SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – Dr. William Wilmot and Dr. Joan Taylor’s homebred Midnight Disguise spotted the field several lengths early, then used her big stride to run them all down en route to taking Saturday’s $200,000 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct.
Brushing the gate as she exited from post 3 under Trevor McCarthy, Midnight Disguise settled off the pace early while the favored War Heroine led through :24.57, :48.96, and 1:13.80. Heads apart with several rivals at the top of the stretch, Midnight Disguise steadily improved in front of the grandstand, took command with less than a football field to go, and continued on to win by 1 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:39.15 for the mile-long main track event.
“I was able to sit just about last with her and follow a little cover for a little while down the backside,” McCarthy said. “She’s one that likes to be on the outside. She’s a big filly (with a) huge stride, so there’s no sense in keeping her bottled up inside. You just kind of get her out and get her momentum rolling, and it just seems like she’s improving every race. I think the more ground, the better for her, so I was happy she got the mile today, but I definitely think she’ll improve with distance.”
After tracking War Heroine for much of the race, Sara Street held the lead momentarily as the field exited the far turn, but she drifted slightly down the stretch and gave up the ghost late. My Miss Lilly passed Shamrock Rose in the shadow of the wire to take third by a neck. War Heroine tired to fifth, a length past Gypsy Jane to complete the order of finish. Youvegottopaytopla and Blue Union Rags were scratched.
The Busher is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Midnight Disguise earned 50 points for the win, with Sara Street receiving 20 for second, My Miss Lilly 10 for third, and Shamrock Rose 5 for fourth.
Midnight Disguise’s win was her fourth in five career starts, all at Aqueduct for trainer Linda Rice, and increased her bankroll to $257,600. The 3-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute won the $100,000 Busanda Stakes last out.
“She really kicks into gear late,” Rice said. “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, but she seems to step through every hurdle we give her. I’m very excited.”
Midnight Disguise returned $7.90 to win, $4.10 to place, and $2.50 to show. Sara Street brought back $6 to place and $3.30 to show, while My Miss Lilly paid $2.60 to show.