December 9, 2022

My Miss Lilly prevails in Gazelle

My Miss Lilly inches clear under jockey Joe Bravo to win the Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Saturday, April 7, 2018 (c) NYRA/Viola Jasko/Adam Coglianese Photography

Courtlandt Farms’ My Miss Lilly recorded a half-length victory in Saturday’s $300,000 Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct following a stretch-long duel with pacesetter Sara Street and 20-1 longshot Virginia Key.

Sara Street quickly grabbed command of the race, leading the way onto the backstretch while pressed by Mo Shopping to her inside and Virginia Key just off her flank on the outside. Midnight Disguise, the 8-5 favorite off easy wins in the Busher Stakes and Busanda Stakes, bided her time running outside of Smokinpaddylassie in last while and My Miss Lilly spent her time in between the front runners and rear guard early.

Sara Street maintained control of the race through splits of :23.97, :48.31 and 1:13.26. Mo Shopping, Virginia Key and My Miss Lilly all made a run at the leader entering the turn, but Mo Shopping couldn’t keep pace and faded on the bend.

Heading into the lane, My Miss Lilly, Virginia Key and Sara Street were lined up across the track. The trio battled it out all the way to the wire, with My Miss Lilly edging clear late under jockey Joe Bravo to stop the clock in 1:50.42 for 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct’s fast main track.

My Miss Lilly earned her first stakes score in this spot and returned $7.90 for the win as the near 3-1 second choice. The Gazelle is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series and awarded 100-40-20-10 points to the respective top four finishers. My Miss Lilly’s win saw her take home the majority of those points and she now boasts a total of 112 points.

Sara Street just held second by a neck on the wire, and now shows a total of 60 points toward an Oaks berth. However, the Godolphin homebred is currently not nominated to the Run for the Lillies. Virginia Key outran her 20-1 odds to take third, 12 1/4 lengths in front of Midnight Disguise. The chestnut lass debuts on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard with 20 points.

Midnight Disguise had accumulated 60 points prior to the Gazelle, thanks to victories in the Busher and Busanda, and boosted her total to 70 points by finishing fourth here. Mo Shopping and Smokinpaddylassie completed the order under the line.

My Miss Lilly improved her resume to read 4-2-0-2 with this win and has banked $255,400 lifetime. The gray daughter of Tapit broke her maiden at first asking on December 23 going six furlongs over a sloppy, sealed track at Aqueduct. Hennig shipped the filly south to winter in Florida, and My Miss Lilly showed up at Gulfstream Park to make her sophomore on February 3 in the Forward Gal Stakes (G3).

She finished third that day, picking up two points from the 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Oaks points contest, and headed back to New York to fill the third spot once again last out in the Busher on March 3.

Bred in Kentucky by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, My Miss Lilly is out of the stakes-winning Harlan’s Holiday mare Wicked Deed, making her a full sister to Grade 2 vixen Just Wicked. This female family also boasts 1972 Preakness Stakes winner Bee Bee Bee.

GAZELLE QUOTES

Joe Bravo, jockey My Miss Lilly, winner

“It was the first time I was able to sit on her, and she did everything correctly. I don’t think distance is going to hurt her. She’s bred to go long. I think she had (Sara Street and Virginia Key) beat. I don’t think she’s the kind of filly who is going to want to draw off.”

Mark Hennig, trainer My Miss Lilly, winner

“She’s a filly we’ve always been looking forward to getting around two turns. Her dam’s side indicates sprint, but she’s all Tapit. She’s a big long-legged Tapit, just dying to run two turns. We felt like getting around two turns was going to happen for her at a mile and an eighth.

“She had to go a little wide coming off that turn and I was worried about that, that it might catch up to her late, but she I feel like she’ll really relish more and more distance. Like (jockey) Joe (Bravo) said, she felt like she could’ve run around there again. She was very strong.”

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer Sara Street, second

“She ran very well. Second best today, no excuses. We ran great and we were happy with her performance. We were a little unlucky to get beat. We’ll have talk about what’s next.”

Linda Rice, trainer Midnight Disguise, fourth

“I think we’d be more inclined to stay home. (Owner) Bill (Wilmot) and I discussed it and we don’t need to take her to Kentucky off of that effort. This performance was disappointing. The speed didn’t break and they went pretty slow. I don’t know how much that was a factor, but either way I think it was a subpar effort for her. Up to this point she’s fired every time we’ve lead her over here and today wasn’t her day.”