Herbert and Carol Schwartz's Critical Eye is entered in the $150,000, 1 3/8-mile Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Belmont Park inner turf course Saturday. The 5-year-old Dynaformer mare won last year's renewal of the race, which was switched off the turf and run on a muddy main track.
Last year Critical Eye romped to a 7 1/2-length over four fillies and mares after two rivals were scratched due to the surface switch. She comes into this year's renewal out of a 1 1/2-length victory in an allowance switched off the turf course following a fourth-place finish in the Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. III) in her seasonal debut. The two-time grade I winner has won two of five career starts on turf.
Sweetest Thing and Mot Juste are the 119-pound co-highweights. Canadian-bred Sweetest Thing romped to a 3 1/2-length win in the 1 1/2-mile Bewitch Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland in April. Sweetest Thing closed from off the pace to win the Bewitch under Mark Guidry, who will also ride the 4-year-old daughter of Candy Stripes Saturday.
"He took her off the pace and she ran a better race," trained Roger Attfield said. "She's got a high cruising speed with a great kick."
Mot Juste will be making her first start since finishing 12th in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) last October while trained by Edward Dunlop. The 4-year-old daughter of Mtoto is now trained by Saeed bin Suroor.
"She shows she's an excellent filly," said Tom Albertrani, assistant to bin Suroor. "She was fourth in the English Oaks and second in the Irish Oaks. Those are the two best races you could run a 3-year-old filly in over there. It's just hard to get a line on her until we see how she runs here."
The Sheepshead Bay field will consist of:
1--Tweedside, John Velazquez, 114
2--Sweetest Thing, Mark Guidry, 119
3--Kentucky Rose, Jean-Luc Samyn, 114
4--Golden Corona, Richard Migliore, 114
5--Refugee, Jorge Chavez, 114
6--Mot Juste, Javier Castellano, 119
7--Steiners Baby Girl, Ramon Dominguez, 112
8--Peanut Gallery, Jose Espinoza, 113
9--Owsley, Jose Santos, 113
10--Critical Eye, Mike Luzzi, 113