02/18/2011 2:57PM

It's Tricky steps up in Busher Stakes at Aqueduct

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
It’s Tricky will make her stakes debut in Sunday’s Busher at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – In 2008, Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stable and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin used Aqueduct’s inner track as a path to Grade 1 glory with the 3-year-old filly Little Belle, who won the Busher Stakes here before upsetting the Ashland at Keeneland.

Three years later, those same connections are hoping the inner track can pave the way for similar success for It’s Tricky, who makes her stakes debut in Sunday’s $65,000 Busher Stakes. Originally scheduled for Saturday, the Busher was moved to Sunday as the racing department sorted out some ownership issues with other horses entered in the race. On Sunday, the Busher – which was cut back from 1 1/16 miles to a mile and 70 yards – shares billing with the $65,000 Rare Treat Stakes for older fillies and mares.

It’s Tricky, a daughter of Mineshaft, won her debut sprinting by 1 3/4 lengths in November over Aqueduct’s main track. Two months later, she successfully stretched out around two turns, winning a first-level allowance race going a mile and 70 yards.

“She was a little green on the first turn, she threw her head a little bit,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin. “It was only her second start, and first around turns.”

Magnuson said the Busher could be a prep for either the Grade 3 Comely here April 9 or the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland the same day.

In both of her victories, It’s Tricky won from just off the pace. She figures to be on or near the lead Sunday.

Dance Quietly, a half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam as well as Quiet Giant – who runs earlier on Sunday’s card in the Rare Treat – comes into the Busher off a 1 3/4-length victory in the Busanda Stakes. Dance Quietly came from off the pace that day after registering her maiden victory from on the pace.

“She seems to be the type of horse that will let you do whatever you need to from a rider’s perspective,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher.

Gary Contessa sends out the uncoupled entry of Portside and Vixen’s Roar, both coming off maiden victories. Vixen’s Roar suffered a hind leg fracture when kicked in the gate in her debut at Saratoga. After returning with a fifth-place finish on turf, she scored a solid 5 1/2-length maiden win when tried around two turns on dirt Jan. 8.

Portside, a daughter of Congrats who won sprinting, “is screaming to go long,” Contessa said.

Daring Reality, third in the Busanda, completes the field.