My Miss Lilly (Courtlandt Farms) will look to return to her stakes-winning ways in her second start of the year in the 79th running of the $200,000 Top Flight Invitational Handicap on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Mark Hennig, the 4-year-old daughter of Tapit was third in her 2019 debut against second level allowance company going one mile on February 15 at Gulfstream Park. It was her first start since finishing third in the Grade 2 Mother Goose last June at Belmont Park won by seven-time graded stakes winner Midnight Bisou.
2019 Top Flight Invitational Handicap Odds & Entries
Race 8 on Aqueduct's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:21 PM
|1||Midnight Disguise||6-1||Jose Lezcano
|2||Another Broad||8-1||Manuel Franco
|3||Jump Ruler||9-2||Rajiv Maragh
|4||Frostie Anne||5-2||Hector Diaz, Jr.
|5||My Miss Lilly||7-2||Joe Bravo
|6||Forever Liesl||2-1||Eric Cancel
My Miss Lilly, bumped at the start, saved ground along the rail in her seasonal debut, but was unable to make up enough ground to win finishing 2 ¼ lengths behind eventual winner Pink Sands.
"She probably needed the race," Hennig said of her last-out effort. "We figured that it might be a little short for her, but she'll appreciate more distance. She probably needed the race off the bench."
In the 1 1/8-mile Top Flight, My Miss Lilly will seek her first victory since taking Aqueduct's Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes last April, contested at the same distance.
"She likes Aqueduct and is familiar with it," Hennig said. "She's run well there at the distance."
Bred in Kentucky by Winchell Thoroughbreds, My Miss Lilly was purchased by her owners for $670,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale where she was consigned by Gainesway. Out of the stakes-winning Harlan's Holiday broodmare Wicked Deed, she is a full sister to fellow Grade 2 winner Just Wicked.
My Miss Lilly will emerge from post five and will be piloted by Joe Bravo.
Three-time stakes winner Midnight Disguise will seek a fourth triumph at such caliber when she breaks from the rail for the Top Flight.
The Linda Rice-trained New York-bred daughter of Midnight Lute has already notched a pair of stakes wins at the Big A, taking last year's Busanda and Busher against open company. Three starts back, she won the Bouwerie against fellow New York-breds on May 28 at Belmont Park in her sophomore campaign finale.
"She had a soft tissue injury right after she won the stakes at Belmont," Rice said. "We gave her quite a bit of time off after that and this will be her third race off the layoff."
In her most recent effort, she sat off a moderate pace over a sloppy main track to finish a distant fourth behind graded stakes winner Divine Miss Grey in the Heavenly Prize Invitational on March 10 at Aqueduct.
"Obviously, it would be nice if there was some speed given her late-closing running style," Rice said. "She has won at this distance at Aqueduct before, so I don't think that distance should be a problem for her."
Midnight Disguise will be ridden by Jose Lezcano. She is a homebred and is owned by William Wilmot, Joan Taylor and Devin Wilmot.
Frostie Anne will seek her 16th career victory on Saturday in the Top Flight off a six-length win in the Biogio's Rose on February 10 at the Big A.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez claimed the daughter of Frost Giant in December 2017 for himself and co-owner Michael Imperio. She has won nine of her 15 starts for Rodriguez, which includes a six-race win streak from March-August 2018. During this streak, she won the Sis City over the local main track and the Saratoga Dew at Saratoga Race Course. In a 36-race career, she has garnered earnings of $553,446 - the highest bankroll in the six-horse field.
She will break from post four under jockey Hector Diaz, Jr.
Completing the field for the Top Flight are Another Broad (post two, Manny Franco), Jump Ruler (post three, Rajiv Maragh), and Forever Liesl (post six, Eric Cancel).
The Top Flight Invitational Handicap is named in honor of Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney's Hall of Fame inductee who won the Acorn, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Alabama among other prominent races for 3-year-old fillies in New York in the early 1930's.
The Top Flight is slated as Race Eight on Saturday's nine-race card which also features the Bridgetown for turf sprinters in Race Three. First post is 1:30 p.m.