It's Tricky wins the Ogden Phipps Handicap.
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It's Tricky wins the Ogden Phipps Handicap.
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Coglianese Photos

Consistent It's Tricky Wins Ogden Phipps

Awesome Maria, the 3-5 favorite riding a six-race win streak, finished third.

Godolphin Racing’s ultraconsistent It's Tricky wore down pacesetter Cash for Clunkers to win the $400,000  Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) on the Belmont Park Memorial Day card (VIDEO).

Jockey Eddie Castro, who won the Sands Point (gr. IIT) with Better Lucky prior to to the Ogden Phipps, settled the daughter of Mineshaft  just off pacesetter Cash for Clunkers. A lightly raced 4-year-old daughter of Tiznow , Cash for Clunkers and Alan Garcia led through opening fractions of :22.68 and :45.78.

Rounding the turn in the 1 1/16-mile test for older fillies and mares, It’s Tricky joined Cash for Clunkers and those two battled until the eventual winner forged ahead in deep stretch and continued her momentum for a three-quarters of a length win. The final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:41.73.

Awesome Maria, who was riding six-race win streak previous to the Ogden Phipps and was the 124-pound high weight, made a move leaving the turn but leveled off to finish third.

It’s Tricky, who has now won or finished second in 11 of 12 starts, paid $6.20, $3.80, and $2.10. Cash for Clunkers paid $6 and $2.50, with Awesome Maria worth $2.10. She's All In and Juanita completed the order of finish.

The winner earned $240,000, extending her bankroll to $1,526.500.

“She’s a special filly,” winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “Eddie (Castro) rode her very well. Rick Violette’s filly (runner-up Cash for Clunkers) was tough, wow! We just did get there. From the three-sixteenths pole to the eighth pole, I was worried--she wasn’t there yet. She ran great. We’re not sure what’s next for her.”

“I put her right there, gave her a shot, and in the stretch she had to make her run,” Castro said. “That’s her. The plan, number one, (was to focus on) Awesome Maria. But when you’re in the gate, it’s different. You break from the gate, and it changes. You have a decision. Awesome Maria didn’t break, and I put (It’s Tricky) right there.”

Violette was pleased with his filly’s effort, even though she did not win.

“She ran her eyeballs out,” Violette said of Cash for Clunkers. “She was pressed from the middle of the turn. Eddie (Castro on It’s Tricky) rode a terrific race. I thought he would be more worried about Awesome Maria and maybe leave us alone a bit longer. We had to start running on the middle of the turn and it was a long, hard drive. For a filly that hasn’t really been pressed to the wire, she just really ran her eyeballs out. I am really, really proud of her. We found out today that she is a real filly.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Awesome Maria had stayed in Florida too long before shipping to New York to prepare for the Ogden Phipps, her first outing since a March 31 victory in the Rampart (gr. III) at Gulfstream Racing & Casino.

“I thought she ran pretty well,” Pletcher said. “I think I did a really poor job preparing her for this race. We stayed in Florida too long, got rained on a lot, missed a couple of works down there. Then I tried to make up for it here and breezed her on a sloppy track. It wasn’t her fault. I’ll take the blame for it. We’ll go to Saratoga.”

The Ogden Phipps marked the third straight graded win for It’s Tricky, who was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable. The 4-year-old filly began the season by taking the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) and then triumphed in the Distaff (gr. II), both at Aqueduct.

In back-to-back grade I triumphs last year, It’s Tricky won the Acorn and CCA Oaks before three consecutive runner-up efforts concluding with the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I), 2 ½ lengths behind superstar Royal Delta.