Close Hatches ran her win streak to four races with an authoritative five-length victory in the Grade 1 $500,000 Personal Ensign at Saratoga Race Course.
Neither the 4-year-old filly nor jockey Joel Rosario came to the winner’s circle Friday with a speck of dirt despite the muddy conditions, never were challenged in leading from start to finish in 1:50.62 for 1-1/8 miles.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for owner Juddmonte Farms, Close Hatches paid $5.90, $3.30 and $2.70 as the 9-5 favorite in a field of seven fillies and mares. Fiftyshadesofhay returned $11 and $5.60 for second, 3-3/4 lengths ahead of Stanwyck, who paid $4 to show.
Antipathy, Princess of Sylmar, Belle Gallantey and Majestic River completed the order of finish.
Close Hatches has won all four of her starts this year, including Grade 1 victories in the Apple Blossom Handicap and Ogden Phipps to establish herself as the leading older mare in the country. She earned $300,000 to improve her career mark to $2,682,300 from 12 starts, nine of them wins.
In Friday’s co-feature, Bern Identity and jockey Paco Lopez sprinted to a front-running, 1-1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Lord & Taylor Tale of the Cat.
Making just his second start in 19 months, the 4-year-old colt ran six furlongs on the main track in 1:10.05 and paid $5.40, $3.60 and $2.70 as the 8-5 favorite in a field of six. Mewannarose returned $9.20 and $4.60 for second, and Bahamian Squall paid $3.30 to show.