Updated on 09/16/2011 8:47AM

Critical Eye on million-dollar mark


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - In what will likely be her final career start, Critical Eye will try to put the icing on a fine career in Sunday's $75,000-added Montauk Handicap at Aqueduct.

Critical Eye, who will be bred to Deputy Minister early next year, would need to finish third or better in the restricted Montauk to become a millionaire earner. She enters the race with $991,591 in career earnings.

Trained by Scott Schwartz and owned and bred by Schwartz's father, Herbert, Critical Eye meets New York-breds for the first time since October 2000. Since then, she has run in 20 open company races, including seven Grade 1 stakes.

Critical Eye, a 5-year-old New York-bred champion, faces eight others in the 1 1/8-mile Montauk, including last year's winner, Lovely Amanda.

Princess Dixie, a multiple restricted stakes winner, also has been entered.

The Montauk is the final stakes run on the main track until March. inner track is scheduled to open on Wednesday.

Critical Eye, a winner of four allowance races this year, was entered main-track-only in the $150,000 Long Island Handicap last month, but the race remained on the turf and she had to scratch.

"I thought she would have got the [million] in there," Scott Schwartz said. "It's a number thing right now. She's a two-time Grade 1 winner, so it would be nice to add millionaire to that. The class should come out of her even though she is carrying a bit of weight. I would think there would have to be a reason if she didn't finish one, two, or three."

Critical Eye, a late-runner with a single win in eight starts at Aqueduct, packs top weight of 124 pounds. Mike Luzzi rides from post 9.

Lovely Amanda, who won a division of the New York Stallion Stakes on the turf in her last start, scooted home a 7 3/4-length winner in last year's Montauk. Before Lovely Amanda won the Montauk, trainer Todd Pletcher thought he had a middle-distance runner on his hands.

"We stretched her out and it turned out to be the biggest race she has ever run," Pletcher said. "Hopefully, she can duplicate that effort."

John Velazquez rides Lovely Amanda from post 8.

Princess Dixie, the only 3-year-old in the field, finished second in her last start, beaten five lengths by graded stakes winner Dat You Miz Blue in the Iroquois at Belmont Park on Oct. 19. Trained by Jim Bond, Princess Dixie carries 115 pounds and will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan.


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