By Francis LaBelle Jr.

Throughout Saturday’s 52nd running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap, Darley Stable’s Criticism looked like a horse in a hurry.

Inside early, she appeared almost too keen and she had to back out of trouble. She even found herself pinned down on the rail.

But when she finally got the room she needed in the lane, the 4-year-old, Great Britain-bred daughter of Machiavellian kicked clear to win the 1 ½-mile Aqueduct turf event by a length over J’Ray in 2:29.76.

In only her second start of the year and her first since running second to Sunshine for Life in the Grade 3 Athenia at Belmont Park on October 11, Criticism seemed anxious in Aqueduct’s paddock and was revved up early in the race, as Sunshine for Life set a pokey pace of 25.88, 51.23, 1:15.69 and 1:41.19 on the firm course.

Jockey Javier Castellano, however, managed to put Criticism in behind horses and that seemed to make his mount relax.

“I realized that the pace was slow and it was a long trip,” Castellano said. “I rode her in the French style – covered up – and put her right behind horses. Behind the three-eighths pole and the quarter-pole, when I found a spot, she gave me a good kick. I had a perfect trip.”

Criticism returned $10.40, and will likely be heading south for the winter.

“She definitely improved off her last race,” said winning trainer Tom Albertrani. “She had been off for 10 months, and we tried to get a race earlier than (the Athenia). But she ran exactly the way I was hoping to see. It all worked out beautifully. We knew there was not a whole lot of speed, and I told Javier (Castellano) to let her fall out of there and not do anything. He said that once she got behind horses, she settled in well. We’ll ship her to Florida and try to work out a schedule.”

Astrologie, part of the favored coupling with Shake the Moon, ran third, followed by Sunshine for Life, Hostess, Shake the Moon, Marzelline, La Hernanda and Sentimental Union.