02/20/2011 6:08PM

It's Tricky, Quiet Giant deliver as odds-on favorites in Aqueduct stakes

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
The unbeaten filly It's Tricky improves to 3 for 3 by easily winning the Busher.

Heavy favorites It’s Tricky and Quiet Giant more than lived up to expectations Sunday at Aqueduct, both winning stakes races as easily as they pleased and their backers had anticipated.

In the $65,000 Busher Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, It’s Tricky ran her record to 3 for 3 by accelerating past pacesetting Portside at the three-sixteenths pole and drawing clear to an eight-length victory. Daring Reality rallied to get second by three-quarters of a length over Portside. Dance Quietly and Vixen’s Roar completed the order of finish.

Under Eddie Castro, It’s Tricky stalked Portside through fractions of 23.83 seconds, 48.30, and 1:14.23 before making the lead and being hand-ridden to the wire. It’s Tricky, a daughter of Mineshaft owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, covered a mile and 70 yards in 1:43.21 and returned $2.70 as the 1-4 favorite.

Art Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin, liked the fact It’s Tricky raced more professionally Sunday than in her allowance win on Jan. 26, when she threw her head a bit entering the first turn.

“She was very professional on the first turn today,’’ Magnuson said. “We were in the clear, which helped, and Eddie indicated after last time that it wouldn’t be a problem and he was right. It was push-button steering today. She’s a nice filly and we’re happy Darley is leaving this kind up north, too, as well as down in Florida.’’

It’s Tricky could be pointed to either the Grade 3 Comely Stakes over Aqueduct’s main track or the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland. Both races are on April 9.

Earlier on the card, in the $65,000 Rare Treat Stakes for older fillies and mares, Quiet Giant, the 1-9 favorite, dominated her three opponents, making the lead entering the clubhouse turn under Ramon Dominguez, withstanding some mild pressure from Opus A down the backside, before running away from the field in the stretch for a nine-length victory.

Mined Over Matter finished second by one-half length over Opus A. Dolce Pentimento finished last. Awesome Bull scratched.
Quiet Giant made an eye-catching move from the five sixteenths to the three-sixteenths pole before basically being taken in hand during the final furlong by Dominguez. Quiet Giant covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.22 and returned $2.10. The race scratched down to a field of four, so there was no show wagering. However, there was a minus-win pool of $19,069 and a minus-place pool of $60,118.

“I was a little bit concerned when [Opus A] came to me because it felt like we were picking it up pretty good,’’ said Dominguez, who won three races on the card. “But turning for home when she switched leads, she just took off again. She galloped out super strong, the distance was perfect, and it seems like the better for her.’’

It was the third consecutive stakes win over the inner track for Quiet Giant, a half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam owned by the estate of the late Edward Evans and trained by Todd Pletcher.

The Pletcher stable won the Rare Treat last year with Life At Ten, who went on to become a multiple Grade 1 winner.

Aqueduct will be open for live racing on Monday, Presidents’ Day, with a nine-race card beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern and featuring the $65,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes for New York-bred sprinters.