06/16/2009 11:00PM

Criticism can handle soft turf

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Criticism will go for her third consecutive Grade 2 stakes win in Saturday's New York.

ELMONT, N.Y. - A Grade 1 victory is the only thing missing from Criticism's resume. But before she attempts to check that off her list later this summer, Criticism will shoot for her third consecutive Grade 2 stakes win when she heads a field of eight entered to run in Saturday's $250,000 New York Stakes at Belmont Park.

Criticism, a 5-year-old daughter of Machiavellian, enters the New York off a pair of front-running victories in the La Prevoyante and Sheepshead Bay. Both of those races were run on firm turf. The New York figures to be run on soft or good ground. Criticism finished third in the Grade 3 Orchid run on good ground at Gulfstream, but trainer Tom Albertrani said he believes the pace scenario did his filly in during that race more than the surface.

In the Orchid, Albertrani felt Criticism moved too soon when chasing a hot early pace. Though three of Criticism's four stakes wins in the United States have come on the front end, she also won last year's Grade 2 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct from off the pace.

There is likely to be some pace in this field with the presence of Dynaforce, who was beaten a neck in this race last year. Dynaforce, trained by Bill Mott, will be making her second start of the year after a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Galorette at Pimlico on Preakness Day.

"We'll let her fall out of there and run her own race,'' said Albertrani, who has Javier Castellano to ride from post 2 under high weight of 123 pounds.

Albertrani said he would likely freshen up Criticism after this race with an eye toward the Grade 1, $750,000 Beverly D. at Arlington at 1 3/16 miles on Aug. 8.

Dynaforce is one of two horses Bill Mott entered in the New York. Dress Rehearsal, who beat Criticism in the Orchid is the other. Dyanforce and Dress Rehearsal will run uncoupled in the wagering.

Two of the eight horses entered in the New York - Icon Project and I Lost My Choo - were also cross-entered in Saturday's All Along Stakes at Colonial Downs. Phil Serpe, the trainer of I Lost My Choo, said he would prefer to run in New York, but said his horse is unlikely to run at all given the fact that the turf course is likely to be soft.

Borrowing Base and Winning Point were both entered in the New York in the unlikely event that the race is rained off to the main track.

Smooth Air targets Salvator Mile, Whitney

Smooth Air, second to Bribon in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, is being pointed to the Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park on July 4 as a prep for the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga on Aug. 8, trainer Chad Brown said Wednesday.

Brown took over the training of Smooth Air from Bennie Stutts the day after the Met Mile primarily because owner Brian Burns wanted to keep the horse in the Northeast. Smooth Air has worked twice since the Met, including a five-furlong drill in 1:01.72 on Sunday at Belmont.

"We're going to do something more serious with him over the weekend and get a good gauge at where we're at with him,'' Brown said.

Brown also has an unraced 2-year-old half-sister to Smooth Air named Heirness, who on Wednesday worked four furlongs in 49.46 seconds.

"She looks like she's going to be quick,'' Brown said. "Not a big filly, she's pretty small actually, but handles herself pretty well. I think she's going to be ready right around the time when Saratoga is starting.''

Saratoga opens on July 29.

Meanwhile, Brown's top 2-year-old from last year, Maram, had her second work of the year on Sunday, going four furlongs in 49.14. Maram, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, is targeting the 3-year-old stakes at Saratoga that begin with the Grade 2, $150,000 Lake George on July 31.

"I still don't know if we're going to get a race before Saratoga or not,'' Brown said.

Marketing Rachel

Co-owner Jess Jackson's announcement Wednesday that Rachel Alexandra would make her next start in the Grade 1 Mother Goose here on June 27 gives the New York Racing Association more than a week to promote the race.

And promote it they shall.

According to Neema Ghazi, NYRA's director of marketing, several things are in the works to alert fans of Rachel Alexandra's New York debut. Ghazi said an e-mail blast will be sent out to 50,000 fans in the Tri-state area, promoting the race. Ghazi said there will be free admission to all women on Mother Goose Day, and there will be a giveaway of 10,000 pink bracelets with Rachel Alexandra's name on them.

Ghazi said NYRA hopes to have a presence on both of New York's sports radio stations, as well as several advertisements in Long Island-based newspapers and an online presence on the industry's three major trade websites.

NYRA.com will soon launch something called Rachel's Sandbox, which will offer lifetime past performances as well as video links to her races. It will be similar to Curlin's Corner, which NYRA used last year to promote Curlin's three races in New York.

Last year, a crowd of 6,184 attended the races the day the Mother Goose ran with four horses. The Mother Goose shared billing with the Grade 1 Suburban. This year it is a stand-alone event.

In more ways than one.

* When Lemon Shore won Wednesday's fifth race, it was the 36th career victory for trainer Randi Persaud, but first on the turf. Persaud had gone winless with his previous 47 starters on the grass.