Odds-on favorite Criticism notched her fourth graded stakes victory in a little more than six months, taking a short field of fillies and mares wire-to-wire in the $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Stakes (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) May 23 on the Belmont Park turf.
An English homebred racing for Darley, 5-year-old Criticism has been sensational since shipping to the U.S. and being placed in the barn of Tom Albertrani. The daughter of Machiavellian—Innuendo, by Caerleon has recorded blacktype wins beginning with the Long Island Handicap (gr. IIIT) last November at Aqueduct. She followed with a triumph in The Very One (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park, and most recently, the La Prevoyante (gr. IIT) April 25 at Calder Race Course.
In the 1 3/8-mile Sheepshead Bay, Criticism broke sharply from post 3 under Javier Castellano and took her rivals around the turf course in splits of :24.92, :50.52, 1:15.01 and 1:39.37 for a mile. Brushwood Stables’s Musha pressed the pace the whole way and was the closest to the leader as the field turned for home. But Criticism had plenty left in the tank for the stretch drive and coasted to the wire 2 1/4 lengths the best.
“That’s kind of the way we thought the race would unfold," Albatrani said. "There wasn’t a whole lot of speed in there. She doesn’t have to be on the lead, but if it happens that way, she’s happy to be there. We’ll look next at the race here about a month from now (New York Handicap, gr. IIT, June 27).”
The final time on the firm turf was 2:13.96. Mushka held on for runner-up, a nose in front of Caprice.
Sent off as the 4-5 choice in a field of only six, Criticism returned $3.60, $2.50 and $2.10. The exacta (3-5) paid $11.80 and the trifecta (3-5-7) was $66.
Criticism began her racing career in France where she won four of 12 starts for trainer Henri-Alex Pantall. She was brought to the U.S. last fall and made her debut in the Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT), where she finished runner-up by a half-length.
Now with a 8-5-3 record from 18 starts, Criticism has earned $553,367.