Holiday Disguise makes the grade in Distaff Handicap

Friday, April 6th, 2018

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Lady Sheila Stable’s Holiday Disguise (Harlan’s Holiday) aced her graded stakes debut at Aqueduct Friday, when she came from just off the pace to pick off Sounds Delicious and Divine Miss Grey and win the Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff Handicap for fillies and mares by a length.

The 4-1 third choice in a salty field of seven set to go seven furlongs, Holiday Disguise broke on top for Irad Ortiz, Jr., who had the call for the first time, before settling back in fourth three lengths off the pace. Her stablemate from the Linda Rice barn Sounds Delicious (2-1) led the pack through a fast opening quarter in 22.41. Even-money favorite Divine Miss Grey, who handed Holiday Disguise a 6-plus length defeat when they ran one-two last out in the Heavenly Prize, pressed the pace.

Ortiz reported, “[Linda] told me she doesn’t like to be rushed and let her break out of there wherever she’s comfortable. I didn’t take a hold of her until we passed the three-quarters [pole], then she came back to me, but I was still close to the leaders. There were a couple horses in front of me, so I let them be there.”

Racing three-wide up the backstretch, Holiday Disguise advanced into third behind the pacesetters as the half ticked by in 44.99 and angled out into the four-path for the drive.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Sounds Delicious kicked away at the quarter pole, and Torrent (13-1) rallied into contention at the fence in upper stretch. Meanwhile Holiday Disguise passed Heavenly Prize nemesis Divine Miss Grey in the approach to the furlong marker. In the final seventy yards Heavenly Disguise surged past her two remaining rivals and edged away to win by a length in a final time of 1:22.98.

Sounds Delicious, second across the wire, came in and bumped Torrent into the rail in the late going and was demoted to fourth by the stewards. Divine Miss Grey, third, was placed second and Torrent was awarded the show. Completing the order of finish were Picco Uno, Berned and Anydayismyday. Highway Star was scratched. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Rice was delighted the filly could take home some graded black type. “[Holiday Disguise] ran terrific and to get a win in a graded stakes race, it’s really great for her.”

Previously Holiday Disguise won last year’s Bouwerie Stakes and, after a long layoff, came back victorious in the Biogio’s Rose Stakes, both for state-breds, before finishing second in her open company debut in the Heavenly Prize.

Rice, who also trains the filly’s younger half-sister Midnight Disguise, a multiple stakes winner, sees some similarities in the siblings’ versatility.

“She’s great at seven-eighths, she’s OK at six and can probably run a mile well, so she’s quite versatile, similar to her sister, Midnight Disguise. She’s shown us her whole career, and I’ve been so delighted with it, that she really has some finish to her. It’s exciting to run horses like that.”

For Holiday Disguise’s next start, Rice has in mind the one-mile, Grade 2 Ruffian which will be run at Belmont Park on May 6.

Bred by Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor and foaled at Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent, 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. Midnight Disguise, winner of the Busanda and Busher Stakes, is entered on Saturday in the Grade 2 Gazelle, after which she will have the option of making the trip to Churchill Downs to contest the Kentucky Oaks.

Currently, Thin Disguise has a juvenile colt by Verrazano, a yearling filly by Tiznow and was bred in 2017 to Bodemeister.

Holiday Disguise first changed hands as a weanling, purchased by John Greathouse for $70,000 at the Keeneland November sale. Rice bought her 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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