10/16/2010 5:05PM

Eye of Taurus extends McLaughlin's hot hand in stakes by taking Athenia

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Eye of Taurus, ridden by Eddie Castro, gives trainer Kiaran McLaughlin his fourth stakes victory in the past two weekends by taking the Athenia.

ELMONT, N.Y. - One week after winning three stakes races out of town, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin enjoyed stakes success in his own backyard as Eye of Taurus scored a dominant three-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia Stakes at Belmont Park.

Mary’s Follies, the 2-1 favorite despite having been off for 11 months, rallied for second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Missit. She was followed in the order of finish by Strike the Bell, Miss Catalyst, Darjeeling, Giant Mover, Tottie, and Trix in the City.

The victory was the sixth from 19 starts and the second straight stakes victory for Eye of Taurus, a 4-year-old daughter of Aldebaran owned by Harvey Clarke.

The win comes one week after McLaughlin won the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby with Yankee Fourtune, the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup with Etched, and the ungraded $250,000 Gallant Bob with Bank Merger at Parx Racing.

“It’s nice to win here,” McLaughlin said. “It feels good.”

Under Eddie Castro, Eye of Taurus raced a close up fourth while Giant Mover, under David Cohen, got a clear lead through fractions of 26.05 seconds, 51.56, and 1:16.90.

Castro guided Eye of Taurus three-wide around the turn and into the stretch and she accelerated past Giant Mover at the pole and drew off for the easy score. Eye of Taurus covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.04 over soft turf and returned $13.60 to win.

“I got a nice position, I was behind two horses,” Castro said. “I waited until I came into the stretch and when I asked her she had a nice kick.”

Since Eye of Taurus had defeated Giant Mover in the Revidere Stakes at Monmouth last time out, McLaughlin was confident his filly would get past her again on Saturday despite Giant Mover’s soft early fractions.

“I always felt like she was traveling well, going nice so I wasn’t worried about it,” said McLaughlin, who credited his Monmouth Park-based assistant, Andrew St. Lawrence, for having Eye of Taurus ready to run. “We got by Giant Mover last time and I felt like we could get by her if she was traveling well and we were always traveling well.”

McLaughlin said he may consider the Grade 3, $100,000 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs for Eye of Taurus’s next start.