01/05/2012 1:59PM

2011 Eclipse Awards: It's Tricky

Barbara D. Livingston

With all but one of her eight starts in 2011 resulting in a first- or second-place finish, few horses could match the combination of class and consistency that It’s Tricky brought to the 3-year-old filly division. A distant fourth-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Oaks was the only blemish on an otherwise outstanding record for It’s Tricky, whose back-to-back victories in the Grade  1 Acorn at Belmont Park and the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks marked her as a standout.

“Wow! Wow!” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin exclaimed as he watched It’s Tricky splash away to win the Acorn by 3 3/4 lengths on the Belmont Stakes undercard. “This is a big win.”

[MORE: Complete list of 2011 Eclipse Awards finalists | Vote for Horse of the Year and win]

It’s Tricky began her year in the relative obscurity of inner-track racing at Aqueduct, easily winning an allowance race, then the ungraded Busher, as an odds-on favorite both times. McLaughlin then brought her to south Florida, where she simply “didn’t do good,” he said, and after the subpar Gulfstream effort, the filly stuck closely to her New York base for much of the remainder of 2011.

Using a stalking style that complemented her high turn of speed, It’s Tricky followed her Acorn romp with a hard-fought score over Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty in the Coaching Club American Oaks on opening weekend of the Saratoga meet, dogging her rival into defeat in a memorable stretch duel. “A pitched battle coming down to the wire!” exclaimed race-caller Tom Durkin. “And here’s It’s Tricky! It’s Tricky surges past Plum Pretty to win a thriller!”

It’s Tricky then finished second to Royal Delta in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga, and after a runner-up finish to Plum Pretty in the Grade  2 Cotillion at Parx Racing, the filly trained forwardly at Belmont while being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies. Classic at Churchill Downs.

Always in good position in the Ladies Classic, It’s Tricky actually made the lead for a stride or two before settling for second behind Royal Delta while well clear of the other seven fillies and mares. It was a rewarding, if not spectacular, conclusion to the year.

“We’re really proud of her,” said McLaughlin.

Eddie Castro rode It’s Tricky in all but two of her 2011 starts, with Ramon Dominguez getting the mount in the Breeders’ Cup.

It’s Tricky, owned by the Godolphin Racing LLC of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, was bred in Kentucky by the Stonerside Stable of Robert and Janice McNair. She is by 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft and was produced by Catboat, by Tale of the Cat. She earned $1,019,500 from her eight starts in 2011. Several weeks after the Breeders’ Cup, It’s Tricky returned to light training at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida and could run once or twice at the current Gulfstream Park meet, according to McLaughlin, with the March 31 Rampart a possible early-season goal.

Date Track Race Finish Chart Distance Time Beyers Video
11/4/11 CD Breeders Cup Ladies' Classic 2nd 1 1/8 mile 1:50.78 100 Video
10/01/11 PRX Cotillion 2nd 1 1/16 mile 1:41.19 95 Video
8/20/11 SAR Alabama 2nd 1 1/4 mile 2:03.00 89 Video
7/23/11 SAR American Oaks 1st 1 1/8 mile 1:49.00 97 Video
6/11/11 BEL Acorn 1st 1 mile 1:35.40 104 Video
4/2/11 GP Gulfstream Oaks 4th 1 1/8 Mile 1:49.20 63 Video

It's Tricky

Breeder: Stonerside Stable 
Trainer: Kiaran P. McLaughlin
Owner: Godolphin Racing LLC
Record: 7-5-1-0
Best Beyer: 104