Holiday Disguise hoofs it in Dancin Renee

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Following back-to-back fifth-place finishes in the Grade 3 Distaff and Grade 3 Vagrancy in April and May, Holiday Disguise fully appreciated the return to the company of fellow state-breds in the $100,000 Dancin Renee Stakes at Belmont Park Saturday. Running to her 9-5 favorite’s odds, she rallied into first with a furlong to go and closed with conviction to win the 6-furlong sprint by 1 1/2 lengths. She was third in the race last year.

The Dancin Renee field was small (reduced to five following the scratch of Chester and Mary Broman homebred Out of Orbit) but not short on intrigue. Not least, the race was the first head-to-head meeting for pair of accomplished half-sisters: Lady Sheila Stable’s Holiday Disguise (Harlan’s Holiday) and Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor’s Midnight Disguise (Midnight Lute). The “Disguise Sisters” were bred by Wilmot and Taylor, and their dam Thin Disguise issues from the family of New York legend Naughty New Yorker. Both are trained by Linda Rice and both have closing running styles.

Holiday Disguise, now five, won the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap last year and was looking for her sixth stakes victory in the Dancin Renee. The statuesque Midnight Disguise, four, was looking for a third stakes win. Rice had been able to keep the sisters apart in 2018 during “Midnight’s” sophomore campaign, but this time found that her options were limited. She wanted to give “Holiday” some class relief and was not prepared to throw “Midnight” (5-2 at post time) into graded company just now.

That said, each of the three other fillies and mares was in with a chance: Jc’s Shooting Star (12-1), a hard-knocking one-run closer who would break from the rail, speedy Leah’s Dream (5-2), looking for a third straight win for Chris Englehart, and Broman stakes-winning homebred Pauseforthecause (5-2) hoping to improve on a pair of seconds and thirds this year.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

After breaking slightly inward under regular rider Jose Lezcano, Holiday Disguise settled in third, about three lengths off leader Leah’s Dream who was pressed along through an opening quarter in 22.93 by Pauseforthecause.

Shifting in a path to the fence to save ground through the far turn, Holiday Disguise still had two lengths to make up on the leaders after the half went in 46.29.

Tipping out into the three-path for the charge home, “Holiday” inexorably closed the gap in upper stretch, struck the front with a furlong to go, and finished a convincing 1 1/2-length winner in a final time of 1:10.33.

Jc’s Shooting Star (Miracle Man) spoiled a “Disguise Sister exacta,” rallying from last to edge Midnight Disguise for second by a neck. Pauseforthecause and Leah’s Dream completed the order of finish. (VIDEO REPLAY)

Winning rider Lezcano, very familiar with Holiday Disguise’s tendency to get wound up pre-race, observed, “She was acting good in the paddock. Today, she did whatever I asked her to do.”

Continued Lezcano, “She broke good and settled well. When I asked her to go at the quarter pole, she put her head down and really took off to win the race. It was a very good performance.”

Rice, convinced beforehand that the class relief for Holiday Disguise would do the trick, sounded pleased to see her theory borne out.

“Getting away from graded stakes company and getting away from Come Dancing, who was running triple digit Beyer Speed Figures, was definitely a help,” Rice said.

Having burnished her credentials with a sixth career stakes victory, Holiday Disguise boosted her lifetime earnings to a formidable $623,875.

The trainer’s thoughts on “Holiday’s” next start include graded and New York-bred options at Saratoga: the Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss on July 24 and the $100,000 Union Avenue on August 15.

Foaled for Wilmot and Taylor at Gallagher’s Stud in Ghent, Holiday Disguise changed hands twice via public auction. She was first purchased by John Greathouse as a weanling for $70,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. The following year Rice bought her for Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable for $220,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale.

Her 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 and out of Wilmot and Taylor’s late star broodmare Naughty Natisha.

Thin Disguise has produced four winners from five foals to start, led by the half-sisters in the Dancin Renee. Midnight Disguise has three stakes wins to her credit. A sophomore colt by Verrazano named Daring Disguise is placed on turf.

In the future we can look forward to a 2-year-old filly by Tiznow, who brought $485,000 at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale, and a yearling filly by Bodemeister. Thin Disguise foaled a colt by Gun Runner on April 13, 2019.



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