Darley Stable’s homebred Criticism took advantage of soft early fractions en route to a wire-to-wire one-length victory in the $150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) April 25 on the Calder Race Course turf.
It was the third graded stakes win since November for the 5-year-old Machiavellian mare, who tallied her first grade II score. She is trained by Tom Albertrani.
Sent off as the odds-on choice against just four fillies and mares going 1 1/2 miles, Criticism broke from post 4 and went straight to the front under Javier Castellano. She was unpressured in the early going through pedestrian fractions of :26.02, :52.03, and 1:17.89.
As they made their way on to the far turn, Astrologie worked her way along the hedge to challenge the pacesetter with Joe Bravo aboard, coming onto nearly even terms. But Castellano asked for more and Criticism began opening up her lead approaching the quarter-pole. She had a three-length advantage at the eighth-pole and was only mildly pressured in the late stages by Long Approach. The bay mare stopped the clock in 2:05.09 on a turf course labeled "firm."
Augustin Stable’s Long Approach was a clear second under Kent Desormeaux, 1 1/4 lengths better than third-place Icon Project, who rallied well from last.
“The key to her winning today was in the first quarter of a mile," Castellano said. "I knew if I could get her relaxed right out of the gate she would be there at the finish. I just tried to keep her going along as evenly as possible after that and it went according to our plans.
"We did get a little bit of pressure down the backstretch from Astrologie, but I just let my mare do enough to not give up our position without using her up too soon and, as you can see, she had a lot left in the stretch.”
Criticism, bred in England and out of the Caerleon mare Innuendo, entered the La Prevoyante off a third-place finish in the March 22 Orchid (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park, one start after winning The Very One (gr. IIIT) over the same course. She closed out her 4-year-old campaign Nov. 1 with a victory in the Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct.
Now 7-5-3 from 17 starts, Criticism has earned $463,367.
"She was able to control (the pace) with a half in 52 and was much the best," Albertrani said. "We’re headed back to New York and the Diana at Saratoga may be the goal. It’s a grade I. We’ll try to make a schedule that works backwards from there.”
The winner paid $3.80, $2.40, and $2.10. The exacta (4-2) returned $14.40 and the trifecta (4-2-3) was worth $42.60.