by Ryan Martin
Lady Sheila Stable's Holiday Disguise has bested her New York-bred counterparts in stakes company twice this year and will look to replicate that feat when she tackles an eight-horse field in Thursday's $100,000 Union Avenue at Saratoga Race Course.
The Linda Rice-trained Harlan's Holiday mare enters the 6 ½-furlong main track event for fillies and mares off of a win in the Dancin Renee on June 15 at Belmont Park, which came after two fifth-place finishes against graded stakes company. She made her 2019 debut a winning one when taking the Broadway at Aqueduct by 4 ¼ lengths.
Holiday Disguise, a six-time stakes winner, found success at graded stakes caliber in the 2018 Grade 3 Distaff at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Bred in the Empire State by Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor, Holiday Disguise is out of the Yes It's True broodmare Thin Disguise, who also produced three-time stakes winner Midnight Disguise, who also is conditioned by Rice.
"She's trained well and we're excited about running her. She's very consistent," Rice said. "They are very different. Midnight Disguise is very tall and large and she's very kind and gentle. Holiday Disguise, on the other hand, is smaller, average size and very tough and feisty."
Holiday Disguise will emerge from the inside post under Jose Lezcano.
Rice will also saddle Flat Calm, who will make her first start since an allowance victory at Aqueduct on New Year's Day.
Owned by Tic Stables, the Flatter dark bay was a one-length winner of an allowance event over an Aqueduct main track labelled good. The three-time winner makes her stakes debut in the Union Avenue.
"We gave her some time off and she's come back well," Rice said. "I thought we could get her some black type. It's a bit aggressive, but we're giving it a try."
Flat Calm was purchased for $62,500 from the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling Sale in 2016. Bred by L. Ferrari & D. Brendemuehl, she is out of the Tiznow broodmare Tizgone, whose grand dam was Dance Smartly, a champion in United States and Canada in 1991.
Flat Calm will leave from post 7 under jockey Luis Saez.
Trainer Jason Servis will be represented by Bonita Bianca and Fair Regis, who will bear the yellow and pink colors of NYRA leading owner Michael Dubb.
A daughter of Curlin out of Grade 1 winner Friendly Michelle, Bonita Bianca was last year's winner of the Union Avenue and seeks her first victory since a six-length romp in the Empire Distaff at Belmont Park in October. Last out, she was third beaten 8 ½ lengths by Kathryn the Wise in the Critical Eye at Belmont Park. Bred by Dormellito Stud, Bonita Bianca is owned by Dubb in partnership with Bethlehem Stables and Michael Imperio.
Bonita Bianca will emerge from post 2 under two-time Saratoga leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Breaking from post 5 is Fair Regis, an eight-time winner who seeks her third trip to the winner's circle this year. Servis claimed the daughter of Bustin Stones two starts back and subsequently saddled her to a runner-up effort against open company on July 24 at the Spa.
Fair Regis will receive the riding services of jockey Kendrick Carmouche.
Completing the field are, Baby Boss [post 3, Jose Ortiz], Pauseforthecause [post 4, Joel Rosario], Carrera Cat [post 6, Rajiv Maragh] and Jc's Shooting Star [post 8, Manny Franco].
The Union Avenue is slated as Race 8 on Thursday's nine-race card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.