Midnight Disguise takes Busher with dynamic rally

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

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.

Leave a Reply