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Updated: 7 hours 6 min ago

Foal Patrol: Memento d’Oro delivers a filly by Bodemeister at Old Tavern Farm

Tue, 2018-03-27 11:45

Photo courtesy Old Tavern Farm

(Edited National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame press release)

Memento d’Oro, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro owned by Old Tavern Farm in Saratoga Springs, delivered the fifth foal of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s Foal Patrol project at 12:35 a.m. on March 27, 2018.

The foal, a filly by Bodemeister, was an early arrival, as the farm had a projected foaling date of March 30. Both Memento d’Oro and the foal are in perfect health. The live feed of Memento d’Oro and her foal can be viewed on the mare’s page at

“It’s great to see the new foal at Old Tavern Farm,” said Cathy Marino, director of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. “We want to thank Walt Borisenok and his talented staff, including Greg Daley and Trina Paskvale, for all their help and participation in Foal Patrol. We’re looking forward to seeing Memento d’Oro’s foal develop and hopefully enjoy a fantastic career as a racehorse.”

Fans of Foal Patrol can also keep up on all the news and live videos of the mares that have already given birth and follow their interactions with their foals via the Foal Patrol website: Sabbatical (Claiborne Farm), Stopchargingmaria (Three Chimneys), Centre Court (Shawnee Farm) and New York-bred La Verdad (Edition Farm).

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame launched Foal Patrol on Dec. 19 at The project is a one-of-a-kind collection of live web cameras where people can view real-time streams of several in-foal mares during their pregnancy through the actual foaling.


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Status Asthmaticus first winner for Heavy Breathing

Mon, 2018-03-26 11:22

NYRA/Coglianese Photo

By Sarah Mace

New York sire Heavy Breathing was represented by his first winner Sunday when sophomore filly Status Asthmaticus rallied from off the pace to win the fourth race at Aqueduct. From her sire’s first crop of 22 named foals, Status Asthmaticus is owned by her trainer Collin Maragh in partnership with the filly’s co-breeders Sunrise Stables and Golden Goose Enterprises.

One of nine lined up to go 6 1/2-furlongs in the $40,000 state-bred maiden claiming race, Status Asthmaticus (fifth choice at 11-1 odds) broke well and chased favorite Scripted and second choice Sunblock who dueled in the early stages through opening splits of 23.57 and 47.51.

Status Asthmaticus made steady progress toward the frontrunners along the backstretch run and came under more vigorous urging from jockey Abel Lezcano in far turn, advancing into third and angling out widest of all at the quarter pole.

The bay filly engaged the duelers in upper stretch, took over the lead in advance of the furlong marker and drew off steadily to secure a 1 3/4-length victory in a final time of 1:19.77. Scripted preserved second, while first time starter Bug Tales checked in third. [VIDEO]

Status Asthmaticus is the first foal out of Pylortes, a placed Kentucky-bred runner by Silver Train who was purchased as a yearling by Steven Howell for the bargain price of $2,200. She has produce two more full siblings to Status Asthmaticus: an unnamed juvenile filly and a yearling colt named Poco. She was bred last year to Cornerstone (IRE).

Heavy Breathing, by Giant’s Causeway out of Takesmybreathaway, is a full-brother to successful New York sire Frost Giant, who currently heads the 2018 New York sire rankings. A graded stakes-placed runner, Heavy Breathing stands for a partnership that includes Andrew Cohen’s Sunset Stables LLC, Gary Tolchin’s Golden Goose Enterprises LLC and Well Found Management LLC and is located at Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions LLC where he stands for a private fee.


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Split Time takes the prize in Maddie May

Sat, 2018-03-24 16:47

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

By Sarah Mace

Tic Stables’ Split Time (Take Charge Indy) made her stakes debut a winning one at Aqueduct on Saturday when she overcame a tricky trip to win the one-mile, $100,000 Maddie May Stakes for New York-bred sophomore fillies by a half-length.

A solid runner-up in a sprint debut at Aqueduct on December 6, the Linda Rice-trainee stretched out to a mile in her next two starts, winning the pair by a combined 11 1/2 lengths from just off the pace. On January 18 she beat state-bred maidens and on February 16 got the better of first-level state-bred allowance runners. Bet down to even money Saturday, Split Time had the services of jockey Junior Alvarado, who piloted her to both victories.

Following a good start, Split Time settled in fourth in the pocket along the backstretch, while Under Suspicion pressed by Breezy Gal carved out early fractions of 23.45 and 46.97. Our Super Nova raced at Split Time’s flank.

Once the field rounded the far turn and the first six furlongs ticked by in 1:12.83, Split Time and Alvarado were still penned in at the fence and would soon be in need of running room.

With the rail route proving too narrow after brief window of opportunity opened in upper stretch, and Our Super Nova on her way to overhauling pacesetter two-wide, Alvarado had to guide Split Time multiple paths off the fence to get to the outside of both main rivals.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

In the clear in late stretch, Split Time set her sights on new leader Our Super Nova and ran her rival down in the final jumps to score a nifty half-length victory in a final time of 1:38.50. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Our Super Nova in second finished 3 1/2 lengths in advance of Cause We are Loyal, who closed from last into third, leaving Under Suspicion to settle for forth. Breezy Gal, also from the Rice barn, completed the order of finish.

“It was an interesting trip,” commented Rice. “Split Time is very tactical and I thought she has more natural speed than [my other filly Breezy Gal]. I just told them whoever breaks well needs to take it and the other needs to sit off of it and settle. Split Time unfortunately was kind of in an uncomfortable spot the entire race and I was happy she finally wheeled to the outside and got up.”

Alvarado also commented on having to resort to “Plan B.” “Coming into the race, my plan was to follow Dylan [Davis] aboard [Breezy Gal] but when he didn’t initially send her, the plan had to change. By the five-sixteenths pole I was still a half-length inside and I didn’t see him move, so I had to wait a little bit longer than I wanted. It got more complicated than I would have liked, but I was still able to make another move and she was just so much the best.”

