Gulfstream Oaks Will Get 'Tricky'
BOYNTON BEACH, FL – Kiaran McLaughlin will saddle Soldat for Sunday’s $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park with the ultimate goal of setting up his Fountain of Youth (G1) winner for a peak effort in the Kentucky Derby on May 7.
One day earlier, he will send It’s Tricky to post for the $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks with the hopes that the late-developing 3-year-old filly will show that she deserves to accompany Soldat to Churchill Downs to compete in the Kentucky Oaks on May 6.
“She’s 3-for-3 and doing well,” McLaughlin said during training hours at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility. “It’s a big step up in class, but we needed to step up in class to find out if we’re got an (Kentucky) Oaks filly.”
It’s Tricky didn’t make her debut until Nov. 28 at Aqueduct, where she raced greenly while winning by nearly two lengths in a six-furlong maiden special weights race. The daughter of Mineshaft returned to action on the Aqueduct inner dirt track on Jan. 26 to draw away by nearly five lengths in a 1-1/16-mile allowance in her first start around two turns. Less than a month later, the Kentucky-bred filly romped by eight lengths in the Busher Stakes.
“The only reason we left her in New York was we felt she could get some black type up there,” McLaughlin said. “She ran back quick last time to get the black type, and now she’s had some time. She was always one of our favorite fillies.”
Following the Busher, McLaughlin considered all of his options before deciding to ship the Darley Stable’s filly to South Florida for a start in the Gulfstream Oaks (G2).
“There were a lot of races we could have chosen: the Fantasy, the Fair Grounds Oaks, the Gulfstream Oaks, the Comely, the Ashland, the Santa Anita Oaks. There were seven races within a week for her, but we chose the Gulfstream Oaks because we’re here,” he said.
It’s Tricky’s Kentucky Oaks credentials will be sternly tested in the Gulfstream Oaks by R Heat Lighning, the Todd Pletcher-trained 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up and recent 7 ¼-length winner of the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
It’s Tricky has been a challenge to train, but McLaughlin is starting to reap the rewards for the time and patience he has given her.
“She takes after her name – It’s Tricky. She’s a little tricky, but she’s done very well here. Things are going well here, and she obviously did well in New York, where she won three in a row,” he said. “Her whole personality has gotten better, too. In time, she’s better to handle. We all understand her and she’s doing everything well.
Eddie Castro, who rode her to her two most recent victories at Aqueduct, will be replaced for the Oaks by Gulfstream-based Alan Garcia.
“Eddie Castro did a great job with her in New York the last two times, but Alan rode the first time before he came down,” McLaughlin said. “ It’s just that he’s down here and he rode her the first time.”