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ELMONT, NY – Ten Strike Racing homebred Critical Value returned to the track stylishly on Sunday, winning her 2020 debut in the $80,000 Bouwerie Stakes at Belmont Park.
Sent from the rail as the 4/5 favorite under Junior Alvarado, Critical Value sat off initially and watched as her Jeremiah Englehart stablemate Risky Mischief led a three-horse duel up front.
Continuing to save ground through much of the far turn, Critical Value tipped out to run four-wide near the top of the stretch and quickly took command after straightening for home.
Kicking away impressively once asked, Critical Value was geared down prior to even hitting the 1/16 pole. The bettors’ choice crossed 4 1/2 easy lengths clear of her fellow New York-bred sophomore fillies in a final time of 1:23.07 for the 7-furlong fast main track sprint.
“I got the one-hole, so I had to stay there for as long as I could,” Alvarado said. “I just tried to save a little bit of ground. I tried to give her the best chance I could without getting her tired. She hadn’t run in a while. By the time we hit the 5/16 (pole), I gave her a little reminder because sometimes she needs to get going, but once she got going, that was it. Once she puts up the run, you just have to hang on.”
Big Q was second ahead of Naked Avenger, with Risky Mischief and Courageous Girl behind them to complete the order of finish. Ilchester Cheetah was scratched.
Critical Value’s win came in her first start since finishing fourth in last December’s Demoiselle Stakes (G2) and improved her overall record to 5-3-1-0. The 3-year-old Bodemeister filly matured during her time away, according to her trainer, and was giving signs that she was ready to run first off the bench.
“She’s a lot better in the paddock,” Englehart said. “She’s filled out a little bit. She’s not a very big filly, but she’s a really nice filly.”
Critical Value returned $3.70 to win, $2.70 to place, and $2.10 to show. Big Q brought back $3.50 to place and $2.40 to show, while Naked Avenger paid $2.70 to show.
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