Godolphin Racing’s two-time grade I winner It's Tricky made her season debut a successful one March 3 at Aqueduct when she took over from pacesetter Love and Pride at the top of the lane and cruised to a 2 3/4-length victory in the $196,000 Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO).
Sent off as the 3-10 favorite in the field of five on the muddy inner track, the 4-year-old Mineshaft filly returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since consecutive grade I wins last summer in the Acorn Stakes and Coaching Club American Oaks. She concluded her sophomore season with three straight runner-up finishes, including the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) in November.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, It's Tricky covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.30 under Ramon Dominguez. She improved to 6-3-0 from 10 starts and earnings of $1,166,500. The bay filly was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable and is out of the Tale of the Cat mare Catboat.
It’s Tricky, who won twice previously over Aqueduct’s inner track as a 3-year-old, received an ideal stalking trip from Dominguez. She raced just off of pacesetter Love and Pride, who clicked off reasonable splits of :24.09, :47.98, and 1:11.63 under Cornelio Velasquez. It wasn’t long after they rounded the far turn that It’s Tricky took over, and she had a one-length lead at the eighth pole. She gradually extended her lead in the final furlong and crossed the wire an easy winner.
"She did get tired the last eighth; she was kind of wandering around a little bit, but overall I was very happy with her," Dominguez said. "Especially with her demeanor, how well she handled herself. She has been known to have her days and is sort of tricky, like her name says, but she was great today."
It’s Tricky paid $2.70, $2.10, and $2.10. The exacta (4-5) returned $7.80 and the trifecta (4-5-3) was worth $27.
"It was a good spot to get started and we’re thankful she won," McLaughlin said. "She’ll probably stay here, but the Rampart (gr. II, March 31) is down there (at Gulfstream) at the end of the month; I’ll talk to Simon (Crisford) about that or the Apple Blossom (gr. I, Oaklawn Park, April 13), or the La Troienne (gr. II at Churchill Downs on May 4), or wait until the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I on May 28 at Belmont Park). It’s just a long time to wait.”