Split Time was purchased by Rice from the Sequel consignment for $62,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale. From three wins and a second, she has already earned $138,200, and her conditioner is high on the filly’s prospects.

“[Split Time]’s a nice filly. We bought her as a yearling in Saratoga and she’s won three in a row now, so we’re really excited. She had some great, easy trips in her two previous wins. Today, I was pretty impressed with her grittiness. She had a difficult trip the entire race and was never in a comfortable spot, but she managed to swing out and kick home.”

Alvarado, who has come to know Split Time pretty well by now, echoed the sentiments. “She has the class. She didn’t get the best of trips but she still showed how good she is to overcome it. In the late stretch, [Super Nova] started drifting but she was just running her race. It wasn’t anything drastic. It just made things interesting for a little while until my filly really geared down. The only difference is I had the best horse. She’s an amazing filly. Ever since Linda stretched her out to a mile, it seems like the distance suits her perfectly.”

Bred by Sequel Stallions New York LLC and foaled at Sequel’s farm in Hudson, Split Time comes from a productive New York-bred family. Her winning dam Speed Dating, out of Near and Dear, is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner and $693,500-earner Saratoga Snacks. Speed Dating has an unnamed 2-year-old Alpha colt, a yearling Freud filly named Afreud of a Strorm and was bred back to the same stallion in 2017.



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OBS March 2018 wrap: New York-bred juveniles in demand and selling well

Thu, 2018-03-15 13:32

By Sarah Mace

The New York-bred juveniles at this week’s 2-day Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2018 March sale got the state program’s 2-year-old auction season off to a rollicking start.

Nine individuals, all colts as it happened, brought $250,000 or more. The buyback percentage for the group was far better than the overall RNA rate and the other key indicators were on a par with the sale numbers. Further, numbers posted by the New York-breds this year were dramatically better than those generated by the New York-bred cohort at OBS in 2017.

From 37 individuals offered over the auction’s two sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, 30 New York-breds changed hands (including two private sales). The resulting 18.9% buyback rate was dramatically better than the 30% RNA percentage for the general population of the sale. As to the other indicators, New York-breds posted an average price of $164,200, which was comparable to the sale average of $167,685. Their $110,000 median was identical to the sale median.

A year-to-year-comparison of the New York-bred performance at OBS March this year gives reason to be optimistic about the 2018 juvenile marketplace for Empire State-breds.  Even though the 2017 catalogue was significantly larger, just 32 New York-bred 2-year-olds were offered last year. Of these, only 20 sold, which generated a high RNA percentage of 37.5%. The 2017 average and median prices for New York-breds came in at $107,700 for the average and $68,500 for the median, well below the 2018 numbers

New York-Breds at OBS March 2017-2018

  Offered     Sold    RNA%       Average    Median

2018       37                 30         18.9%        $164,200    $110,000
2017*      32                 20         37.5%       $107,700     $68,500
*Stats revised by OBS 6/12/17

On Wednesday no horse eclipsed Tuesday’s New York-bred topper (Hip 169), a City Zip colt purchased by Steve Young for $550,000, but there were plenty of outstanding results to go around.

Wednesday’s top New York-bred seller was a Hip 504, a son of Street Sense hammered down for $420,000 to Lane’s End Bloodstock from the consignment of  Crupi’s New Castle Farm, Agent X after posting a :10 flat work under tack. The bay colt is a pin-hooking success story, purchased last year by Jughead Stable for $75,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale.

Bred by Edition Farm and foaled on February 2, 2016, colt’s is out of Edition-bred mare Ouchy Night, a multiple stakes-placed runner and earner of $209,793. The mare’s lone foal to race is stakes performer Wild about Harry. The colt’s second third and fourth dam, Minetonightsfirst, Mine Tonight and Mardi Gras Maid, are all stakes winners.

In the same session three more colts brought $300,000 and up, led by Hip 465, a dark bay or brown colt by City Zip bred by Hidden Lake Farm LLC and purchased by Charles H. Boden, Agent for $360,000. Foaled on April 4, 2016, the colt is the second foal out of Meiann, an unraced daughter of First Samurai who sold for $330,000 as a Keeneland September yearling in 2009.

Meiann is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Power Broker and stakes winner Fierce Boots. The colt’s second dam Shop Again is stakes winner and the family under third dam boasts such luminaries as Grade 1 winner Miss Shop, dam of graded winners Tin Type Gal, and graded winner and sire Trappe Shot.  The colt, who posted a sharp :9 4/5 work, was consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds LLC, Agent, who purchased him last year for $170,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale

A pair of New York-bred colts, who also turned in :9 4/5 works, met the $300,000 threshold during the session. Hip 524, a dark bay/brown Orb Colt out of a stakes winner bred SF Racing Group, Inc. went to Lobdell Family Stable. Hip 298, a chestnut individual by Jimmy Creed was purchased from Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables, Inc. by St. Elias Stable.

The next stop on the juvenile sales circuit is the Fasig-Tipton March sale on March 28. Click here for a list of New York-bred hips with links to their catalogue pages.

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NY-bred juveniles strike gold at OBS March opener; Central Banker colt brings $260,000

Wed, 2018-03-14 11:12

By Sarah Mace

The 16 New York-bred 2-year-olds who changed hands in the opening session of the 2-day Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2018 March sale drew some impressive winning bids Tuesday. Nine sold for six figures, and five (all colts) sold for $250,000 and up, including a colt from the first crop of New York sire Central Banker. At the very top, a juvenile by City Zip sold to agent Steve Young for $550,000.

With 20 New York-bred 2-year-olds offered in the session after scratches, the 16 who sold generated a buyback percentage of only 20%, which significantly outperformed the 38.3% RNA rate for the session and perhaps foreshadows a strong demand overall for the New York product this juvenile sale season. The New York-bred average was $168,313, virtually on par with the overall average price of $172,921, and the New York-bred median came in at $110,000, a few ticks better than the session median of $105,000.

