Tricky Temper digs deep to win Key Cents

Saturday, November 18th, 2023

Tricky Temper edges away late to win Saturday’s $100,000 Key Cents at Aqueduct. NYRA Photo.

Jeremiah Englehart wasn’t sure where Tricky Temper would excel – on dirt or turf – when he sat down to talk about the promising prospects and established veterans in his stable just before the start of this year’s Saratoga meet.

“I haven’t necessarily figured out if she’s dirt or turf, but the way she’s been working she’ll get a dirt start at first,” Englehart said in his Fasig-Tipton Stable Tour that appeared in The Saratoga Special’s second edition of 2023. “She could be a real nice filly.”

Tricky Temper proved that a few weeks later, winning an off-the-turf maiden race. The 2-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, who cost owner Mark Stanley $230,000 at the OBS April sale, took it up a notch Saturday with a determined victory over Cara’s Time in the $100,000 Key Cents Stakes at Aqueduct.

Tricky Temper won her first stakes in the 6-furlong Key Cents, after a fourth in the Seeking the Ante at Saratoga and a second in the off-the-turf Matron at the Belmont at the Big A meet. She also finished ninth, beaten 8 lengths against open company, in the Chelsey Flower going long on the grass last time out.

Back on the main track and facing just five foes in the Key Cents, Tricky Temper and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. went to the post as the 9-5 favorite. They needed almost every step of the stretch to wear down Cara’s Time, winner of the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes two starts back, but got up in time to win by a head in 1:11.74 over the fast main track.

“She broke well and put me in a beautiful spot. I just bided my time,” said Ortiz, who won the Notebook Stakes earlier on the card and riding his fourth of five winners overall on the day. “The horse in front of me [Cara’s Time] is a nice filly, so I just used her like a target and got there on time. Jeremiah did a great job with her. He was very positive and told me she was doing really well and to ride her with confidence.”

Dylan Davis took the initiative early on Cara’s Time, putting the daughter of Not This Time on the lead shortly after the break and to a sharp quarter-mile in :22.76. My Shea D Lady and Tricky Temper took up the chase up the backstretch and around the far turn, as Cara’s Time continued to lead through the half in :46.78.

“I was optimistic on her today,” said Davis, who rode Cara’s Time in the Gimma and in her second last time out in the Maid of the Mist Stakes on Empire Showcase Day. “Cutting back from the mile, I thought she definitely would be strong here at 6. She’s plenty fit and Mitch [Friedman, trainer] did a great job. She’s getting better every start and I really thought that we were home a winner.”

Tricky Temper gave Irad Ortiz Jr. the response he asked for to win Saturday’s Key Cents. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

Ortiz felt the same in midstretch as Tricky Temper continued to cut into a 1 1/2-length deficit in midstretch. They eventually wrested the lead inside the sixteenth pole and won by a neck. Cara’s Time finished 6 1/2 lengths clear of the Englehart-trained Unicorn Cake, with My Shea D Lady, Soloshot and Alley’s Song completing the field.

“She responded for me down the lane … that horse was a little bit better,” Davis said. “My filly, she’s very quirky and you’ve got to stay with her. She’ll drop you if you’re not paying attention to her. She ran great.”

Bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Lakland Farm and foaled at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson, Tricky Temper is the fourth foal out of the stakes-winning Any Given Saturday mare Winter Book. One of 17 New York-bred juveniles that sold for six figures at the OBS April sale, Tricky Temper is a full-sister to winner Mischief Mogul and a half-sister to winner Winter Wolf. A six-time winner and earner of $148,299, Winter Book is also the dam of New York-bred yearling filly by Gift Box.

Tricky Temper improved to 2-1-0 in five starts and earned $55,000 to boost her bankroll to $146,210.

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