Coming four-wide into the stretch, Criminologist kicked into another gear after hitting the eighth-pole, first passing Factual Contender, and then running down longtime leader All Is Vanity in the 1 1/16-mile test. Her final time on a course labeled “firm,” was 1:41.44.
A daughter of Maria's Mon, Criminologist won for the fifth time in her last six starts. Her lone setback was in her season debut earlier this month at Keeneland, when she returned from a 4 1/2-month layoff to take second in allowance company. That effort proved to be a perfect tuneup for the Beaugay, which was her third graded stakes score for trainer Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey.
All Is Vanity finished second under Alan Garcia, followed by Factual Contender, Sweet Ransom, and Just Little.
Making her second start on American soil, Christophe Clement trainee All Is Vanity broke to the early lead and nearly took it wire-to-wire. The 4-year-old Gold Away filly posted comfortable fractions of: 24.08, :48.02, and 1:11.49. She led by a length heading into the stretch, with Factual Contender on her heels.
But Velazquez timed his run perfectly under Criminologist and had plenty of room to run down the leaders in the final furlong.
A Kentucky homebred out of the Seeking the Gold mare Search Party, Criminologist won for the eighth time in 17 starts. She ended her 4-year-old campaign with a pair of graded stakes victories, the Oct. 13 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont and the Nov. 17 Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
Going off as the 8-5 favorite, Criminologist paid $3.70, $2.50, and $2.10. The exacta (5-2) returned $11.20.