02/20/2012 3:16PM

Aqueduct: It's Tricky to start year in Top Flight

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Barbara D. Livingston
It's Tricky will target the Grade 2 Top Flight at Aqueduct on March 3.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – It’s Tricky, a finalist for the 2011 Eclipse Award in the 3-year-old filly division, launched her multiple Grade 1-winning campaign with two victories over Aqueduct’s inner track.

After spending the last 3 1/2 months training in south Florida, It’s Tricky has returned to New York where she will begin her 4-year-old season in the Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap here on March 3.

It’s Tricky was originally being pointed to this weekend’s Grade 3, $100,000 Sabin Stakes at Gulfstream Park, a race that is expected to attract defending 3-year-old filly champion Royal Delta and Awesome Maria, a 5-year-old mare who went 4 for 4 in 2011 before an injury sent her to the sidelines.

It has been well documented that It’s Tricky can be a handful for her connections. Kiaran McLaughlin, her trainer, noted while It’s Tricky has been training well at Palm Meadows in south Florida, she has started acting quiet. McLaughlin noted the same thing last year before It’s Tricky got beaten 22 1/4 lengths in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks after shipping to Florida from New York. Before the Gulfstream Oaks, It’s Tricky won an allowance race and the Busher over the inner track.

“The most important thing was she does great at Aqueduct and does great in New York, and it’s twice as much money against easier,” McLaughlin said, comparing the Top Flight to the Sabin.

It’s Tricky arrived in New York on Thursday. After walking for two days, It’s Tricky started galloping Sunday and had a spirited gallop Monday morning over the Belmont training track.

Emcee to Tom Fool; Redding Colliery to Big Cap?

McLaughlin has also changed plans with a couple of other runners for stakes races to be run on March 3.

McLaughlin said Monday that Emcee will ship up to New York for the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool while Evening Attire Stakes winner Redding Colliery is “likely” headed to California for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap.

McLaughlin had been considering Crossbow for the Tom Fool, but found a better spot for him in a third-level allowance race here on Thursday. Emcee, who like Crossbow races for Darley Stable, is coming off a first-level allowance win at Gulfstream on Feb. 3 in which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 107.

“We’re a flexible team,” McLaughlin said. “We decided that let’s go to New York with Emcee and if they’re going to try and use these better races in New York let’s go there with Crossbow. We can always catch another stakes with him later. Emcee is a serious colt.”

Also expected for the Tom Fool are Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse and defending Tom Fool winner Calibrachoa.

Meanwhile, McLaughlin said that Redding Colliery is under serious consideration for the Santa Anita Handicap with the Grade 3, $150,000 Excelsior here on March 17 as a backup.

McLaughlin said one reason for considering the Big Cap is to try and get into one of two races in Dubai, where owners Dr. James and Fitriani Hay are based.

“The Hays would love him to come to Dubai for either the Godolphin Mile or the World Cup,” McLaughlin said. “We’re not rated high enough by their International Rating System. The only way we could do it is to run in the Big Cap and get our rating up, and then we’d be eligible to run back in four weeks out there in Dubai.”

Though it could be an expensive trip to fly Redding Colliery from New York to California, McLaughlin said it is “likely” he would run in the Big Cap.

Dutrow weighs options with Marilyn’s Guy

If Redding Colliery ships to Santa Anita for the Big Cap, perhaps that might entice trainer Tony Dutrow to run Marilyn’s Guy in the Excelsior.

Marilyn’s Guy returned from an 11-month layoff to win a hard-fought nose decision over San Pablo in Saturday’s As Indicated Stakes over the inner track. Marilyn’s Guy earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure in the process.

Dutrow said Monday that Marilyn’s Guy came out of the race “superior” but that his first instinct was not to run back in the Excelsior.

“I do not rule out the Excelsior, but I’m not a probable,” he said.

Dutrow said that he was surprised that Marilyn’s Guy was fit enough to win a prolonged stretch battle with San Pablo, who had a recency edge on him though who was spotting Marilyn’s Guy five pounds.

“He did surprise me in that I didn’t feel he was 100 percent there,” Dutrow said. “I think he’s a better horse than I was giving him credit for.”

Sweet Seventeen tops Busher

Sweet Seventeen, beaten a neck by Captivating Lass in the $100,000 Busanda Stakes here on Jan. 7, will make a return trip to New York for Saturday’s $75,000 Busher Stakes.

Sweet Seventwee, a daughter of Hard Spun, had a two-length lead in midstretch of the Busanda, but she failed to switch to her proper lead in the stretch and was run down late by Captivating Lass.

With Ramon Dominguez out of town Saturday, Alan Garcia picks up the mount on Sweet Seventeen for trainer Graham Motion.

Others entered in the Busher, run at 1 1/16 miles, are Marvelous Margaret, Lisa T, Off Limits, Better Lucky, Plum, and Super Quiet.

◗ David Cohen, the fifth leading rider at the meet, on Thursday will begin serving a seven-day careless riding suspension dating back to an incident on the turf here on Dec. 2. Cohen, who entered Monday’s card with 47 winners, will be eligible to ride again March 1.