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ELMONT, NY – Ten Strike Racing homebred Critical Value will make her 2020 debut at a familiar location when she enters Sunday’s $100,000 Bouwerie Stakes at Belmont Park.
The Bouwerie is a 7-furlong main track sprint for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies. This year’s edition attracted a field of six.
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Critical Value finished second by a nose on debut at Saratoga last August against fellow Big Apple natives, then returned three weeks later to win going away at the same level. Next, she put on a dazzling 5 1/2-length romp in the Maid of the Mist Stakes, a 1-mile jaunt over the local strip on October 19 that earned her a shot in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) against open company.
She finished fourth in that 1 1/8-mile test going two turns at Aqueduct, defeating the eventual Busher Invitational Stakes winner Water White. Trainer Jeremiah Englehart gave her time away to grow and develop before entering her here.
“I figured that she would be a one-turn mile or one-turn mile and 1/16-type of filly,” Englehart said. “Maybe her last race was a little far. She’s doing well and training well at Belmont. That and Saratoga both seem to be her surfaces of choice.”
Here is a look at the full field for the Bouwerie:
1. Critical Value (6/5) – Back-to-back impressive efforts against her own kind earned her a shot against open company in the Demoiselle, though based on her trainer’s comments, that was likely too much distance. She should enjoy cutting back to a one-turn sprint, but her big question mark is how strongly she will fire after going unraced since December.
2. Ilchester Cheetah (6/1) – Her 5 wins from 10 starts are made all the more impressive by the fact that none of those victories came against New York-breds. Her lone start facing her own kind was a dull effort in her second career start, but she seems to have flourished since then and will be the one to catch as the field turns for home.
3. Naked Avenger (8/1) – She started her career strongly, winning her debut before taking the Joseph Gimma Stakes over this course and distance against her own kind. She failed to find success in her 3 subsequent starts, though the latter 2 came against much tougher open company fields at Gulfstream Park, so perhaps returning to New York will help right the ship.
4. Risky Mischief (3/1) – A 7 1/2-length runaway winner on debut at Saratoga, she left the state-bred waters for the ultra-tough Spinaway Stakes (G1), where she was soundly defeated. Unraced since that September 1 event, she must overcome the long layoff, but the talent that she flashed in her unveiling is hard to forget.
5. Courageous Girl (10/1) – It took her 6 starts to break her maiden, but she seems to be finally heading in the right direction as she prepares for her ninth competitive event. She has been absent since finishing second in the Maddie May Stakes against New York-breds in late February, an effort that earned her a career-best 74 Beyer speed figure.
6. Big Q (7/2) – After winning her debut at Saratoga in mid-July, she finished off the board in two subsequent stakes starts before getting the job done in last November’s Key Cents Stakes. Hall of Famer John Velazquez is aboard for the second straight time after piloting her to a runner-up finish in her most recent start, the Franklin Square Stakes at Aqueduct in mid-January.
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