Horologist won the Top Flight Invitational at Aqueduct. Photo by Chelsea Durand/NYRA.

Three-time graded stakes winner Horologist recaptured her 2020 form in notching a comeback triumph in Saturday’s 80th running of the $100,000 Top Flight Invitational, a nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the New Jersey-bred daughter of Gemologist is owned by There’s A Chance Stable, Medallion Racing, Abbondanza Racing, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Paradise Farms Corporation and David Staudacher.

Last season, Horologist put together a successful 4-year-old campaign which earned her New Jersey Horse of the Year honors. She also finished fifth in the final Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred poll of 2020.

Her accomplishments included triumphs in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park and the Grade 2 Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park, where she finished ahead of graded stakes winners Point of Honor and Dunbar Road. Horologist capped off her prosperous season in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland when ninth to Monomoy Girl.

Off the five-month respite, Horologist broke sharply from post 5 but allowed Grade 3 Comely victress Mrs. Danvers to dictate terms into the first turn. Jockey Junior Alvarado kept Horologist one path to the pacesetter’s outside in second through easy opening fractions of 24.72 for the quarter-mile and 49.55 for the half-mile over the fast main track.

Around the far turn, Horologist inched her way up to even terms with Mrs. Danvers and put up a furious bid when asked. Jockey Kendrick Carmouche started getting busy aboard Mrs. Danvers, who was a persistent customer toward the inside. Just outside the eighth pole, Horologist put a nose in front and never relinquished, taking her 5-year-old debut by one length in a time of 1:52.14.

It was another neck to Sonata Stable’s Lucky Stride, last-out winner of the Nellie Morse at Laurel Park, who was compromised at the start but produced a late-closing effort to complete the trifecta.

Queen Nekia, Thankful and Flashndynamite completed the order of finish.

The victory was a fifth overall stakes win for Horologist, who defeated her Garden State-bred counterparts in the 2019 Smart N Classy and Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks for former trainer John Mazza.

Returning $4.00 as the even-money favorite, Horologist upped her lifetime earnings past the three-quarter million mark to $770,439 and a record of 21-8-2-4.

The win was a third stakes triumph of the 11-day Aqueduct spring meet for Mott and Alvarado, who previously teamed up with Modernist in the Grade 3 Excelsior as well as Grade 3 Distaff Handicap winner Paris Lights who, like Horologist, also was making her first start of 2021.

“Coming off the layoff, this track is very tiring and I didn’t want to be on the lead and have someone putting pressure on me the whole way,” said Alvarado, who was aboard Horologist for her Beldame Invitational triumph. “It took me a little bit to get her settled, but when she settled on the backside, I knew it was good. When she [Mrs. Danvers] came back to me, I knew we were good after that. Turning for home, I had to ask her a little bit, but it’s not easy coming from a layoff on this track going a mile and an eighth. She really tried. I was pretty happy with the way she did it. She was the class of the race.”

Carmouche said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McCaughey left the ball in his court in terms of setting the pace.

“Shug said I could do either way; if I wanted the lead or if I wanted to sit off it,” Carmouche said. “I figured coming out of there, I’d see what happens. If I let Junior have the lead, it was going to be too easy, and I’d rather do it than have him do it. The filly ran well. She fought back gamely it was just a better horse beat us today.”
Bred by Holly Crest Farm, Horologist is out of the Stephen Got Even mare Cinderella Time.