The colt that went to Steve Young for $550,000 after posting a work in :10 flat in the under tack show sold as Hip 169 and is a son of the late City Zip named Big Zipper. Consigned by Bobby Dodd, agent, he was the sixth top juvenile of the session.

Bred by a partnership of Danzel Brendenmuel, Clocker Z Racing Stable, Gary Marsh and Sandra Powers, and foaled on January 19, 2016 at Hidden Lake Farm in Otisville, Big Zipper has now successfully changed hands three times in his young life. A $150,000 weanling purchase by Jim R. Wells at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall mixed sale, he was the top New York-bred male to go through the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale when he fetched $300,000 from Grand Oaks.

Big Zipper’s dam Auspicious is a Kentucky-bred multiple stakes-placed daughter of Indian Charlie acquired by Clocker Z Racing Stable in foal for $65,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. A half-sister of stakes performer Flatter Than Me, Auspicious has produced one winner of three foals to start. Big Zipper’s third dam is multiple stakes winner Powder Doll, who is also a graded stakes producer.

The second-leading New York-bred seller was Hip 99, who went to Charles H. Boden, Agent for $375,000 following a :21 1/5 quarter-mile drill. The bay Fed Biz colt, who was foaled on March 23, 2016 at Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent, is a third-generation product of the Gallagher’s breeding program.

The colt’s third dam, Felicita, who produced the colt’s second dam Eventail (Lear Fan) for Gallagher’s Stud, is also the dam of $2.4-million earner and broodmare of the year Take Charge Lady, dam of Will Take Charge, a $3.9-million earner, and champion 3-year-old colt, and sire Take Charge Indy. Eventail was a multiple stakes winner and graded-placed stakes runner. Her offspring include graded winner Straight Story and Strong Souther, a stakes winner in Japan. Eventail’s daughter, multiple winner Tulipmania, the sale colt’s dam, has produced one winner from four foals to start.

A graduate of the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale, Hip 99 was purchased by De Meric Stables for $185,000, who consigned the colt at OBS.

Of the three New York-bred 2-year-olds who sold in the $250,000-$290,000 range, Hip 29 deserves particular mention as member of the first crop of New York-based sire Central Banker, a Grade 2 winner by Speightstown who stands at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds for a 2018 stud fee of $7,500.

A bay colt bred by Hidden Brook Farm, LLC in partnership with Blue Devil Racing and foaled at McMahons’ Saratoga farm on April 8, 2016, Hip 29 sold to Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC for $260,000 from the consignment of Steven Venosa’s SGV Thoroughbreds LLC and turned in a furlong move in :10 2/5.

Co-breeder Blue Devil purchased the colt’s dam, Florida-bred Sister in Arms, as a Saratoga preferred yearling in 2012 for $125,000. A daughter of Colonel John, Sister in Arms went on to win a pair of turf contests before moving on to broodmare duty. Hip 29 is her first foal. She has since produced a colt by Awesome Again in 2017 and was bred last year to Animal Kingdom. Her half-sister Quiet Meadow is a multiple graded stakes-placed runner.

Typically, the boutique Fasig-Tipton March sale kicks off the juvenile auction season rather than the larger OBS March sale, but was scheduled this year to be held later, on March 28 in Gulfstream Park’s walking ring to coincide with Grade 1 Florida Derby week. The second and concluding session of the OBS sale takes place on Wednesday, March 14 beginning at 10:30.


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Fourstar Crook up in the shadow of the wire to win the Grade 2 Hillsborough

Sat, 2018-03-10 18:58

SV Photography

By Sarah Mace

Fourstar Crook’s seasonal debut was a thriller. The 6-year-old daughter of Freud (Sequel Stallions) uncorked a perfectly-timed rally from off the pace under Irad Ortiz, Jr. and got up in the shadow of the wire to win the Grade 2, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday.

Chad Brown, who trains the mare for Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stable and Gary Aisquith, had the challenge of successfully preparing Fourstar Crook to go 1 1/8 miles on the grass at a new racetrack after a 5-month winter vacation. Fourstar Crook was last seen finishing third in the Grade 1 E. P. Taylor in October at Woodbine, which was run on “soft” turf which she did not much relish.

Exiting post three under Irad Ortiz, Jr. as the 7-2 third choice in the classy group of ten, Fourstar Crook raced well off the pace for the first three-quarters of a mile, saving ground at the rail. Longshot Dynatail set the fractions, clocking splits of 24.26, 49.45 and 1:13.14 while pressed along by fellow-longshot Lovely Loyree.

The pace of the race and the excitement picked up in the far turn. Fourstar Crook, who had bided her time at the fence in seventh and eighth, shifted out a path and advanced a couple of spots, then fanned out three-wide into the lane. Meanwhile upset-minded Procter’s Ledge (7-1) circled the pacesetters and took over the lead heading into the stretch.

Fourstar Crook worked her way further out into the clear in upper stretch, then unleashed her hallmark closing kick. She passed her remaining four rivals in the final sixteenth and got up just in the nick of time to edge Proctor’s Ledge (7-1) and win by a head. After one mile in 1:36.91, she stopped the clock after nine furlongs over the firm turf in 1:48.43.

SV Photography

“She broke so good and I just stayed on the rail to save all the ground I could, because I knew I had to have a good trip to beat this field,” said jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.

“She is getting better and better every time. I just saved ground and when I tipped her out, she gave me a good kick in the end. When we got to the eighth pole I didn’t know if we were going to get there, but I just kept riding my horse hard and she got the job done.”

Chad Brown reverted to the vital issue of surface. “She prefers firm turf, and it was soft [when she finished third in the Grade 1 E. P. Taylor], so I thought that was a good effort. She’s a good mare and very consistent. She ran terrific today.”

Fourstar Crook has gone from success to success since breaking her maiden on October 18, 2015 at Aqueduct. Never off the board since, she kept a winning streak going for eight races after the maiden score, while collecting stakes wins in the 2016 Yaddo and John Hettinger and 2017 Mount Vernon for New York-breds. She picked up her first graded black type in the Grade 3 Dr. James Penny Memorial on July 4 at Parx Racing. Second in the Yaddo last summer at Saratoga, Fourstar Crook repeated as the Hettinger winner before her show finish in the E. P. Taylor.

