Million Mark in Critical Eye's Sight

(From track report)
Critical Eye, a multiple Grade I winner, is scheduled to make the final start of her career in the $75,000 Montauk, a New York-bred restricted race for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 mile.

The Montauk is the final main track stakes race in New York for 2002.

Nine fillies and mares were entered in the Montauk and Critical Eye will carry 124 pounds as the high weight.

Critical Eye, a 5-year-old, enters the Montauk with earnings of $991,591. A top-three finish in the race will make her the newest member of racing's millionaire club.

"We could have run her in the Memories of Silver stakes on Wednesday and carried less weight, but she's a New York-bred and I would love to end her career with a win in state-bred company," trainer Scott Schwartz said. "Plus, I figured the competition would be a little easier in this race.

"I really want to get her over the million dollar mark. She's really been good to everyone associated with her."

That would include jockey Mike Luzzi, who reflected after working the mare in a five-furlong breeze Monday.

"I realized that that would probably be the last time I would breeze her," Luzzi said. "She's been very good to me. I'm really going to miss her."

A daughter of Dynaformer, Critical Eye has made 20 consecutive starts versus open company, seven of which were Grade I races. Back in September of 2000, she notched the first Grade I win of her career when getting up in the last few yards of Belmont's Gazelle.

Months later, she'd notch another prestigious win, only this time it was in Belmont's Grade I Hempstead Handicap.

"A horse has done enough when they've won one Grade 1," Schwartz said. "She's got two of them. The money is secondary. I'm really proud of what she's accomplished on the track."

Critical Eye, who is scheduled to have a date with Deputy Minister some time next year, has won four races this year, all against allowance company.

Robert Pierz's Lovely Amanda is the defending Montauk champion and is taking the same turf-to-dirt route that produced her near eight-length romp in this race a year ago. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Lovely Amanda most recently prevailed a half-length winner of the restricted Perfect Arc stakes on November 10.

$75,000-added Montauk Handicap (NY breds), fillies & mares, 1 1/8 mile
1 Along Came Mary, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 116
2 Princess Dixie, Shaun Bridgmohan, 115
3 Any Scoop, Aaron Gryder, 113
4 Indy Glory, Richard Migliore, 115
5 But, Heberto Castillo Jr., 112
6 Smooth Blues, Ariel Smith, 112
7 Textbook Method, Jorge Chavez, 115
8 Lovely Amanda, John Velazquez, 118
9 Critical Eye, Mike Luzzi, 124