03/22/2009 12:00AM

Albertrani rides hot streak to Orchid


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The student beat the teacher when trainer Tom Albertrani's Criticism defeated Bill Mott's Dress Rehearsal last month in the Grade 3 The Very One Stakes. On Sunday, the same pair will go at it again in a field of eight long-winded filly and mare turf specialists in Gulfstream Park's $150,000 Orchid, a 1 1/2-mile turf race.

Albertrani, who worked as an exercise rider and assistant to Mott for nine years before embarking on a successful training career of his own, is in the midst of an incredible hot streak. Albertrani has won eight stakes since the first of the year, with five of those victories coming at Gulfstream, including The Very One.

Criticism began her career in France but has really flourished since being transferred to Albertrani's barn last season. After finishing second in her U.S. debut in the Grade 3 Athenia, Criticism stretched to 1 1/2 miles to win the Grade 3 Long Island in her 2008 finale before returning to win the 1o3/8-mile The Very One by 2 1/2 lengths after being allowed to set a pedestrian pace.

"That might have been the first time she's ever been on the lead, but there was no pace and she just pulled herself there," Albertrani said. "She's a filly who will put herself anywhere she's comfortable, and I think if she just runs the same type of race she's run for us so far, she should be tough again."

Albertrani's only real concern in the Orchid is Criticism's propensity to get a little nervous before and even after her races.

"She gets a little stressed out sometimes," Albertrani said. "She was a lot better here the first time than at Aqueduct, so hopefully it won't affect her Sunday."

Albertrani also said he doesn't make too much of his head-to-head encounters with Mott, his former boss.

"Bill and I have had our turns back and forth over the years," Albertrani said. "But it sure looks like his filly is definitely the one to beat again Sunday."

Dress Rehearsal encountered early trouble in The Very One before rallying from midpack to finish second, nearly two lengths in front of Grade 1 winner Backseat Rhythm. The effort was the best yet for Dress Rehearsal, a steadily improving Irish-bred who owns victories at distances ranging from 1 1/8 miles to 1 7/16 miles.

Lamentation, fifth in The Very One, will seek to give trainer Christophe Clement his seventh win in the Orchid.