Jockey Edgar Prado rides Criticism for trainer Tom Albertrani in the 11-furlong turf test for fillies and mares as she makes her first start since capturing the 12-furlong Long Island on Nov. 1 after a runner-up effort in the Athenia Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park. Those were her only two starts last year.
Jockey Eibar Coa rides Backseat Rhythm for trainer Patrick Reynolds, Jr. in the bulky field of 14 drawn for The Very One. A daughter of El Corredor, Backseat Rhythm makes her first appearance since a game second-place performance in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 11 after capturing the Garden City Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in her previous start.
Sunday’s race is wide-open with another contender certain to draw support in Aston House Stud’s 5-year-old English-bred Lamentation, to be ridden by Rene Douglas for trainer Christophe Clement, who has won The Very One here six times, including last year with ranking division leader Mauralakana.
A homebred daughter of Singspiel, Lamentation raced with mixed success in Italy until joining Clement’s stable in New York last summer and finishing fourth in the Glens Falls Handicap (G3) at Saratoga in her American debut. In two starts in South Florida this winter she finished third in the La Prevoyante Handicap (G2) at Calder in mid-December and won an allowance race over the Gulfstream course last out on Jan. 9.
Completing the field for Sunday’s race are Live Oak Plantation’s Snow Cone, Swettenham Stud’s Dress Rehearsal, Three Chimney Racing’s Callwood Dancer, Bentley Smith’s Lady Carlock, Darley Stable’s Sea Chanter, Kamal Fustok’s Leap in the Sun, Christopher Wright’s High Heel Sneakers, Augustin Stable’s Long Approach, Lael Stable’s Lookalike, Ivan Dalos’ Avie’s Tale and Joseph Higgins’ Laguna Plateada.