At dawn yesterday, Kiaran McLaughlin might have been a pretty happy man.
He and his staff were trying to get their Grade 1-winning filly It’s Tricky ready to run in the Coaching Club American Oaks, trying to get her out of her stall and stalk her, but the notoriously difficult filly was having none of it.
“It took us almost an hour to catch her in stall,” he said from the winner’s circle at Saratoga yesterday. “We couldn’t get a halter on her, and that’s a good thing.”
It’s Tricky’s only loss in six starts came in April in the Florida Oaks, when she ran a perplexing fourth, beaten by more than 22 lengths. At first attributing the loss to the Florida heat, which yesterday’s win belied, McLaughlin now thinks he knows why his filly ran so badly.
“In Florida she did everything right before the race,” he said. “We want her to be tricky. She won and that’s what it’s all about. She didn’t do anything wrong during the race.”
It’s Tricky raced a length of the lead before moving on the far turn to engage pacesetter and Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, and from the quarter pole home, it was those two, neck and neck, with the rest of the field running for third. It’s Tricky prevailed by three-quarters of a length.
She went back to her obstreperous ways after the race, dumping jockey Eddie Castro just outside the winner’s circle.
Following It’s Tricky romp in the slop at Belmont when she won the Acorn by more than three lengths, the filly by Mineshaft out of Catboat was moved from the Darley stable to the Godolphin barn. That move was ordinarily mean a change in trainer, but McLaughlin got to keep the filly because of her temperament.
“They left her with me because she is tricky and they didn’t want to move her,” he explained. “She’s difficult but she’s just hormonal. It’s all hormones.”
It’s Tricky’s connections have gotten exactly what they asked for when they named this filly, and more than they could have expected on the racetrack. She is expected to start next in the Grade 1 Alabama on August 20.
Click on photos to enlarge. Barbara Livingston’s got a great photo of Castro en route to the ground; scroll down.
All text and images copyright 2011 Teresa Genaro and Brooklyn Backstretch.