TOP FLIGHT HANDICAP | PURSE: $200,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | GRADE 2 | 1 1/16 MILES
OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- It's Tricky made a successful return to the races Saturday, persevering over a laboring muddy inner track to a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct.
In her first start since finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic last Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, It's Tricky tracked the pacesetting Love and Pride until upper stretch when she took over inside the three-sixteenths pole. She got noticeably tired in the final furlong, prompting jockey Ramon Dominguez to give her a few taps with the whip to get her home.
While Dominguez felt the muddy inner track was safe, he also felt it was "extremely tiring today." Dominguez rode the winners of races 4 through 6.
It's Tricky, who tracked Love and Pride through six furlongs in 1:11.63, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.30 and returned $2.70 as the overwhelming favorite.
"She did get tired the last eighth," Dominguez said. "She was kind of wandering around a little bit. Overall, I was very happy with her demeanor, how well she handled herself. She's been known to have her days and be sort of tricky, as her name suggests, but she was great today."
Love and Pride held second by two lengths over Bahama Bound. Coco Ecolo and Delightful Mary completed the order of finish.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had It's Tricky at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida since the Breeders' Cup, but elected for the Top Flight over last weekend's Sabin at Gulfstream because it was twice the purse and she didn't have to run against the likes of Awesome Maria or Royal Delta.
Catching a softer group over the laboring track, this turned out to be the right spot for It's Tricky's return.
"It was a good spot to get started and we're thankful she won," McLaughlin said. "I think it was a very good performance and she'll improve from the race."
McLaughlin said he would talk to Simon Crisford, the racing manager for Godolphin Racing, before deciding what's next for It's Tricky. Options include the $150,000 Rampart at Gulfstream on March 31, the $500,000 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn on April 13, or the $300,000 La Troienne at Churchill on May 4.