Midnight Disguise Among 8 Fillies Eyeing Kentucky Oaks Points In Big A’s Busher

Busanda winner Midnight Disguise will look for her second straight stakes win Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack as part of a field of eight on tap for the 39th running of the $200,000 Busher for 3-year-old fillies at a mile.

As part of the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series, the Busher virtually guarantees a berth in the May 4 Oaks at Churchill Downs with 50 qualifying points going to the winner. The runner-up will be awarded 20 points, while the third- and fourth-place finishers will earn 10 points and five points, respectively.

Trained by Linda Rice, Midnight Disguise will cut back in distance following her win in the 1 1/8-mile Busanda on January 25, handling open-company stakes competition with ease to draw off to a 4 ½-length score in her first try around two turns and pick up 10 points to the Oaks.

The New York-bred filly by Midnight Lute has won three of her four lifetime starts, all at the Big A since December 15. Her single career loss came as a second-place finish in the one-mile East View for New York-bred fillies on January 14.

“Obviously, she’s raced very well for us up to this point,” said Rice. “We’re shortening her up to a flat mile, though I guess if I had my druthers, I’d probably rather keep her at a longer distance, but this is the way the race has come up so we’re going to give it a go.

“By the way she looks physically and the way she trains, she gives me the impression that further distances would be fine for her,” she added. “I’ve felt that maybe she could be a tougher horse at a longer distance than she would be at a shorter distance. So, shortening up may not necessarily be in her favor, but she’s won at six furlongs, she’s won at a mile, so we’re excited about her. The timing is good, so we’ll give it a go.”

Midnight Disguise, owned and bred by William B. Wilmot and Joan M. Taylor, will be ridden again by Trevor McCarthy. Installed at 3-1 on the morning line, the pair will break from post position 3.

Courtlandt Farm’s Grade 3-placed My Miss Lilly will leave the warm and sunny confines of Gulfstream Park for the Mark Hennig barn. A $670,000 yearling purchase, the Tapit filly finished third in the seven-furlong Forward Gal, 4 ½ lengths behind Take Charge Paula, just her second career start.

My Miss Lilly, 7-2, will break from post 8 with Manny Franco aboard.

Tabbed as the 5-2 favorite, Gary Barber’s War Heroine will make her East Coast debut for trainer Peter Miller. A dark bay filly by Australian sire Lonhro, War Heroine earned a half-length win in the Sweet Life going 6 ½ furlongs on the turf on February 11 at Santa Anita Park. Junior Alvarado picks up the mount and will ride from post 2.

Godolphin’s homebred Sara Street will take a big step up in class following the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee’s 1 ¾-length maiden win on February 4. At 9-2, the daughter of Street Sense will be ridden by Dylan Davis from the rail.

Blue Union Rags, 20-1; Gypsy Janie, 8-1; Shamrock Rose, 6-1; and Youvegottopaytopla, 30-1, complete the field for the 39th running of the Busher, carded as Race 8.

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