Winner of the 2011 Grade 1 TVG Acorn and Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks, It’s Tricky is slated to commence her 2012 campaign on Saturday in Aqueduct Racetrack’s Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares. It will be the 4-year-old’s first start since finishing second to Royal Delta in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic in November.
The McLaughlin barn admits It’s Tricky, who is accompanied to her workouts by a pony, has her eccentricities, but Magnuson said she has been better behaved in recent months.
“She’s really into a good routine,” said Magnuson. “Even toward the end of last year and right now, she’s not being very tricky at all. She’s a quirky filly who is acting very well.”
The Top Flight is part of the undercard for the Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham, with the McLaughlin barn set to send out Godolphin’s Consortium in the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds. Consortium, who in his lone 2012 start finished last of six over a sloppy track in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 Holy Bull on January 29, covered four furlongs in 49.76 in company with Redding Colliery on Sunday. Redding Colliery, winner of the January 28 Evening Attire for owner Mrs. Fitriani Hay, is targeting the Grade 3, Excelsior $150,000 on March 17 and was clocked in 49.65.
“[Consortium] went very well,” said Magnuson. “Just in hand, just what we wanted: a nice half with Redding Colliery.”
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Raconteur, winner of two straight on the inner track, completed major preparations for the Gotham with a 48.89 four-furlong breeze on the Belmont training track on Sunday.
Owned by Dogwood Stable, Raconteur went in company with Mike Repole’s Calibrachoa, who will attempt to remain unbeaten in five stakes starts on the inner track when he defends his title in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap at six furlongs.
“I thought it was a decent move today; I was pleased with what I saw,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, of Raconteur’s work. “He got into a nice rhythm and maintained it throughout the work, and he galloped out well.”
McCarthy also expressed satisfaction with the drill posted by Calibrachoa, who repeated in the Grade 3 Toboggan on February 4.
“The horse seemed to come out of the Toboggan in decent order,” said McCarthy. “He worked nicely today. He’s on schedule.”
Green Hills Farm’s Love and Pride, victorious in the Affectionately on January 29, was also on the worktab, breezing four furlongs in 50.55 as she tunes up for Saturday’s Top Flight.
“She does not need a lot,” said McCarthy. “She got over the racetrack well, galloped out well, and came back in good order.”
The stable’s other Gotham contender, Grade 3 LeComte fourth-place finisher Dan and Sheila, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.92 on Sunday at Palm Meadows, quickest of 29 moves at the distance. The Zayat Stables color-bearer is expected to arrive in New York on Wednesday, McCarthy said.
Additional New York-based Gotham workers were Hardened Wildcat (five furlongs in 1:02 at Belmont), King and Crusader (five furlongs in a bullet 1:01.30 at Aqueduct), and My Adonis (five furlongs in 1:01.32 at Aqueduct).
On the worktab in Florida was Two-Year-Old Champion Male Hansen, who worked five furlongs, handily, in 1:00.95 at Gulfstream for trainer Michael Maker and owners Dr. Kendall Hansen and Sky Chai Racing.
In addition to Hardened Wildcat, Andrew Byrnes, stakes coordinator for The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), added Suns Out Guns Out and Went the Day Well to the list of Gotham probables. Chief Energy is no longer under consideration for the race.
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Jockey Cornelio Velasquez, who was taken to North Shore University Hospital Saturday complaining of neck and back pain after being unseated in the day’s final race, is expected to return to riding on Wednesday when live racing resumes at Aqueduct, according to his agent, Matt Muzikar
“All the tests were negative,” said Muzikar Sunday morning. “He’s just body sore. Obviously, he took off his mounts today, but he plans on riding Wednesday.”
Velasquez, 43, is in second place on the Big A’s inner-track jockey standings with 73 winners behind reigning Eclipse champion jockey Ramon Dominguez.