Holiday Disguise aces Biogio’s Rose from off the bench

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

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.

Holiday 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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