Making her graded stakes debut, Lady Shelia Stable's Holiday Disguise closed late to best her rivals, capturing the Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff Handicap on Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Breaking alertly from post 7 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, Holiday Disguise stalked the field of seven from fourth position as stablemate Sounds Delicious set swift fractions of 22.41 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half-mile going in 44.99.
At the quarter pole, Holiday Disguise moved to the four-path as Sounds Delicious remained on the lead with pressure from odds-on post time favorite My Miss Grey and 13-1 longshot Torrent. In the late stretch, the quartet hooked up battling to the wire with Holiday Disguise extending away in the last yards to win by one length.
Her final time for the seven-furlong distance was 1:22.98.
“I got a perfect trip,” said Ortiz, Jr. “We didn't think she was going to break that quick out of there, but she did, and it's been hard to come from off the pace today, so I just decided to let her be there and she was there for me at the end.”
“She doesn't usually want to be there that close, but she put me there and I didn't want to keep taking back,” added Ortiz, Jr. “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 and when I asked her, she was there for me.”
Returning $10.20 for a $2 win wager, the 4-year-old Harlan's Holiday filly boosted her career earnings to $329,150.
“They went pretty fast early,” said winning trainer Linda Rice. “She [Holiday Disguise] ran terrific and to get a win in a graded stakes race, it's really great for her. She's versatile. Our plan was for her to settle off of it for a bit, and Irad rode her beautifully. 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.”
After today's successful stakes debut, Rice is considering a next start in the Grade 2, $250,000 Ruffian on May 6 at Belmont Park.
Following the disqualification of Sounds Delicious from second-place to fourth, the final order of finish after Holiday's Disguise was Divine Miss Grey, Torrent, Sounds Delicous, Picco Uno, Berned and Anydayismyday.
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