Five fillies broke from the gate in Saturday's $250,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga, but the final three furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile test wound up being a two-horse race.
Urged on around the far turn by jockey Eddie Castro, It's Tricky made a run at long-time leader Plum Pretty and got within a half-length before falling back again at the top of the stretch. However, continued pressure from Castro kept It's Tricky in the game and the filly steadily wore down the 9-5 favorite, finally moving past her in the final sixteenth.
The winning margin was three parts of a length for the 4-1 It's Tricky, who paid $10.60, $4.40 and $3.10.
Plum Pretty distanced itself from the field after urging from Martin Garcia. However, It's Tricky simply proved too much horse in the final stages of the Oaks, and she passed Plum Pretty en route to a final time of 1:49 over a fast track. Plum Pretty was 6 1/2 lengths clear of Royal Delta, who had 3 3/4 lengths on Buster's Ready. It was another seven lengths back to Joyful Victory.
"Around the three-eighths, I knew (Garcia) had a lot of horse, too," Castro said. "I had to put pressure and ride her really hard. When that filly came past her, she changed leads, and when I hit her left again she swung back again, she fought again."
The win by It's Tricky was a welcome one for the stable, which saw its multiple Group 1 star Rewilding suffer a fatal injury earlier in the day in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. (Eng-G1) at Ascot in England.
It's Tricky made her initial three career starts at Aqueduct, breaking her maiden by 1 3/4 lengths on the main track in late November. She showed up a month later to take her sophomore bow against allowance rivals by 4 3/4 lengths on the inner dirt, then romped by eight lengths in her stakes debut in the Busher S. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin shipped her to Florida to try graded company in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), but the filly turned in her lone clunker to date when fourth, beaten 22 1/4 lengths. She got back on the winning track in the June 11 Acorn S. (G1), turning back multiple Grade 1 winner Turbulent Descent (Congrats) in the mud to win going away by 3 3/4 lengths.
"She's obviously only had one defeat in her life. She's a very nice filly," winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "She got beat in Florida, but the winner that day, R Heat Lightning (Trippi), was very impressive. We've always liked her and I thought she ran very well today."
Bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable, It's Tricky is out of Grade 3 winner Catboat (Tale of the Cat) and has an unnamed 2011 half-sister by Medaglia d'Oro. Catboat is herself a half-sibling to the stakes-placed pair of This Fleet is Due (Devil His Due) and Betty Garr (Out of Place).
It's Tricky's next start will likely be the August 20 Alabama S. (G1), a race her seventh dam, Lily White (*Easton), won in 1952.