Bred by Kathleen M. Feron and foaled at Akindale Farm in Pawling, Fourstar Crook sold as a yearling to Allied Bloodstock at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale for $55,000. A $70,000 buyback when offered at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton March 2-year-old sale, she was purchased by owner Michael Dubb for $110,000 at the auction company’s Midlantic sale.

Fourstar Crook is one of six winners out of the Avril a Portugal by D’Accord, who was bred by John Hettinger. Her Coaltown Legend (Jump Start) earned over $325,000.

From 10 wins, two seconds and a third in 15 starts Fourstar Crook’s earnings bankroll stands at an impressive $813,166. Two full siblings to Fourstar Crook are in the pipeline: a juvenile filly and a yearling colt.


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First mares reported in foal to Union Jackson

Thu, 2018-03-08 09:43

(Press Release)

First mares are reported in foal to multiple stakes winner Union Jackson at Sequel Stallions, Hudson, New York.

Hoboken Honey, a young winner by Rockport Harbor was covered for Mr. Amore Stables. One Gun, a young Malibu Moon mare out of graded stakes winner Necessary Evil was covered for Sequel Thoroughbreds. Gift Of Giving, a Regal Classic mare with 3 winners and progeny earnings of $177,113 was covered for Hidden Lake & Rapid Run Farm. Reiana, a maiden by Majestic Warrior from immediate family of Canadian Champion 2YO Filly, FANTASY LAKE, was covered for Saratoga Glen Farm.  All four mares are in foal.

“We’ve had an incredible amount of interest and support from top New York breeders for Union Jackson and we believe he is going to reward them for it,” reports Becky Thomas. “The Sequel/Stonestreet venture is putting nearly $500,000 in nice mares under him ourselves, so we are thrilled that he is proficient in his new role!”

A five-year-old son of Curlin – Hot Dixie Chick by Dixie Union, Union Jackson was bred in Kentucky by Barbara Banke’s Grace Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, campaigned by her Stonestreet Stables LLC, and trained throughout his career by Steve Asmussen.

On only his second start, Union Jackson emulated his sire and dam by earning honors as a TDN Rising Star, breaking his maiden by nine lengths over six furlongs at Keeneland. He went on to win six races by a combined margin of 26½ lengths, including an 8¼ lengths score in the Sam Houston Sprint Cup, and on his final outing a victory in the Iowa Sprint Handicap, which he took while running six furlongs in 1:08.75.

Union Jackson, the fastest son of two-time Horse of the Year, Curlin, is standing as a joint venture between Stonestreet Stables and Sequel New York for $5,000 LFSN.

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Midnight Disguise takes Busher with dynamic rally

Sat, 2018-03-03 20:04

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

William B. Wilmot and Joan M. Taylor’s Midnight Disguise turned on the afterburners late to best five accomplished 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s 39th running of the $200,000 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct.

With the victory, Midnight Disguise earned 50 points on the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks,” which, when added to the 10 points she earned winning the Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct on January 25, virtually assures her a place in the Oaks starting gate on the first Friday in May.

Cutting back from the Busanda’s nine furlongs to one mile and reunited with Busanda win jockey Trevor McCarthy, Midnight Disguise (5-2 third choice) sat off the pace through the first three-quarters of a mile with only one horse beaten. Up front, favorite War Heroine set manageable fractions of 24.57, 48.96 and 1:13.80.

Racing several paths off the fence along the backstretch, Midnight Disguise navigated the turn four-wide and angled out widest of all when set down for the drive.

McCarthy had planned specifically to keep his filly out of traffic. “She’s one that likes to be on the outside,” said McCarthy. “She’s a big filly [with a] huge stride, so there’s no sense in to keeping her bottled up inside.”

Trainer Linda Rice echoed the idea. “I was very happy with Trevor [McCarthy’s] decision to sit back, let her gather herself up and let everybody else find their place, and then he tucked her to the outside. She’s such a big filly; we discussed not getting her in a position where she’d get back, steadied, stopped and not find room. She’s just too big to put her in tight quarters.”

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Closing well in upper stretch, Midnight Disguise shifted into high gear in the final furlong. Gobbling up ground with huge strides, she passed new leader Sara Street, who had pressed the pace early, and drew away in the final seventy yards to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:39.15. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Said Rice, “She really kicks into gear late. She’s a big filly and she’s obviously learned a lot, and we’ve made a lot of progress with her in the last three months and I was delighted. This was a much tougher race then she’d run in thus far. We were aware of that obviously, but she seems to step through every hurdle we give her. I’m very excited.”

A four-time winner in five career starts, with one second, and earner of $257,600, Midnight Disguise should command a good deal of respect should she make the trip to Louisville for the Oaks. She has won at nine furlongs, rates kindly and has an electrifying turn of foot in the lane. Both Rice and McCarthy feel that the filly is tougher at longer distances.

Midnight Disguise’s next date with the starter will be the nine-furlong, Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes on April 7. Said Rice, “That would be the natural stepping stone to the [Kentucky] Oaks. I’ve never run in the Oaks, and the possibility is very exciting.”

Midnight Disguise is one of four winners from four foals to start out of Wilmot and Taylor’s winning homebred Thin Disguise (Yes It’s True), a half-sister to millionaire and 2007 New York-bred Horse of the Year Naughty New Yorker.

Midnight Disguise’s 4-year-old sister by Harlan’s Holiday, Holiday Disguise, is the winner of Bouwerie Stakes and Biogio’s Rose for Lady Sheila Stable. Thin Disguise currently has a 2-year-old colt by Verrazano a yearling filly by Tiznow and was bred last year to Bodemeister.

