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New York draws International Class

ELMONT, N.Y. – Over the course of her racing career, Darley Stable’s five-year-old Criticism (GB) has proven herself to be not only versatile, but remarkably consistent. Having finished in the money in 16-of-18 lifetime starts both in the United States and abroad, the Machiavellian mare will try for her third straight stakes win in Saturday’s 66th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 New York for fillies and mares going a mile and a quarter on the inner turf at Belmont Park. The New York will be the third leg of a $350,000-guaranteed late Pick 4 on races 7-10.

“She’s been on a nice schedule,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “She’s been running about once a month, so the timing was right and she’s training well. She had a nice breeze on Sunday (5f, 1:02.52) and she’s doing as good as she was before.”

Having lined up two straight Grade 2 scores in the Sheepshead Bay at Belmont Park last month and the LaPrevoyante Handicap at Calder on April 25, Criticism should prove a daunting foe, particularly given her adaptable running style.

“She doesn’t have to be on the lead, but if it happens that way, she’s happy to be there,” said Albertrani after Criticism led gate to wire in the Sheepshead Bay on May 23. Jockey Javier Castellano has the mount from post position two.

One who has successfully challenged Criticism in the past is Swettenham Stud’s four-year-old Dress Rehearsal (IRE), who has two wins, one second and one third-place finish from four starts this year.

Most recently third in the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland on April 23, Dress Rehearsal rated off the pace in Grade 3 Orchid Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 22, eventually taking the lead from Criticism and drawing off to win by more than two lengths. Criticism was third that day, but in their previous meeting, the Very One Stakes at Gulfstream on February 22, Criticism was the two and one-half length victor.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will saddle both Dress Rehearsal and stablemate Dynaforce in the New York. The six-year-old Dynaforce finished fifth in her only start so far this year, the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico on May 16. Prior to that she ran eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in October. She finished second in last year’s New York to Mauralakana.

Also saddling two is trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who has entered Paul Pompa Jr.’s Backseat Rhythm and Team Valor International’s Colina Verde (BRZ), a multiple stakes winner in Brazil.

Backseat Rhythm has finished out of the money in her last two starts, but became a Grade 1 winner over Belmont’s turf course in September when she won the Garden City Stakes.

“She’s a quality filly and she’s training very well, but she needs pace to run at,” McLaughlin said. “They both do, so we just hope there’s a little pace in the race.”

Completing the field are Ronchalon Stable’s Belle Allure (IRE), a stakes winner in France, Andrew Rosen’s Icon Project, and Flying Zee Stables’ multiple-stakes winning I Lost My Choo. Daddie’s Girl Stable’s Borrowing Base and Team Valor International and Bailey Morris’s Winning Point are also eligible if the race is moved to the main track.


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