03/01/2012 4:32PM

Aqueduct: It's Tricky finds softer spot for return in Top Flight

Barbara D. Livingston
It's Tricky will make her first start of 2012 in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin only stayed at the University of Kentucky for one year, but he didn’t need a degree in mathematics to realize Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct was a much better spot for It’s Tricky to return to the races than last week’s Sabin Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Not only does It’s Tricky get to run for twice the purse, she faces infinitely easier competition than the likes of Awesome Maria and champion Royal Delta, who ran 1-2 in last week’s Sabin.

Instead, It’s Tricky will take on four fillies, none that have won a graded stakes. Five horse were entered against It’s Tricky, but trainer Kelly Breen said he would run just one, most likely the speedy Coco Ecolo. The Top Flight was carded as race 5 to keep it out of the pick six and late pick four.

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It’s Tricky won the Acorn and the Coaching Club American Oaks – both Grade 1 races – and finished second in the Alabama and Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. Before venturing into graded company last year, It’s Tricky won an allowance and the Busher Stakes over Aqueduct’s inner track.

She spent the bulk of the winter at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida, before shipping to New York two weeks ago.

“She’s doing very well, we’re looking forward to her running a big race,” McLaughlin said. “She hasn’t missed a beat since coming back.”

Not only is It’s Tricky the class of the race, she has the running style that figures to suit the dynamic of the race. She likely will take up residence in third position behind Coco Ecolo, who breaks from the rail, and Love and Pride, who breaks from the outside.

The horse with the best chance to upset It’s Tricky is Delightful Mary, who comes off a second-place finish to the undefeated Awesome Feather in the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream last out.

Mark Casse, trainer of Delightful Mary, liked the way his filly outfinished the stakes winner Sweet Repent to be second in that race. He also likes the fact this race is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Sunshine Millions.

“I think a mile and a sixteenth will be right in her wheelhouse,” Casse said.

Love and Pride won the Affectionately in front-running fashion, but trainer Todd Pletcher said her success depends on being able to run comfortable fractions regardless of whether she’s in front or stalking.

Bahama Bound, third to Love and Pride in the Affectionately, makes her first start for trainer Tony Dutrow.

Top Flight H. (G2), Post Time: 2:42 ET Saturday

Purse: $200,000; 1 1/16 miles





ML Odds


Coco Ecolo

K. Breen

E. Trujillo



Sleepless Dixie

K. Breen

R. Curatolo



Delightful Mary

M. Casse

L. Contreras



Bahama Bound

A. Dutrow

J. Velazquez



It's Tricky

K. McLaughlin

R. Dominguez



Love and Pride

T. Pletcher

C. Velasquez