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Aunt Babe solves the puzzle of the Franklin Square

Sat, 2018-02-24 15:56

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Louis Ferrari’s homebred Aunt Babe (Desert Party) solved the handicapping puzzle that was the $100,000 Franklin Square for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies at the Big A on Saturday. With a half-dozen evenly matched sophomores in the hunt, Aunt Babe got an ideal ride from jockey Rafael Hernandez that gave her the chance to play to her strengths and win the day.

Early in the run up the backstretch Aunt Babe settled in fifth in the two-path, while Velvet Trinni blazed the trail from post one, clocking an opening quarter mile in 22.77 while pressed by 5-2 favorite Pauseforthecause.

In the approach to the far turn Aunt Babe improved a couple of spots and drafted in behind the top two, securing a spot at the rail.

As Hernandez reported, “A couple of horses had a lot of speed, so we broke good at the gate and tried to keep [our] position right behind them, like two lengths behind the speed”

While Aunt Babe saved ground through the far turn, Pauseforthecause ranged up beside Velvet Trinni and took over at the quarter pole as the half went in 46.67.

NYRA/Rob Mauhar

Aunt Babe then tipped out into the clear for the dash to the wire.

“[In the stretch], I thought I had a good shot,” said Hernandez. “Even at the quarter-pole, I stayed behind the two-horse [Pauseforthecause], I said, ‘Man, we keep going like that, I’m going to have a lot of horse for the stretch for the last sixteenth of the race, and that’s what she did.”

Aunt Babe caught up with Pauseforthecause around the furlong marker and struck the front in the final sixteenth. She was also left with enough in reserve to stave off a rallying My Roxy Girl before she secured the victory by a neck a final time of 1:11.79 over “good” going. Runner-up My Roxy Girl finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Pauseforthecause, followed by Beautiful Buzz, Trinni Ninja and Velvet Trinni. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Winner of her Belmont debut at Belmont by 7 1/2 lengths for Carlos Martin, three starts later, Aunt Babe lit up the tote board in the Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes series when she won by a nose at odds of 39-1 for trainer Jimmy Ferraro. Her most recent start was the one-mile East View stakes on January 14, when she attended a fast pace before fading. In the Franklin Square she was turning back to the six-furlong distance of her two prior victories.

Ferraro said, “She cut back with ease. Last time [in the East View], the mile was too much for her. Today, it was the type of trip we wanted to see. In her last race, she was a little too sharp and she was up closer than we wanted her to be. We just wanted to try and lay off the speed, and we were very confident coming in. The time was pretty good, too. Things played out well. There was plenty of speed and we just stayed off it.” Ferraro would not rule out trying to stretch Aunt Babe out again, at least to seven furlongs.

Foaled at Peacefield in Schuylerville, Aunt Babe is a daughter of Bella Silver, a placed runner by Silver Deputy also bred and campaigned by Ferrari. Aunt Babe has won three of six career starts and earned $188,000.


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Favored My Boy Tate makes it two straight in Hollie Hughes

Mon, 2018-02-19 18:16

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

Sent off as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite to score a second straight stakes victory in Monday’s $100,000 Hollie Hughes for New York-bred sprinters, My Boy Tate obliged his backers with a one-length win from off the pace under Dylan Davis. The young second-generation jockey has been a “Big A” powerhouse over the last two days, winning six races on Sunday, including the Gander Stakes, and three more on the President’s Day holiday card.

Making his eighth career start, My Boy Tate has gone undefeated since his broke his maiden at fourth asking at Saratoga on August 13 with a wire-to-wire win. Off until November 12, the dark bay picked up right where he left off with a 6 3/4-length frontrunning allowance win, then doubled down with a stalking victory in a second-level state-bred allowance on December 9. He capped the series with another strong frontrunning score in his stakes debut, the Say Florida Sandy on January 13.

After the starter sprang the latch on the fortieth renewal of the Hollie Hughes, things began to unfold a little differently for My Boy Tate this time around. Drawn in post seven of eight, he broke outwards and raced seven paths out along the backstretch, before advancing to fourth and moving toward the inside as the field approached the far turn.

Meanwhile Eye Luv Lulu (13-1) showed the way up top, leading the field through an opening quarter in a snappy 22.45, pursued by Tribecca in second, whose performance from start to finish belied his 50-1 longshot odds.

According to Davis, “When [My Boy Tate] broke, the track is kind of heavy, so it took him a couple of strides to get running. Also, I wanted to come out running and there was a lot of speed in here the way it unfolded, but he had no problem getting back into the pace.”

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Gaining third in the turn, My Boy Tate caught up to the leaders and made it three across the track at the quarter pole as the half went in 45.63. In upper stretch Eye Luv Lulu soldiered on at the rail, Tribecca held second between horses and My Boy Tate menaced in the three-path.

“I was a little worried,” said Davis. “Kendrick [Carmouche on Tribecca] was doing the best he could there laying second, but I didn’t feel like it was enough pressure on Jason [Servis]’s horse [Eye Luv Lulu], so I ended up getting to Kendrick as early as I could with ease and I just tried to attack a little earlier and he got it done.”

The other two were game in the stretch, but in the final sixteenth My Boy Tate poked a head in front and edged off to win by a length. Eye Luv Lulu in second checked in 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Tribecca and Saratoga Giro completed the superfecta. The final time for six furlongs over the muddy and harrowed track was 1:10.23. [VIDEO REPLAY]

A gelded son of New York-based sire Boys at Tosconova (Questroyal North), My Boy Tate was bred by his trainer Michelle Nevin, who is also a co-owner in partnership with Billy Koch’s Little Red Feather Racing.

Nevin said that having bred My Boy Tate gives her an edge in the trainer’s role. “I feel like my experience around him, and how he has come along, so you kind of know his habits before he even comes to you, so it is an advantage.”

Even so Nevin visualized the race a little differently beforehand (“I thought we’d be a little bit closer, but we didn’t plan on being on the pace today”) and credited her jockey with a skillful ride.

