02/22/2009 12:00AM

Criticism wires field in The Very One


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.- Trainer Tom Albertrani hasn't been going directly from the paddock to the winner's circle after saddling horses in stakes races here this winter. But it might not be a bad idea with the success he's had during the opening seven weeks of the meet.

Albertrani posted his fourth stakes victory of the 2009 Gulfstream session when Criticism set a dawdling pace before cruising to an easy 2 1/2-length victory over Dress Rehearsal in Sunday's $100,000 The Very One Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf.

If he didn't leave for the winner's circle after saddling Criticism, Albertrani probably could have started making his way down once the 2-1 favorite was allowed to set a 51.24 pace for the opening four furlongs of the 1 3/8-mle The Very One. Jockey Edgar Prado backed the field down to a 1:17.30 split for six furlongs, then had plenty in the tank when he roused Criticism for the drive. Criticism easily drew off from the pack to record her second straight Grade 3 win.

Dress Rehearsal, squeezed back in the pack early, rallied belatedly along the rail to finish second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Backstretch Rhythm.

Criticism returned $6 after covering the distance in 2:12.00 over the firm course.

"We knew there wasn't much speed in the race and I wasn't surprised she was in front," said Albertrani, who trains Criticism for the Darley Stable. "My main concern was that she'd settle and relax."

About the only problem Criticism did have was after the race, as she appeared in some distress walking back to the barn.

"She did the same thing after the race in New York," said Albertrani. "But once we get her back to the barn and cool her out she should be fine."

Albertrani said Criticism would likely return in the Grade 3 Orchid on March 22.