Close Hatches: Joel Rosario's first Grade 1 winner since riding at AscotPICTURE: Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos
Rosario gets the goose on Close Hatches
Preview: USA, Saturday
Belmont Park: Mother Goose Stakes (Grade 1) 1m½f, dirt, 3yo fillies
FRESH from his Royal Ascot victory on No Nay Never, America's leading jockey Joel Rosario returned to the States to land a Grade 1 victory on Close Hatches (Bill Mott), who produced a breakout performance in the Mother Goose as she stunned 1-5 shot Dreaming Of Julia.
Under the minimum of encouragement, Juddmonte's daughter of First Defence rolled clear to score by 7¼ lengths in the $300,000 contest, hitting the wire in 1m41.36s.
"It was easy and I think it was only a one-horse race turning for home," said Rosario.
An also-ran in the Kentucky Oaks, Close Hatches was second to Midnight Lucky on her previous outing in the Acorn Stakes.
"She was doing very well - she only ran three and a half weeks ago but she came out of it extremely well," said Mott. "She looked good, her colour was good; I think she actually put on a little weight since then.
"It's one of those things that's hard to explain, why all of a sudden they start to really round into form. She was good before, but she really went into this one very nicely."
John Velazquez felt Dreaming Of Julia hadn't enjoyed being squeezed. "She wasn't comfortable between horses and I think she got shy from the time before when she got squeezed in the Oaks," he said.
"Now she's between horses and getting shy in there. It's hard for her to get in there, and she didn't want to take it at all. That was it."