It’s why Canadian trainer Josie Carroll said the day after her outstanding filly Inglorious dominated 15 males to win the 152nd running of Canada’s biggest race, the Queen’s Plate, by 2 ½ lengths June 26th at Woodbine, that Inglorious would not pursue the Canadian Triple Crown, but point to the 131st running of the Alabama Stakes instead. “It’s important to step up to win a Grade 1,” said Carroll, who won her first Queen’s Plate with Edenwold in 2006. “That’s really the next step, to see if she’s competitive at that level.”
If Inglorious succeeds, she would give her 53-year-old trainer her second Alabama in three years, following the 11-length blowout victory of cantankerous Careless Jewel, who dumped her rider twice before the start, then acted up in the starting gate and was checked severely early in the race.
Carroll said Inglorious is the polar opposite of Careless Jewel, but, ironically, the horse to beat in this year’s Alabama, It’s Tricky, may be just as rambunctious as Careless Jewel. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said that when It’s Tricky goes out to train, “She whips around and wheels away from the pony. She’s always a handful. She’s just difficult.”
Now everyone knows. After her gritty, three-quarter length victory over Plum Pretty in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks in her last start at Saratoga, July 23rd, It’s Tricky dumped jockey Eddie Castro on the way to the winner’s circle when he tried to sponge her with ice water to cool her down. “She’s tricky,” Castro said afterwards.
That victory made It’s Tricky five-for-six lifetime, and though she went off at 4-1 in the Coaching Club American Oaks, she will likely be the favorite in tomorrow’s Alabama, despite the presence of not only Inglorious, but also Plum Pretty and Grade 2 stakes winners Royal Delta and St. John’s River.
Inglorious, who has won three straight races and five of seven lifetime, may have two advantages in the Alabama. By capturing the Queen’s Plate, she is the only filly to even start, let alone win, at the Alabama distance of a mile and a quarter. She has also been targeting the Alabama for nearly two months, while some of her Alabama rivals were considering other options.
Carroll exudes quiet confidence that Inglorious will run well tomorrow: “We thought highly of this filly from the very start. What sets her apart from other horses is what a great mind she has. She’s extremely sensible. She relaxes and waits. She does what the rider wants.”
It’s Tricky, like Carroll’s first Alabama winner, does whatever she wants. That adds just another wrinkle to what should be one heck of an edition of the Alabama.