DISTAFF HANDICAP | PURSE: $300,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 2 | 7 FURLONGS
OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- It won't get high marks aesthetically, but It's Tricky's class prevailed in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct.
Under a busy ride from Eddie Castro, It's Tricky took command in midstretch and drew clear to a 3 1/2-length victory over C C's Pal in the Distaff. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to Dontbeshy I'll Buy in third. Nicole H finished fourth, followed by White Merlot. Her Smile and Aquitania were scratched.
Chasing the pace three wide, It's Tricky was right off the flank of Dontbeshy I'll Buy - who broke in the air when the gates opened - around the far turn. Nicole H was inside of Dontbeshy I'll Buy.
Leaving the three-eighths pole, Castro hit It's Tricky four times right-handed. Castro said he did that in order for It's Tricky to maintain her position.
"I think she couldn't keep up at the three-eighths pole and he wanted her not to fall behind," said Art Magnuson, the assistant trainer to Kiaran McLaughlin. "She leans that way sometimes a little bit on the first turn in some of her races, but she doesn't really lug out. When he did hit her, you're wondering all that kind of stuff."
Said Castro: "When the other horse moved a little bit, I had to move to follow that other horse."
It's Tricky did keep in close proximity to the two leaders before Castro resorted to his right-handed whip eight times from the three-sixteenths pole to the eighth pole. It's Tricky took the lead at that point and Castro needed two more cracks of his right-handed whip for It's Tricky to keep her mind on her business.
It's Tricky, winning for the second straight time this year and seventh time from 11 career starts, covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.39. She returned $3.40 as the odds-on choice.
Magnuson said that It's Tricky would be pointed to the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont on May 28.