Midnight Disguise captures Busanda from off the pace, earns Oaks points

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

William B. Wilmot and Joan M. Taylor’s long-striding second-generation homebred Midnight Disguise has been nothing if not busy since winning her debut at one mile for trainer Linda Rice in mid-December.

Making her fourth career start in 41 days at Aqueduct on Thursday, Midnight Disguise took on – and beat – open rivals in the $100,000 Busanda Stakes for 3-year-old fillies from off the pace. The Busanda win is worth 10 points toward a berth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, just 99 days away at Churchill Downs.

Graduating at first asking by 6 1/2 lengths on December 15, six days later Midnight Disguise won a starter’s allowance by two lengths. In the January 14 East View stakes for state-bred fillies, she rallied impressively from last to second, though she ran erratically in the stretch. Thursday’s 1 1/8-mile Busanda would represent both a class hike and distance test for the daughter of Midnight Lute, who had yet to go beyond a mile.

Away well as all six fillies got off to an even start, Midnight Disguise, 5-2 second choice in the wagering, took a page from her East View playbook and dropped back to trail the field. Up front the two speeds, Oldfashioned Style and Take Charge Tina, led the group around the clubhouse turn and along the backstretch. Odds-on Hail tracked in third, followed by Incleveland in fourth.

Ten lengths off the pace early on, Midnight Disguise moved up a spot into fifth midway along backstretch and caught up with the vanguard by the approach to the far turn. Ultimately advancing into a menacing second midway round the bend, she set her sights on leader Oldfashioned Style.

With huge strides, Midnight Disguise took over the top spot just past the sixteenth-mile marker and went on to score a decisive victory by 4 1/4 lengths. Oldfashioned Style hung on for second, followed 3 3/4 lengths back in third by Hail. Incleveland and Take Charge Tina completed the order of finish. The final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:55.81. The race was hand-timed, and internal fractions were unavailable due to a timer malfunction [VIDEO REPLAY]

“She’s just continued to improve and gain fitness and seasoning,” said trainer Linda Rice. “[In the East View] she ran a little bit green on the outside and in the stretch switching leads. But we were delighted today with how she ran the mile and an eighth and two turns. It really opens up a lot of doors.”

Winning jockey Trevor McCarthy, who also had the call in the East View, addressed the way he managed to avoid some of the greenness of Midnight Disguise’s East View run. “I was going to ask her to switch her leads, but last time I asked her to switch her lead, she kind of overreacted, so I said today I am just going to leave her alone and let her do her own thing.”

Added McCarthy, “She is still a little immature, but definitely a nice filly. [She] has a bright future in front of her. I am very happy that Linda gave me the privilege to ride her back, and the owners as well.”

Both trainer and pilot concurred that distance was Midnight Disguise’s friend. Said Rice, “We just wanted Trevor to get her in the clear because she’s so big and has such a big, long stride that she needs room. The distance, whether it’s two turns or one turn, will be key. We’re just trying to find what makes the most sense and gives her the most opportunity and let her learn and improve and not try and set the bar too high for her.”

With three wins and a runner-up finish from four starts, Midnight Disguise has earned $137,600.

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

Thin Disguise has produced four foals, all winners, including 4-year-old Holiday Disguise, winner of Bouwerie Stakes last May for Lady Sheila Stable. The mare currently has a 2-year-old colt by Verrrazano a 2017 filly by Tiznow and was bred last year to Bodemeister.


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