“I think he [Dylan Davis] did an excellent job,” said Nevin. “It came a little closer than it has been in his previous races. But I think Dylan did a really smart move by not rushing early. I would have hated to see him get caught in a speed duel and fall apart at the end. He really gave him a great ride.”

Nevin thinks that open competition may well be in My Boy Tate’s future.

Davis, for his part, commented on his nine trips to the winner’s circle in two days, “I did the best I could. I’m happy to come out with three winners. It’s a great day again following a six-win day. It’s incredible.”

Foaled at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, My Boy Tate is one of two winners, and the first to earn black type, out of Backslash, a winning Kentucky-bred daughter of Sharp Humor campaigned by Paul P. Pompa Jr. who purchased her for $85,000 in 2009 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. The mare has a 3-year-old unraced Bluegrass Cat colt named Charlie McCoy, a yearling colt by Big Brown and foaled a colt by Micromanage on February 4, 2018.

From five wins, a second and third in eight starts, My Boy Tate has earned $252,300.

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Startwithsilver explodes in the stretch to capture Broadway

Sun, 2018-02-18 18:34

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Startwithsilver (Jump Start) bided her time in last place for the first half-mile of her stakes debut Sunday, Aqueduct’s co-featured $100,000 Broadway Stakes for New York-bred filly and mare sprinters, but when ready to run she unleashed an explosive rally down the middle of the track, passing the field and opening up to score a scintillating six-length victory.

Co-owned by Iris Smith Stable, Lady Sheila Stable and trainer Linda Rice, 5-year-old Startwithsilver broke her maiden on dirt in April of 2016, but until January 25 had run on dirt only one other time, instead compiling a solid race record in turf sprints.

In her return to dirt just over three weeks ago she wrote the script for the Broadway. She raced dead last and as much as eleven lengths off the pace in a 6-furlong sprint before finding her stride, engaged the field in the stretch and charged home to win by 2 3/4 lengths under jockey Junior Alvarado. The pair were reunited on Sunday and went off as the 2-1 second choice in the field of six.

Competition was fast and furious up front in the early stages of the Broadway as Sandy Bell and Shimmering Moon dueled through an opening quarter mile in 22.77, with 3-2 favorite Picco Uno in the hunt in third. Startwithsilver, unconcerned, traveled in last place seven lengths behind all the action.

Roused by her pilot in the turn, Startwithsilver passed her first horse in the approach to the quarter pole. She then angled out widest of all at the head of the stretch as the half ticked by in 46.88.

NYRA/Annette Jasko

The grey mare then kicked into gear and simply rocketed down the middle of the track, blowing past her rivals and opening up to win by six lengths in a final time of 1:11.44 over the sloppy (sealed) racing surface. Bee Noteworthy closed from fifth to get second and Picco Uno finished another two lengths back in third. Completing the order of finish were Sandy Belle, Frosty Margarita and Shimmering Moon. [VIDEO REPLY]

For Alvarado it was déjà vu all over again: “You sit on her and wait for her to have the kick she did last time, so that’s what I did.” He added, “As soon as we turned for home I just put her in the clear. I knew the race was over. And when she switched [her leads] she got another extra two gears and she just turned for home very strong. It was a nice win for her.”

As to the mare’s preferred surface, Alvarado sees greater potential for her right now on dirt, wet or dry. “I know she can do turf too, but I think her best right now is on the dirt. That turn-of-foot for home is incredible. The last time, it was a dry track and I was far back, and she was a little hesitant with the dirt at the beginning because it was her first race in a while running on the dirt. She was very professional [today]. She took the dirt well. And when I asked her, she was like a push-button. I just had to hang on tight.”

Previously Startwithsilver’s pedigree had convinced Rice to stick with turf. Bred by Burning Sands Stable and foaled at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, the mare is out of New York-bred Office Miss (Silver Ghost), a winner of three turf stakes. The female family also features Artie Schiller, Hidden Light and Ferdinand.

Rice said, “When we started with her, she broke her maiden on the dirt, but her mother had made around $350,000 on the grass, so we switched her to the turf, and there were just more opportunities for her there. Last winter, I decided to give her a break and freshen her up, and this winter I thought to try her on the dirt and give her another chance. We’ve been delighted with her last performances and I thought this race was pretty darn competitive.”

Lightly raced for a 5-year-old, with relatively long hiatuses between two and three, and three and four, Startwithsilver has compiled a career record of five wins, four seconds and two thirds from 15 starts, with $273,559 in earnings.

Purchased as a yearling by Raul Reyes’ Kings Equine at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall sale for just $32,000, Startwithsilver was bought by Rice for $180,000 at the 2015 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. She is the most recent reported foal for her dam Office Miss, who produced five winners.

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Stretch-out sprinter Nine Route wires Gander

Sun, 2018-02-18 16:00

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Stretching out from a pair of dirt sprints, Nine Route (The Factor) put a stakes victory on the board in his fourth career start at Aqueduct Sunday with a frontrunning victory in the one-mile $100,000 Gander Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds.

Trained by Jeremiah Engelhart for retired NFL coach Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm, the bay colt was piloted to victory by a hot-handed Dylan Davis who began Sunday’s race program with a personal rolling pick three. Davis would go on to sweep the first five races.

Headlined by undefeated 1-5 favorite Empire Line, the field of five was reduced by one on race day with the scratch of Michael Dilger-trainee Evaluator. The would-be contender, beaten just a nose by Empire Line in the Damon Runyon on January 15, is stabled in Belmont’s barn 10, now under a 21-day quarantine due to an outbreak of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM), which has claimed the life of one of Tom Albertrani’s fillies. No other horses have exhibited symptoms of the disease.

Gio d’Oro, the 7-2 second choice in the Gander, broke on top, but Nine Route, who was the lone confirmed speed of the quartet, successfully challenged for the lead by the time the horses exited the chute.

NYRA/Robert Mauhar

Nine Route traveled comfortably at the rail along the backstretch, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Gio d’Oro, followed by Empire Line another length back on the rail, and Engineers Report. After early splits ticked off in 23.91 and 48.20, Empire Line made a run at Nine Route, but dropped back and came under the whip. The favorite seemed not to have relished his first encounter with off going.

