10/31/2008 11:00PM

Criticism builds on her last

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Criticism cruised to a one-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - In three weeks, Criticism made up for a lost 10 months.

Making the step forward her connections were hoping for from her runner-up performance in last month's Athenia Handicap, Criticism took over in upper stretch from pacesetting Sunshine for Life and cruised to a one-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct.

J'ray, well back early, rallied for second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Astrologie, part of the 3-2 favored European entry trained by Andre Fabre.

It was the fifth victory from 14 starts for Criticism, a 4-year-old daughter of Machiavellian owned and bred by Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum's Darley Stable. But it was her first win since taking a listed stakes in France 13 months ago. Criticism was making just her second start this year. Trainer Tom Albertrani said he had Criticism ready to run during the summer, but couldn't find the appropriate race.

Albertrani ran her in the Athenia at Belmont on Oct. 11, knowing the 1 1/16 miles was too short for her, but hoping she would improve off the second-place finish to Sunshine for Life.

"She ran exactly the way I was hoping to see," Albertrani said. "The Athenia was the race we were looking to come forward with and bring her to this race today; it all worked out beautifully."

After saving ground and racing behind horses for more than a mile, Criticism was taken off the inside by jockey Javier Castellano midway around the far turn. Turning for home, Criticism set sail after Sunshine for Life, who had run one mile uncontested in 1:41.19, passed her well before the eighth pole and was never seriously threatened by J'ray.

Criticism covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:29.76 over firm ground and returned $10.40 as the second choice.

"I had a perfect trip," Castellano said. "I saved all the ground the best I could in the race; I keep following horses, keep tracking - that's important in a mile and a half race. I put her there until I found my spot. When I squeezed her a little bit, she took off."

Criticism was a little exhausted after the race and needed to be hosed down for several minutes before she was led to the test barn.

Albertrani said Criticism would likely make her next start during the Gulfstream meet.

Owner Charles de Moussac said both Astrologie and Shake the Moon, who finished sixth, would remain in this country and be turned over to trainer Christophe Clement.