Towne Hopes to Close It Out in $100,000 Housebuster Stakes
Jockey Sanchez Slowly Improving

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Close It Out had undergone two throat surgeries in an effort to correct a breathing problem before Steve Towne even set eyes on the 2-year-old gelding back in 2010. “Not much to look at,” the son of Closing Argument didn’t do anything in his training to give his new trainer reason to think he would excel during his racing career.

“I wouldn’t have run him for a claiming price if I thought that, but Mr. Rogers always breeds a nice horse,” said Towne of longtime client Samuel H Rogers Jr. “His breathing in his breezes was so loud we didn’t know if he could go five-eighths or three-quarters.”

Close It Out was entered in a maiden race for $20,000 claimers on Nov. 28, 2010 without any lofty expectations from his connections or the bettors who sent him to post at 20-1 odds. The Florida-bred gelding was in contention entering the stretch in his debut, and, just when his breathing problem could be expected to surface and take its toll, he kicked in through the stretch run to draw away to a 1 ½-length victory.

“He surprised us, but he has never let us down since then,” Towne said. “He fires every time. Hopefully, he’ll fire again Saturday.”

Close It Out, who has distinguished himself as one of the most consistent and talented stakes and allowance sprinters in South Florida, is scheduled to take on eight rivals, including Grade 1 stakes winners Swagger Jack and Jackson Bend, in Saturday’s $100,000 Housebuster Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Rated third in the morning-line at 5-1 behind 9-5 Swagger Jack and 3-1 Jackson Bend, Close It Out has lived up to his name during a 30-race career with a late-running style that has produced seven victories, including three stakes scores, six places and eight shows.

“If you ask him to run earlier, he doesn’t have the air to finish. He’s got the style that you ask him for his run the last quarter of a mile, and you hope he catches them,” Towne said. “He waits for you to ask him to run, and he finishes strong.”

Like all confirmed one-run horses, Close It Out’s chances of victory usually hinge on the early pace.
“There looks like there’s some speed in the race Saturday. I hope the extra furlong will give him extra time for him to catch them,” said Towne, whose gelding won a seven-furlong $75,000 Florida-bred starter stakes at Gulfstream in 2011.

Close It Out has amassed $387,381 in career earnings with his consistent check-collecting style. Not bad for a horse who had two tie-back surgeries before he even ran.

“Even today, he makes a lot of noise, but he fires every time,” Towne said. “He’s the most fun horse I’ve had to watch run, because every time he’s right there.”

Jockey Sanchez Slowly Improving

Jockey Hugo Sanchez, who got off to a hot start at Gulfstream's first summer meet, says he's slowly improving after being involved in a spill Sunday, July 28 and suffering compressed vertebrae when his mount clipped heels with another horse entering the stretch

"It's getting better day-to-day," Sanchez said. "I have compressed vertebrae so I've been wearing a brace for a couple weeks. They told me I'd be out probably about 6-to-8 weeks, but I'm going to the doctors (this weekend) to see what they say."

Sanchez has 11 victories from 36 starts (31 percent). Edgard Zayas goes into the weekend leading all riders with 12 victories.