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It's Tricky Strong Favorite in Busher

It’s Tricky looks to keep an undefeated streak intact as she takes on a select field of 3-year-old fillies in Sunday’s 32nd running of the $65,000 Busher at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Originally scheduled for Saturday at a distance of 1 1/16 miles, the Busher was moved to Sunday and will be run at one mile and 70 yards.


Though stepping into stakes company for the first time, It’s Tricky already has an inner track win at the Busher to distance to her credit, having drawn off impressively to win an optional claimer by 4 ¾ lengths on January 26.


Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Darley Stable, the Mineshaft filly also won a six-furlong maiden contest at the Big A on November 28, and the early successes have impressed her connections.


“She’s still learning, but she’s done everything right so far and after her first time around two turns the other day, we’re excited to be running her,” said Artie Magnuson, McLaughlin’s assistant. “She was a little green around the first turn, throwing her head around, but Eddie (Castro) said he didn’t think it would be a problem in the future.”


Castro has the return call aboard the 4-5 morning-line favorite from post position 3.


Seeking her second inner-track stakes victory is Dance Quietly, who scampered through an opening on the rail to win the January 8 Busanda.


“I thought the way [the Busanda] unfolded that she handled a couple of obstacles well,” said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “She’s trained real well after that race, she had a nice work in :50 on Sunday, and we’re looking forward to running her.”


Bred by the late Edward P. Evans, Dance Quietly broke her maiden at Monmouth Park in November of her 2-year-old season. Ramon Dominguez, aboard for the Busanda will ride the 8-5 morning-line second-choice from post position 5.


Gary Contessa will saddle a pair of fillies, both exiting recent maiden victories at Aqueduct. Harold Lerner’s Portside graduated at six furlongs on January 30, while Team Stallion Racing’s Vixen’s Roar drew off to win going one mile and 70 yards on January 9. Previously, Vixen’s Roar finished fifth in a 1 1/16-mile turf race at Aqueduct on November 28, and sixth in her debut on August 1 at Saratoga Race Course, a race in which she was injured.


“When we ran Vixen’s Roar in Saratoga, the horse right next to her in the gate flipped over and kicked her in the leg,” said Contessa. “She actually fractured her splint bone – when she came back after the race, the outside of the leg that was facing the horse that flipped over was all swollen out and she had a fracture in there. She had surgery, and when she came back we put her on the turf, which was a decent race, then I got her back long on the dirt and that’s the ticket. She won very easily last time.


“I’ve been dying to run Portside long. She’s by Congrats (A.P. Indy) and I think the further she goes, the better she’s going to get. This is obviously an acid test for them, but this is winter racing and it’s the best time to try it.”


Portside, 12-1 morning line with Junior Alvarado up, will break from the rail, while Vixen’s Roar, 10-1, will leave from post 2 with Mike Luzzi.


Daring Reality, most recently third in the Busanda, completes the field from post 4.


The field for the $65,000 Busher:









Portside (FL)

J Alvarado


G C Contessa



Vixen's Roar (KY)

M J Luzzi


G C Contessa



It's Tricky (KY)

E Castro


K P McLaughlin



Daring Reality (KY)

J L Flores


C A Lynch



Dance Quietly (VA)

R A Dominguez


T A Pletcher





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