Meryl J. Squires-Cannon’s homebred Fire Tricks, the adjudged winner of Saturday’s Isaac Murphy Handicap, exited her victory well, according to trainer Sharon Wilson. The dark bay 5-year-old mare made a wide and menacing rally in the six-furlong contest from last at the top of the stretch to finish a mere half-length second to Frabster, who was eventually disqualified for interference with third-place finisher Scarlet Power.
“She’s a little tired, but she’s fine today,” Wilson reported. “She tries hard every race and made us very proud yesterday.”
From the Sunday Silence sire line (through sire Hat Trick), which known for its ill temper, the mare endearingly known around the barn as “Trixie” has been a project for Wilson and her team. “She’s a little mean, but that’s what makes her good, I think. She likes to have things her own way. We even put a cone outside her stall because she can bite, but she wound up grabbing the cone, putting it in her stall and defending it. She was quite proud of herself,” Wilson laughed. “She’s a very honest mare and I think she should have a very good year if she gets decent trips. Of course, with her a decent trip is basically not getting stopped or going 7-wide.”
One of the main challenges with the star of Wilson’s three-horse barn has been getting her the trip she needs. “She does not like any kickback in her face. And, unfortunately, coming from behind is the only way she can run,” Wilson said. “She has a good kick and definitely showed it yesterday. I feel bad for the horse who finished first and got disqualified, but that’s how it goes. Our filly was last turning for home and (jockey) Eddie (Perez) did a really good job getting her out in the clear.”
The star mare of the small stable is also a point of pride for her owner. Fire Tricks is not only the first stakes winner for Squires-Cannon, but is also her first homebred stakes winner. “It’s really exciting because the owner not only bred her, but also bred her mother,” Wilson explained. “(Squires-Cannon) raised her and also has a full brother at the farm. He, unlike her, is a very good natured colt and is also really good looking. It’s hard to breed, raise and own a stakes winner – so we’re all very proud of it.”
Yesterday’s glory could beget some bigger ambitions for the blossoming dark bay. “We are going to take a look at the (Grade III) Chicago Handicap (on June 28). It comes up a little soon, but we are going to see how she comes out of this and then make a decision. There isn’t too much for her, otherwise, and she’s doing so well right now,” Wilson said. “We actually had her nominated to that before the Isaac Murphy because we thought she fit.”
Fire Tricks earned a 95 Equibase Speed Figure on Saturday – the second highest of her career – and won for the fifth time in 12 trips to the Arlington International Racecourse post. An Illinois-bred, she is out of the mare Thunder Trick – a daughter of 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick – and her $288,020 in earnings places her fourth-best of Hat Trick’s offspring.
CHICAGO HANDICAP THE TARGET FOR EDEN PRAIRIE
Lothenbach Stable’s talented mare Eden Prairie turned in a solid five-furlong work on Saturday morning at Arlington International Racecourse in 1:01 for conditioner Neil Pessin. The 4-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast is currently being pointed toward the Grade III Chicago Handicap on June 28.
“That’s the plan right now,” Pessin confirmed. “She worked really well and finished strong. We’ve been pointing for the Chicago Handicap since her last race. I think seven furlongs is her best distance and Polytrack is her best surface. It’s a no-brainer.”
Last out, the dark bay 4-year-old filly disputed the pace of the Grade I Madison Stakes at Keeneland before retreating to fifth, beaten 5¼ lengths by Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint runner-up Judy the Beauty. Last year, Eden Prairie won an Arlington allowance before a heartbreak photo-finish second in the Grade II Raven Run Stakes – beating fellow Chicago Handicap hopeful and multiple Illinois champion My Option – at Keeneland. All three of those competitive performances were at the Chicago Handicap’s seven-furlong distance over a Polytrack surface.