Holiday Disguise unleashes powerful late kick to win Bouwerie in stakes debut

Monday, May 29th, 2017
NYRA/Viola Jasko

NYRA/Viola Jasko

By Sarah Mace

Lady Sheila Stable’s Holiday Disguise (Harlan’s Holiday) scored a visually-impressive victory over nine other New York-bred 3-year-old fillies while making her stakes debut in the $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes, the nightcap on Belmont Park’s special Memorial Day Big Apple Showcase card.

Coming into the race, Holiday Disguise was looking to win her third straight start. After breaking her maiden second out on April 9 at seven furlongs at Aqueduct, she romped by six-plus lengths at 6 1/2 furlongs in her first try against winners at Belmont on May 7, for which she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.

Clearly, she was comfortable at the longer sprint distances (like the seven-furlong Bouwerie), which can be a challenge for some, but it was an open question how she would fare on the sloppy (sealed) racing surface. Her only loss, an even fourth-place finish in her career debut on March 9 on the Aqueduct inner oval, came over “good” going.

As the 3-1 second choice, Holiday Disguise had a rough go of it at the bell, when bumped hard exiting post eight by an inward-veering Noble Freud, and pinballed into rivals to her inside. She recovered her poise, though, and settled nicely into stride in eighth under Jose Ortiz, where she raced evenly through the first half mile while Noble Freud (4-1) took the field through early splits of 22.64 and 46.26.

A patient and immobile pilot up to this point, Ortiz flipped off another pair of goggles and got to work just past the five-sixteenths pole, starting to ask for more and taking Holiday Disguise seven-wide into the stretch.

By midstretch Holiday Disguise was targeting Noble Freud with intent. Arrow-like, ears pinned with determination, and neck and head extended, she strengthened her rally with every stride. In the final sixteenth she collared Noble Freud, and crossed the finish line a 1 1/4-length winner going away in a final time of 1:25.19.

Noble Freud finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of 18-1 Tiznow’s Smile in third and the rest of the field finished as follows: Wilburnmoney, Timely Tradition, 2-1 favorite Bluegrass Flag who was also bumped at the break, North End, Swing and Sway, Frosty Gal and Toni Tools. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Jose Ortiz explained why he opted to take his filly so wide in upper stretch. “I took a look in front of me and I saw Irad [Ortiz on Noble Freud] in front of me at the quarter-pole and he was going pretty good so that’s when I decided to go wide and not wait anymore. I felt like I had a lot of horse and I caught up with him and I decided to go wide.”

Ortiz added, “When I saw I had [Noble Freud] in my sights at the eighth-pole I knew I was going to pass her. She was moving well and I knew I was going to get there.”

“This filly is getting more professional, obviously,” said trainer Linda Rice. “She’s got a great disposition, good mind for it. She lays back and really puts in a strong stretch run, so she’s proved that she’ll just get better with more experience.”

As to the future, Rice said, “I think I want to keep her around one turn, whether that’s six [furlongs], seven, a mile, whatever. Jose and I just talked about it and I don’t think she’s handy enough for two turns yet. Maybe with more experience, she will be. She leans out just a little bit in her workouts and in her race, so we’ll stay around one turn.”

Bred by Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor, Holiday Disguise first changed hands as a weanling, purchased by John Greathouse for $70,000 at the Keeneland November sale Linda Rice snapped up the talented filly for $220,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale.

Holiday Disguise’s dam Thin Disguise (Yes It’s True) is a winning half-sister to millionaire and 2007 New York-bred Horse of the Year Naughty New Yorker. All three of Thin Disguise’s foals to start are winners and she currently has a 2-year-old filly by Midnight Lute, a yearling colt by Verrrazano and a filly by Tiznow foaled on April 5.

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