Godolphin Racing’s It's Tricky recorded her second straight grade I victory when she outdueled Plum Pretty and defeated an all-star cast in the $250,000 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks July 23 at Saratoga (VIDEO).
The daughter of Mineshaft took the upper hand in the 3-year-old filly division by turning back Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Plum Pretty by three-quarters of a length while also downing top-level rivals Royal Delta, Buster's Ready, and Joyful Victory. She notched her fifth win in six career starts and followed up her June 6 Acorn (gr. I) win in the Belmont Park mud with a most impressive effort under Eddie Castro.
It’s Tricky is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable. She is out of the Tale of the Cat
Plum Pretty, who shipped into New York for Bob Baffert after finishing second in the Hollywood Oaks (gr. II), shot straight to the front under Martin Garcia and nearly went wire-to-wire despite receiving pressure from It’s Tricky and Buster’s Ready through fractions of :23.88, :47.55, and 1:11.06. By the time the field came off the final turn it was a two-horse race between Plum Pretty and It’s Tricky.
Despite the fierce duel, Plum Pretty maintained her narrow advantage for most of the stretch and it wasn’t until inside the sixteenth pole that It’s Tricky edged clear on the outside. She completed 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:49.15. Plum Pretty was 6 1/2 lengths clear of third-place Royal Delta and Jose Lezcano. They were followed by Buster’s Ready and Joyful Victory.
“Around the three-eighths, I knew (Garcia) had a lot of horse too," Castro said. "I had to put pressure and ride her really hard. When that filly came past her, she changed leads, and when I hit her left again she swung back again, she fought again.”
It’s Tricky was entering off a decisive 3 3/4-length score in the one-mile Acorn, but was already proven around two turns when she won an optional claimer and the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct earlier this season. Her only blemish came in the April 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. II) when finishing a distant fourth to R Heat Lightning
The bay filly has now earned $438,000.
“She’s obviously only had one defeat in her life," McLaughlin said. "She’s a very nice filly. She got beat in Florida, but the winner that day, R Heat Lightning, was very impressive. We’ve always liked her and I thought she ran very well today. It was hard-fought down the lane and we got there. I told Eddie to try to get to the rail and go for the lead, but not to send her. He rode a great race.
"Next, probably the Alabama (gr. I, Aug. 20) but we’ll find out from the Godolphin people.”
Sent off as the third choice, It’s Tricky paid $10.60, $4.40, and $3.10. The exacta (5-2) returned $35.40 and the trifecta (5-2-4) was worth $73.