7-5-1-0 and the $556,000 winner's share of the purse more than doubled her career earnings to $1,007,300.

The dark bay daughter of First Defence opened her career with three straight victories, including a 3 1/4-length score in the Gazelle on April 6 at Aqueduct, but threw in a subpar effort when seventh behind the Gazelle runner-up, Princess of Sylmar, in the Kentucky Oaks. Close Hatches attempted a return to form by shortening up for the one-mile Acorn at Belmont on May 27, and did manage to rally for second, but was 6 1/4 lengths behind the winner on that occasion.

Close Hatches has captured all but two of her career starts (Mark Wyville/Equi-Photo)

The three-year-old miss finally showed her early spark in the Mother Goose last out, grabbing command by the second call and easily pulling away for the 7 1/4-length triumph.

Bred in Kentucky by Millsec Ltd., Close Hatches is the first registered foal out of the winning Storm Cat mare Rising Tornado, who is herself a daughter of the listed-placed Zafonic mare Silver Star. Close Hatches' third dam is the Group 3-winning Sir Ivor mare Monroe, from whom is descended the likes of English, Irish and French highweight sire Xaar and multiple Grade 1-winning stallion Senure.

Most notably, Close Hatches' fourth dam is the blue-hen mare Best in Show, who was honored as the 1982 Broodmare of the Year. She is the dam of 1982 Kentucky Oaks queen Blush With Pride, who is the granddam of champion Rags to Riches, who captured the 2007 editions of the Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Oaks; 2006 Belmont Stakes king Jazil; and 2009 Breeders' Cup Marathon victor Man of Iron.

Best in Show is the ancestress of numerous champions and highweights, including top sires Aldebaran, Spinning World, Redoute's Choice and El Gran Senor.

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