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Belmont Park notes: It's Tricky unlikely for Delaware Handicap
ELMONT, N.Y. – It’s Tricky, the multiple Grade 1-winning 4-year-old filly, most likely will not run in next Saturday’s $750,000 Delaware Handicap and instead will point to a Grade 1 stakes toward the end of the Saratoga meeting, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Friday.
It’s Tricky is 3 for 3 this year, including a win in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont on May 28. McLaughlin was seriously considering running her in the Delaware Handicap at 1 1/4 miles, but has since reconsidered.
“My gut feeling is to skip Delaware because of the distance, surface, and the heat,” McLaughlin said. “The track is a different kind of surface and shipping is always a worry. It’s not certain we’re not running, but we are doubtful.”
McLaughlin said he would likely point It’s Tricky to either the $500,000 Ballerina at seven furlongs on Aug. 24 or the $600,000 Personal Ensign Invitational at 1 1/8 miles on Aug. 26.
McLaughlin skipped a workout last week with It’s Tricky, though he said he planned to breeze her this weekend.
McLaughlin confirmed that Questing, a recent first-level allowance winner, will run in next Saturday’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks.
Questing, fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies when trained by John Gosden, had raced twice on turf for McLaughlin before returning to dirt June 24. She won a one-mile allowance race by 3 3/4 lengths, running the distance in 1:34.14 and earning a gaudy 105 Beyer Speed Figure.
“We thought she was probably turf,” McLaughlin said. “We switched her back to dirt, and she ran huge. If she ran that race back, she’d look pretty good.”
McLaughlin said that Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode Questing in the allowance race, would ride her back in the Coaching Club.
Alpha targeting Jim Dandy
McLaughlin said that Alpha, winner of the Count Fleet and Withers stakes during the winter, would most likely make his next start in the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 28.
Alpha was beaten a neck by Gemologist in the Wood Memorial and finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby. He was being pointed to the Belmont Stakes, but developed a fever that forced him to miss some training time.
Alpha has been training in Saratoga, where on July 7 he breezed a bullet half-mile in 47.33 seconds. He was scheduled to breeze again Saturday.
“He’s doing great,” McLaughlin said. “The Haskell is a possibility, but most likely the Jim Dandy.”
McLaughlin said Le Bernardin, who won the Grade 3 Pegasus at Monmouth by a neck on June 17, would most likely make his next start in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby on Aug. 4.
Noting that Iowa Derby winner Hansen is pointing to the West Virginia Derby, McLaughlin said, “It’s not like it’s without runners.”
McLaughlin said Crossbow, fifth in the Grade 2 True North last out, would run in Friday’s Grade 3, $100,000 James Marvin Stakes at Saratoga. On Friday, he worked four furlongs in 47.23 over Saratoga’s main track.
Pompa buys Baby J; Dutrow to train
Owner Paul Pompa Jr. purchased the good-looking debut-winning 2-year-old filly Baby J and has turned her over to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.
Baby J, a daughter of J Be K, debuted June 28, winning a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race by a half-length while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 84. She was owned by Juvenal Diaz and trained by Michelle Nihei.
“She ran a big number, she’s a precocious filly, and this purchase puts us right into 2-year-old filly stakes company,” Pompa said.
On Thursday, Baby J worked four furlongs in 49.09 seconds at Aqueduct, her first breeze for Dutrow.
Pompa said he would like to try and make the Grade 3 Schuylerville next Friday at Saratoga with Baby J.
“That’s where we’re at right now,” Pompa said.
Baby J was purchased for $37,000 as a yearling by Diaz, a former jockey turned owner/pinhooker who has sold graded stakes winners Blind Luck and Two Item Limit. Diaz tried to sell her as a 2-year-old, but the bid fell short of his $70,000 reserve.
◗ Clare Taylor, wife of longtime NYRA placing/patrol judge Sentell “Sonny” Taylor, died Tuesday after a battle with Alzheimer’s. She was 78.
Sonny Taylor has been with NYRA since 1965. The Taylors were married for 48 years.
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