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Hushion Well Represented in Big A Stakes

Trainer Michael Hushion
Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Trainer Mike Hushion will be well represented during the first two days of Aqueduct Racetrack's HolidayFest, with West Point Thoroughbreds' Sunrise Smarty being pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Fall Highweight Handicap on Thanksgiving Day and Lovely Lil being aimed for the Grade 2, $150,000 Go for Wand Handicap the following day.

Sunrise Smarty enters the six-furlong Fall Highweight off a sixth-place finish in the Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash Handicap at Laurel Park on October 22, one of only two off-the-board finishes in 2011 for the 4-year-old son of Smarty Jones.

"His last race was a little bit of a disappointment," said Hushion. "He kept his head down and kept running the whole way, which is all you can ask. He looks great, he's acting great, his flesh is great, so why not?"

Second to Rule by Night in the Duck Dance overnight stakes on October 9 at Belmont Park, Sunrise Smarty's most recent victory was a half-length score in an optional claimer at Saratoga Race Course on September 2.

At the Big A, Sunrise Smarty is 1-1-1 from six starts, including a five-length allowance victory last February, for which he earned a lifetime best Beyer Speed Figure of 104. He subsequently finished sixth after setting the pace in the Grade 1 Carter, beaten five lengths by Morning Line.

"There was nothing wrong with his Carter - look at the competition," said Hushion, who has named Ramon Dominguez to ride.

Lovely Lil enters the one-mile Go for Wand off a second-place finish as the favorite behind Risky Rachel in the Friendly Island Iroquois at Belmont Park on New York Showcase Day. The 4-year-old Tiznow filly is 2-1-1 since returning to action in July, having won the six-furlong Union Avenue and an allowance at Saratoga Race Course and finished third in the Grade 2 Foxwoods Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont on September 24.

"I don't know if a mile is her best distance or not; you have to go back to the race in Philadelphia," said Hushion of the Barry Schwartz color-bearer, a game second last September at Parx Racing in her only attempt at the distance. "In her last race [Iroquois] we had a little bit of a duel with [Risky Rachel]. We gave her seven pounds. I would have been more comfortable if she had been able to place herself a little better. But, she was second-best."



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