A 5-year-old daughter of Maria's Mon, Criminologist has earned three grade III victories in the past 12 months and her eight career wins are twice as many as anyone else in the field. The Shug McGaughey trainee has also won on the Belmont turf, that coming last year in the Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT). With all of this on her résumé, there is no wonder Criminologist was assigned top weight of 119 pounds and will likely go off as the favorite in the one-mile contest.
A homebred of Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable, Criminologist enters off a pair of off-the-board finishes in grade I competition. She was seventh, but only 3 1/2 lengths back of Ventura in the Just a Game Stakes June 7 at Belmont, and a well-beaten eighth in the Diana July 26 at Saratoga. Earlier this season she won the Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a half-length on the Aqueduct grass.
Edgar Prado will get the call on the Criminologist, who is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Search Party.
Capable of challenging Criminologist are a pair of Irish-bred 4-year-olds, Say You Will and Nans Joy. Owned by Godolphin, Say You Will has made all nine of her career starts over here with three wins and four runner-ups to show for it. The daughter of A.P. Indy is graded stakes placed twice this season, including a one-length defeat in the La Canada Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 10 on the Santa Anita Cushion Track. Two of her three career wins have come on the turf, including a half-length triumph in optional claiming company June 6 at Belmont. John Velazquez will ride for Saeed bin Suroor.
Unlike Say You Will, Nans Joy has never started on American soil. The In the Wings filly has made all 17 of her lifetime starts in Germany, Ireland, and England. She ships to Belmont less than a month after finishing fourth in stakes company at Bath and Somerset County.
Another European invader is Jean-Claude Rouget trainee Sefroua, who is the only 3-year-old in the field. The Kingmambo filly has won three of six starts in France and has been on the board in all of her efforts. Alan Garcia will be aboard.
Hickory Plains’ Trouble Maker won the one-mile Old Red Stakes Aug. 21 at Saratoga, the first black-type victory of her career. Trained by Tom Albertrani, Trouble Maker missed by only a neck June 25 in the Caress Stakes at Belmont.
$100,000 Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 6, 3:39 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Say You Will (IRE), 114, John R. Velazquez
2. Cozzi Capital (KY), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
3. Classic Neel (KY), 114, Shaun Bridgmohan
4. Nans Joy (IRE), 115, Rajiv Maragh
5. Trouble Maker (MD), 115, Eibar Coa
6. Criminologist (KY), 119, Edgar S. Prado
7. Waquoit's Love (MD), 115, Garrett K. Gomez
8. Sefroua (KY), 113, Alan Garcia
9. Chestoria (NY), 116, Channing Hill