Nine Route completed three-quarters in 1:14.04 and edged clear in the stretch on his way to a convincing 3-length victory. Gio d’Oro won the battle for second, finishing a half-length ahead of a somewhat resurgent Empire Line, while longshot Engineers Report brought up the rear. The final time for the mile was 1:41.25 over the sloppy (sealed) track.

Off the board in his July 2 Belmont debut on the grass for Bill Mott, and only resurfacing on December 8 to break his maiden by more than six lengths for Engelhart, Nine Route came into the Gander off a solid allowance win over “good” going. He scored both sprint victories on the front end and for the colt’s stakes debut both trainer and jockey were minded to position Nine Route where he has done his best work.

“He was on the lead his last two races and coming in we thought he might be able to do the same thing today,” said Engelhart. “Dylan did a really nice job with him. Sometimes he tends to start a bit sluggish, but he got out of there okay and really handled the track which was also a concern.”

Added Davis, “He broke a step slow and I got a little worried, but once he got into stride, he took control and I got him to relax. He geared down and knew what he had to do turning for home.”

Dylan also noted that the sloppy conditions didn’t seem to bother the colt. “He handled it [the off-going] better than the others and just got the job done. He had no problems getting over it.”

Reviewing the Nine Route’s young career, Engelhart said, “He’s now 3-for-3 for us and he’s pleasantly surprised me every time. In his first start for us I wasn’t sure he would be able to handle the dirt and he did that, second start I was worried about allowance company and he passed that test and today we had some questions if he would handle a route distance and he did it pretty impressive.”

The conditioner has no specific plans for the colt’s next start.

Bred by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds LLC, Nine Route is out of Flash Act, a Kentucky-bred multiple winner by Sky Mesa out of multiple Grade 1 winner Missy’s Mirage (Stop the Music). Missy’s Mirage is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Classy Mirage, the dam of Grade 1 winning sire Dublin.

Nine Route sold to Lane’s End for $190,000 as a weanling at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton November sale in Kentucky. When he was offered the following summer at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred sale in Saratoga, August Dawn Farm had to go to $290,000 to get him into the stable. From three wins in four starts, he has earned $127,448.

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Hit It Once More upsets Haynesfield S. at 16-1

Sat, 2018-02-17 16:06

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Yellow Moon Stable’s Hit It Once More (Hard Spun), whose most recent stakes victory came in the Albany for New York-bred sophomores in July 2016, took almost everybody by surprise at Aqueduct on Saturday when he won the third running of the $100,000 Haynesfield Stakes in frontrunning style at longshot odds of 16-1.

Following an outstanding sophomore campaign in 2014 when he won four of seven starts, topped by back-to-back victories in the New York Derby and Albany stakes, Hit It Once More went winless in nine races in 2017. When trainer Gary Sciacca added blinkers for the 5-year-old’s first start of 2018, however, Hit It Once More woke up. He won a Parx allowance by more than four lengths on January 9, and next out, on February 3, going the same 1 mile 70-yard trip at Parx, attended a sharp pace before fading fifth.

“We went two starts back with the blinkers and it kind of seemed to make a bit of a difference on him,” said Sciacca. “Made him more focused to do his job. He always broke good but he pays more attention now.”

Breaking from post five to go the one-turn mile Saturday, Hit It Once More was gunned to the front by pilot Rafael Hernandez. By the time the field exited the chute onto the main track, he led by more than a length. Extending his advantage to two lengths along the backstretch through early splits of 23.80 and 47.73, and still unchallenged through six panels in 1:13.12, he kicked on at the quarter pole. After leading by more than three lengths in the stretch, the bay cruised under the wire a 2 3/4-length winner.

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Favorite Can You Diggit (9-5) closed from off the pace into second, while Papa Shot, who chased in vain throughout, ended up in third. Finishing next in order were: Uncle Sigh, Clutch Cargo and Extinct Charm. The final time of for the mile over the muddy (harrowed) track was 1:39.52. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Hernandez reported he and Sciacca were determined to use Hit It Once More’s speed and new-found focus to their advantage. “That was the plan [to go to the lead],” Hernandez said. “Gary told me he’s better when he’s on the lead. So, I wanted to make sure he got the lead and, like he told me, he keeps going. He’s great on the lead. I didn’t let anybody get close to me. When he won a couple starts before, he was on the lead.”

Sciacca added, “I thought he could make the lead but with the one-turn mile, I was thinking they get on you from the start and they kind of did, but he got a breather when he opened up a little bit.”

Bred by JMJ Racing Stables and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson, Hit It Once More is the lone winner for his stakes-winning dam Sunday Geisha.

Sold as a yearling for $105,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale, Hit It Once More was purchased by Sciacca for $90,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale for Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm. After 17 starts for Parcells, Hit It Once More contested the Empire Classic on October 21, 2017 in the colors of Yellow Moon Stable.

Having won six races from 24 career starts with two seconds and a third, Hit It Once More has bankrolled an impressive $494,642.


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Battle Station wins the war in Rego Park Stakes

Sun, 2018-02-11 18:25

NYRA Photo

By Sarah Mace

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Battle Station (Warrior’s Reward) scored a determined and disciplined victory Sunday in Aqueduct’s featured $100,000, Rego Park Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds. After dueling speedster Stoney Bennett into submission in the first half-mile, the colt outgamed determined challenger Morning Breez in the stretch to register the win by a neck.

Turning back from a mile to six furlongs, Battle Station was drawn at the rail in the evenly matched field of five – the post-time odds for for the quintet fell within the range of 2-1 to 5-1.

The dark bay colt broke third, but was gunned to the front by jockey Martin Garcia to challenge early pacesetter Stoney Bennett. Up the back stretch and around the turn Battle Station and Stoney Bennett dueled furiously through hot early fractions of 22.09 and 45.59.

