11/19/2007 12:00AM

Criminologist caps McGaughey's big day

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Reed Palmer Photography
Criminologist and John Velazquez win the Cardinal, giving Shug McGaughey two stakes wins Saturday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Shug McGaughey has been known to win races in bunches, so it was deja vu all over again Saturday when Criminologist captured the Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs shortly after the Hall of Fame trainer had won the Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct with Hunting.

Criminologist, with John Velazquez in from New York to ride, had little trouble in winning for the fourth straight time. She made a sweeping move on the final turn and quickly disposed of seven rivals in the $164,550 Cardinal. She paid $5 as the favorite after finishing 2 1/2 lengths clear of Argentina in the 1 1/8-mile turf race.

McGaughey stayed in New York while dispatching assistant Pam York to Churchill for the Cardinal, which like the Stuyvesant carries a Grade 3 ranking. Argentina, an Irish-bred mare making her final career start, finished another 2 1/2 lengths clear of Nottawasaga as the 2-1 second choice.

Jade Queen set the early pace in the 34th running of the Cardinal while Velazquez made sure that Criminologist did not become trapped. Racing comfortably for the first half-mile or so, Criminologist began gaining steadily while widest, and by the time the field hit the quarter pole she was nearly abreast of Jade Queen.

"It worked out really good," said Velazquez. "I got her to the three-eighths pole and put her in the space where I wanted to be, and waited until the eighth pole and waited for Argentina to see where she was. When I asked her, she responded right away."

Criminologist, a 4-year-old filly by Maria's Mon, has blossomed since McGaughey began racing her on the grass early this year. She is owned by Stuart Janney III and the Phipps Stable. Janney is the sole owner of Hunting. Criminologist will race again next year and will soon head to south Florida, according to McGaughey.

In earlier Saturday races:

* Junior College ($20.40), ridden by Jesus Castanon, was a five-length winner of the $62,720 Bet on Sunshine as the longest shot in a field of seven older sprinters. Tony Reinstedler is the trainer of Junior College, a 5-year-old gelding who led throughout in winning the six-furlong race in 1:08.82. Coach Jimi Lee finished last of seven as the 2-1 favorite.

* Elite Squadron ($10) pressed the pace before drawing clear to win a $54,040 allowance sprint under Calvin Borel. Trained by Jimmy Baker, Elite Squadron finished 1 3/4 lengths clear of Demarcation in winning the 6 1/2-furlong race in 1:15.94.