Flashy Gray, Close Hatches, Emollient just a few of Mott’s many talented 3-year-olds
By J.J. Hysell
The reigning queen of the Bill Mott barn is undoubtedly two-time Eclipse Award champion Royal Delta. The 5-year-old mare, who has notched two straight Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classics, isn’t relinquishing her crown any time soon.
Some newcomers, however, are hoping to follow Royal Delta’s lead, and they begin their quest on this year’s Kentucky Oaks trail.
Of the many fleet-footed 3-year-old fillies Mott has, Close Hatches is one of the most intriguing. The dark bay daughter of First Defence, owned by Juddmonte Farms, made a statement in her first trip to the track. Under the guidance of Joel Rosario, she closed swiftly from sixth, went four-wide and won by seven lengths in the seven-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26.
Close Hatches is out of the Storm Cat mare Rising Tornado, who campaigned in France and won at the allowance level. Her pedigree suggests an optimal distance of sprints to 1 1/16-miles. Close Hatches was 29-1 in the Kentucky Oaks Future Pool. She is entered in Saturday’s Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
One of Mott’s more experienced fillies is Emollient, a bay daughter of Empire Maker who is 2 for 4 with two second-place finishes. After an easy win to break her maiden at Belmont, she was second to the undefeated Todd Pletcher trained filly Unlimited Budget in the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes.
In her most recent win – a Gulfstream Park allowance at 1 1/16-miles – she overcame being crowded on the rail, working her way to the outside and reaching the wire in time to beat Majestic River.
Emollient is out of the Touch Gold mare Soothing Touch. Her second dam Glia, by A.P. Indy, won the Pebbles Stakes and was runner-up in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes on turf for legendary trainer Bobby Frankel. Emollient has stamina influences on both sides of her pedigree. She was 11-1 in the Kentucky Oaks Future Pool.
The most popular Mott filly lately is the appropriately named Flashy Gray, who is entered in Saturday’s Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The daughter of Flashy Bull went to Mott from trainer Lon Wiggins after she was sold to West Point Thoroughbreds and Tom Keithley for $775,000 in November. Prior to being sold, Flashy Gray won her second start, a romp by more than 10 lengths at Churchill Downs.
After a winter layoff, Flashy Gray returned to deliver another dazzling display, this time at Gulfstream. She took control early in the six-horse field and drew off to win by more than four lengths going seven furlongs.
Flashy Gray emerged as the top betting choice of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager last weekend, bet down from 15-1 to 6-1.
Flashy Gray is out of Plesaure Cat, an unraced mare by Cat’s Career. Her pedigree leans sprint to middle distance and her dosage is a high 8.33, suggesting the Kentucky Oaks distance of 1 1/8-miles could be a challenge for Flashy Gray.
Calistoga, a daughter of Speightstown, is entered today (Thursday) in an allowance sprint at Gulfstream Park. Bred by Jerry and Ann Moss, who campaigned Zenyatta, and owned by Donald Dizney, Calistoga shined in a fast front-running debut win at Gulfstream, posting a time of 1:09.77 for the six furlongs.
Calistoga is out of the Holy Bull mare Styler, who was owned by the Mosses and went 2 of 4 for trainer John Shirreffs. Her second dam, Set Them Free, is the dam of 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and multiple graded stakes winner Tiago.
One of the most recognizable fillies in the Mott barn is the turf runner Tapicat. The daughter of Tapit is 3 for 3 on grass after a third place on dirt in her debut. She’s defeated top opponents among her age group, including Tokyo Time, Kitten’s Dumplings, Rusty Slipper and Floral Sky. The Grade 3 Florida Oaks winner has won twice at 1 1/6-miles and looks like she doesn’t want to stop, so added distance should be in her favor. All of her victories were in front-running fashion; she never trailed a horse, so it is yet to be determined if she’s a need-the-lead type.
Tapicat is out of the Storm Cat mare Zealous Cat. In addition to her sire, Tapit, Tapicat derives stamina from her dam side, which includes Alydar, the sire of her second dam, Trail Robbery.
Another Tapit daughter, White Rose, is entered in a maiden race on turf Friday at Gulfstream Park. The Kentucky Oaks nominated-filly, owned by Jake Ballis, is the 7-5 morning line favorite. She’s been a solid second in her last two starts on grass and is coming off a winter layoff.
White Rose is out of the El Prado mare Garden Dance, who was multiple stakes placed on turf. Her pedigree is turf-oriented and loaded with stamina influences.
Mott has two other Kentucky Oaks nominees: Flores Island and Watrugonnadorosie. Flores Island, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway, was third behind undefeated Unlimited Budget in her debut at Aqueduct and was third in a maiden race on turf. She boasts an outstanding pedigree for any surface and for longer distances.
Watrugonnadorosie, a daughter of Curlin, broke her maiden going two turns on a sloppy track at Belmont. She was third to stablemate Emollient in her last start.
Watrugonnadorosie is out of the Chester House mare Tears I Cry, who won the Irving Distaff and was second in the Grade 3 Ouija Board Distaff at Lone Star. Progeny of Curlin have proven versatile so far, excelling on multiple surfaces and at various distances.