Godolphin's It's Tricky (Mineshaft) made a strong case for the title of divisional leader in yesterday's GI Ogden Phipps H. at Belmont, a mid-season event that nonetheless could have championship implications. Godolphin's star 4-year-old registered her third graded win in three starts this season after fighting past Cash for Clunkers (Tiznow) for the 3/4-length win, with odds-on Awesome Maria (Maria's Mon) finishing a no-excuse third. "She's a special filly," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "Eddie [Castro] rode her very well. Rick Violette's filly [Cash for Clunkers] was tough...wow! We just did get there."
Monday, Belmont Park
OGDEN PHIPPS H.-GI, $392,000, BEL, 5-28, 3yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 1:41 3/5, ft.
1--IT'S TRICKY, 122, f, 4, by Mineshaft
1st Dam: Catboat (GSW, $221,659), by Tale of the Cat
2nd Dam: Northern Fleet, by Afleet
3rd Dam: Glenorthern, by Northern Fling
O-Godolphin Racing LLC; B-Stonerside Stable (KY); T-Kiaran P McLaughlin; J-Eddie Castro; $240,000. Lifetime Record: 12-8-3-0, $1,526,500. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2--Cash for Clunkers, 114, f, 4, Tiznow--Miss Dixie Dreamer, by Dixieland Band. ($25,000 yrl '09 KEESEP; $200,000 2yo 2010 OBSMAR). O-Klaravich Stables, Inc and Lawrence, William H; B-Mineola Farm II, LLC, Jim Geisler &David R Houchin (KY); T-Richard A Violette, Jr; $80,000.
3--Awesome Maria, 124, m, 5, Maria's Mon--Discreetly Awesome, by Awesome Again. O-E Paul Robsham Stables LLC; B-Mrs E Paul Robsham (KY); T-Todd A Pletcher; $40,000.
Margins: 3/4, 1HF, 8. Odds: 2.10, 6.60, 0.75.
Also Ran: She's All In, Juanita. Click for the brisnet.com chart, the brisnet.com PPs or the free brisnet.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Taylor Made.
It's Tricky was one of the best of a very deep sophomore filly bench last year. She won the one-mile GI Acorn S. in the slop on the Belmont S. undercard in June before stretching out to add the nine-furlong GI CCA Oaks at Saratoga in July. She ran second in her final three starts of the year: to Royal Delta (Empire Maker) in the GI Alabama S. at Saratoga in August, to Plum Pretty (Medaglia d'Oro) in the GII Cotillion S. at Parx in October and to Royal Delta once again in the GI Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic in November. She got back to business relatively early at Aqueduct this past spring, winning the 1 1/16-mile GII Top Flight H. in the mud Mar. 3 before scaling back to annex the seven-furlong GII Distaff H. Apr. 14. Off as the second choice as the crowd hammered Awesome Maria down to 3-4 favoritism, It's Tricky was up from post four to hound Cash for Clunkers through fast splits of :22 3/5 and :45 3/5. John Velazquez guided Awesome Maria into the clear on the outside just off that pair, and looked poised for a big run as It's Tricky moved to near even terms in upper stretch. Cash for Clunkers wasn't through yet, though, battling back on the inside and leading most of the stretch, but It's Tricky wouldn't relent and surged late to win as Awesome Marie continued one-paced in third. "From the three-sixteenths pole to the eighth pole, I was worried--she wasn't there yet," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "She ran great. We're not sure what's next for her." Trainer Rick Violette Jr. was thrilled with the effort of Cash for Clunkers. "We had to start running on the middle of the turn and it was a long, hard drive," he said. "For a filly that hasn't really been pressed to the wire, she just really ran her eyeballs out. I am really, really proud of her. We found out today that she is a real filly." Trainer Todd Pletcher, meanwhile, shouldered the blame for the finish of Awesome Maria, who saw her six-race winning streak snapped. "I think I did a really poor job preparing her for this race," he said. "We stayed in Florida too long, got rained on a lot, missed a couple of works down there. Then I tried to make up for it here and breezed her on a sloppy track. I really did a bad job preparing her for this race. It wasn't her fault. I'll take the blame for it. We'll go to Saratoga."