Updated on 07/25/2011 2:01PM

Saratoga: It's Tricky outfinishes Plum Pretty after long stretch duel in CCA Oaks

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Barbara D. Livingston
It's Tricky edges away from Plum Pretty in deep stretch of Saturday's CCA Oaks.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The quirky habits that make It’s Tricky a well-named filly were on display Saturday morning when, according to her connections, she ran around her stall for 40 minutes before her handlers could get her corralled.

 The talent that makes It’s Tricky one of the top 3-year-old fillies in North America was on display Saturday afternoon in the Saratoga stretch when, under serious left-handed urging from jockey Eddie Castro, It’s Tricky wore down Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty to take the Grade 1, $250,000 Coaching Club American Oaks by three-quarters of a length before a crowd of 22,091.

 Plum Pretty, who set the pace under Martin Garcia, finished second, 6 1/2 lengths clear of Black-Eyed Susan winner Royal Delta. Buster’s Ready, the Mother Goose winner, and Joyful Victory, completed the order of finish.

 It was the second consecutive Grade 1 victory for It’s Tricky, who last month captured the Acorn at Belmont Park. Overall, It’s Tricky, a daughter of Mineshaft, has won 5 of 6 career starts. Her win over the deep, albeit short, CCA Oaks field may have vaulted It’s Tricky to the top of the 3-year-old filly division.

 “Today, yes,’’ said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains It’s Tricky for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Stable. “We have to keep it going; take it race by race, but she’s a very nice filly.’’

 And very difficult. According to McLaughlin, It’s Tricky has the habit of wheeling away from her pony during training hours, runs around her stall, and in general is just a handful. More evidence of that came after the race when she dumped Castro just outside the winner’s circle.

 “She’s just hormonal,’’ McLaughlin said. “But we don’t mind if she runs like that.’’

It’s Tricky broke alertly and was just outside of Plum Pretty going into the first turn. Martin Garcia had Plum Pretty two paths off the rail forcing It’s Tricky to be three wide and allowing Buster’s Ready room at the inside.

 Plum Pretty carved out fractions of 23.88 and 47.88 seconds with It’s Tricky and Buster’s Ready heads apart a length behind.

 Leaving the half-mile pole, It’s Tricky went after Plum Pretty and crept up alongside approaching the five-sixteenths pole. The two came into the stretch together and it looked as though Plum Pretty was resisting the pressure from It’s Tricky.

 But when Castro switched from his right-handed stick to his left, he got into It’s Tricky six times and she began to edge clear in the final 70 yards.

“When I hit her left handed she was coming back again, she fought again,” Castro said.

 It’s Tricky gave Godolphin its third CCA Oaks win, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.15, and returned $10.60 to win.

 McLaughlin said he felt speed and the rail were good on Saturday so he told Castro if he could make the lead, get it. But he couldn’t. In the stretch, McLaughlin wasn’t sure his filly would get by Plum Pretty.

 “Because speed and the rail were good today I thought we were having a difficult time to get by her and might not get by her,’’ McLaughlin said. “I told Eddie if we broke well to try and get to the rail and get to the lead, but don’t send her. He rode a great race.’’

 Garcia said he felt his filly ran her race, but just came up second best

 “My filly run a really good race;  the other filly is a good filly too,’’ he said. “I think it maybe it was a little too hot for her.’’

 A rematch between It’s Tricky and Plum Pretty could take place in the Grade 1, $500,000 Alabama here on Aug. 20.