Meanwhile, Morning Breez at the rail, who raced in tandem with New York Hero along the backside, gained a clear third in the turn and ranged up beside the pace-setters three-wide approaching the quarter pole, ready to make them both pay in the stretch.

After Battle Station put away Stoney Bennett for good, Morning Breez came knocking and headed Battle Station in mid-stretch. Battle Station surged again, came back with gusto and secured the victory by a neck in a final time of 1:12.30 over the muddy (sealed) racetrack. It is a credit to both horses that they raced true to their paths in very close quarters under utmost urging.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

For third, New York Hero hit his best stride late to pass Stoney Bennett. Analyze Your Luck, who started poorly, completed the order of finish.

Martin Garcia, who had the call for the first time aboard Battle Station from trainer Wesley Ward said, “I was pretty excited since the day I worked him. I had confidence today. I knew he was not going to give up because I knew he was a fighter, and I knew he was going to come back. Even though [Morning Breez] passed me, my horse just got up.”

Garcia also praised Battle Station for handling his first encounter with sloppy conditions so well. “I think horses can be surprised sometimes when they see the mud, but he is really professional. It didn’t matter where he was, I think he was just ready to win today.”

Winner of his Saratoga bow in wire-to-wire fashion at Saratoga last year on the grass, Battle Station replicated the performance on dirt in the Bertram F. Bongard at Belmont in September. Eighth in the Sleepy Hollow, he wrapped up the year with a close second in an open optional-claiming race on November 25. In his seasonal debut, Battle Station checked in fourth in the one-mile Damon Runyon on January 15. From his three wins a second in six starts, the colt has earned $211,334

Bred by Lansdown Thoroughbreds, Battle Station is out of Uriel, an unraced daughter of Unbridled, who has produced six winners from seven starters.

Battle Station was purchased in utero by Mersad Metanovic Bloodstock when Uriel brought $17,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. In November 2015 at Keeneland Ken and Sarah Ramsey bought Battle Station as a weanling for $50,000 from Consignor Kearney Park.


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Holiday Disguise aces Biogio’s Rose from off the bench

Thu, 2018-02-08 19:17

NYRA/Alysse Jacobs

By Sarah Mace

After more than eight months off, Lady Sheila Stable’s Holiday Disguise (Harlan’s Holiday) returned to the races in picture-perfect form when she stalked and pounced her way to an open-length victory in the $100,000 Biogio’s Rose stakes at Aqueduct Thursday,

Last seen winning the Bouwerie Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park last May 25 for her third win in a row, Holiday Disguise owed her extended holiday to an ankle issue.

Said trainer Linda Rice, “I was pointing her towards the [Grade 1] Test because it was seven-eighths and she had run so well in the Bouwerie. But she didn’t come out of the stake as well as I wanted her to, and she’s too promising a filly, so I said we have to stop. It wasn’t a popular decision, but her ankle was bothering her, so I gave her [time] off.”

Even so, Holiday Disguise has been ready to race for seven weeks, but in this case her connections had to contend with different circumstances beyond their control. Rice said, “We’ve been trying to get her in a race since December 13, but between the weather and quarantine and cancellations, it’s been tough.” Rice’s barn was quarantined in January when a horse tested positive for EHV-1.

Co-favored at odds of 6-5 (1.30) with Frostwise (1.20), Holiday Disguise broke forwardly to go the one-turn mile, but took back under Junior Alvarado and tucked in neatly behind dueling leaders Frost Wise and No Hayne No Gayne for the backstretch run.

Alvarado, aboard Holiday Disguise for the first time, explained that this was exactly what he and Rice had discussed. “That was the plan [to be covered up behind Frost Wise]. Linda said that she may be further back than normally because we were going a mile and she hasn’t run since May, but after the break, it was the opposite. She broke very sharp. And she was pulling a little in the first part. Once I got the chance to get her covered up, that was the key to the race.”

Cruising comfortably as the top two battled through early fractions of 24.38 and 48.16, Holiday Disguise began to move clear of Decorator directly to her outside and set up as a clear third for the run around the far turn.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

At the quarter pole Holiday Disguise angled out three-wide, was shaken up by her pilot at the top of the stretch and, when asked for run, complied. Striking the front, she cruised smoothly to a 3 1/4-length victory. Alvarado, who peeked back in the final furlong and saw no menace in sight, geared the 4-year-old down in the final 70 yards.

After six furlongs in 1:14.40, the final time over the “good” going was 1:41.06. Frost Wise, second, finished 4 1/2 lengths ahead of No Hayne No Gayne, followed by Literata in fourth, Decorator Jen and Carry Your Heels.

Alvarado reported, “Before the half a mile pole, I knew I had a lot of horse. It was just a matter of time until I give her the green light and then when we turned for home I just put her in the clear and she did the rest. I was just a passenger this time.”

Rice was especially pleased with the way Holiday Disguise, whose longest race to date was seven furlongs, handled the mile. “She ran so well when we ran her last year at six [furlongs] and had a nice closing kick. At seven, she ran so well, so to me, I thought she was a natural to get [one mile], but you never know until you try them. I could see she was on the bridle and definitely interested, and I was happy she wasn’t loose on the lead.”

Holiday Disguise now has four wins from five starts, two stakes victories and has earned $209,150.

Bred by Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor, Holiday Disguise is out of Wilmot and Taylor’s Thin Disguise (Yes It’s True), a winning half-sister to millionaire and 2007 New York-bred Horse of the Year Naughty New Yorker. Her second dam is the couple’s late star broodmare Naughty Natisha.

Thin Disguise has produced four winners from four foals to start, among them Midnight Disguise, who recently earned Kentucky Oaks points with a victory in the Busanda Stakes on January 25. The mare has a juvenile colt by Verrazano, a yearling filly by Tiznow and was bred in 2017 to Bodemeister.

Thin Disguise first changed hands as a weanling, purchased by John Greathouse for $70,000 at the Keeneland November sale. Rice bought the talented filly for Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable as a yearling, going to $220,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred sale.


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