03/26/2004 12:00AM

Four sent to McLaughlin


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Eye of the Tiger was one of four horses previously based with trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in northern California who have been transferred by owner John Gunther to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

McLaughlin also picked up 3-year-old fillies Wildwood Flower and Bending Strings, as well an unstarted 3-year-old. All four horses are currently stabled at Keeneland, but McLaughlin said Eye of the Tiger could run next in the Grade 1, $350,000 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 10.

Winner of the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap last June, Eye of the Tiger finished fifth in last year's Kentucky Derby and ran second in the Lexington Stakes. Eye of the Tiger was also beaten four lengths or less in races such as the Swaps, King's Bishop, Malibu, and Strub. In his most recent start, Eye of the Tiger finished fifth, beaten six lengths, in the Grade 2 San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita on March 7.

"He's a very nice horse," McLaughlin said. "He ran in the King's Bishop, and they ran so fast and he was real wide and was still only beaten four lengths. He's a very nice horse who has been running against some really nice horses. [Carter contenders] Ghostzapper and Strong Hope would be more nice horses to run against. We'll get started with him sometime soon and see where we're at."

Wildwood Flower won the Piedmont Stakes at Golden Gate as a 2-year-old and finished third to A.P. Adventure in the Santa Ysabel Stakes on Jan. 4. She took on colts in the El Camino Real Derby on

March 13 and finished fifth. Wildwood Flower could make her next start in the Stonerside Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland on April 8.

Bending Strings finished second against males in the Golden State Mile Stakes on Feb. 8 before finishing last in the Fair Grounds Oaks. Plans for her are uncertain.

Don Six could join Carter field

Don Six, who finished third in the Toboggan Handicap on March 13, would have been a good fit in Sunday's classified allowance race. But Don Six's connections said they felt that race was too close to his last start and are thinking of running him in the Carter.

"We'll nominate and see," said Stacey Parker, assistant to trainer Frank Generazio. "Congaree's not coming; Strong Hope's not here yet. If you finish third for $350,000, hello! He's won over the track over there. You'd hate not to nominate and then kick yourself in the butt."

Though he is only 1 for 5 over Aqueduct's main track, Don Six has run well here. He was second in the Bay Shore and fourth, beaten less than two lengths, in the Withers.

Duncan retires - sort of

New York Racing Association starter Bobby Duncan, who has worked on the starting gate for the last 37 years, has retired. But, through a deal with track management, he will continue to work as the starter for eight months out of the year.

Duncan, 56, will work as the starter on a regular basis, from April 1 through December 1. The other four months of the year, Duncan will work as a consultant with tracks in and out of the United States.

"My pension was fully vested, and I was thinking about retiring completely, and then after speaking with management we worked out a deal," Duncan said. "I created a business doing consulting for part of the year. From December 1 to April 1, I'll be doing these other things with this company that I've created. From April 1 to December 1, I'll be doing what I've always done."

In the four months he is not at NYRA, Duncan will work with gate crews at other tracks on "problem-solving" techniques. On Friday, Duncan was at Payson Park, where he conducted a two-day clinic. He worked two days at a track in Barbados and will soon be working at Indiana Downs, a track in Shelbyville, Indiana.

For the four months Duncan is not in New York, the starter will be Richard Brosseau, who has worked as an assistant starter for 25 years.

* Aqueduct will offer wagering on Sunday's $500,000 Winstar Derby from Sunland Park. Post time for the Winstar Derby is 5:40 p.m., an hour after Aqueduct's last live race.