07/03/2008 11:00PM

Lucky Island takes command in Tom Fool


ELMONT, N.Y. - With depth in his sprint division, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has the luxury of picking and choosing the best spots for his horses.

In the case of Lucky Island, McLaughlin is perfect in 2008.

Lucky Island won his fourth consecutive race on Friday, taking charge soon after the start under Alan Garcia and rolling to a 4 1/4-length victory over favored Tasteyville in the Grade 2, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont Park. It was one length back to Premium Wine in third. Starforaday finished fourth, followed by Council Member. Not for Money scratched.

Because Lucky Island is not Breeders' Cup eligible, he was only eligible for 60 percent of $150,000, meaning he earned $90,000.

Lucky Island added the Tom Fool to victories in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler at Belmont, and allowance wins at Aqueduct and Gulfstream. All four wins have come since McLaughlin put the 4-year-old son of Lucky Roberto on Lasix after he bled in his North American debut at Calder last December.

McLaughlin said the key to Friday's victory was the decision by Garcia to seize command of the race right from the start. Lucky Island ran an opening quarter in 22.84 seconds, and a half-mile in 45.37 while being stalked by Tasteyville. Tasteyville got to Lucky Island's throatlatch approaching the quarter pole, but Lucky Island kicked away from him in upper stretch and bounded home an easy winner over a sealed, muddy racetrack.

Lucky Island, owned by Shadwell Stable, covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.73 and returned $5 as the 3-2 second choice.

"The key was the first 100 yards," McLaughlin said. "He broke so well and went on; great move by Alan. We thought [Tasteyville] might clear us."

In addition to Lucky Island, McLaughlin also has Abraaj for Shadwell. Abraaj was beaten just one-half length in the Grade 2 True North on Belmont Stakes Day. Abraaj will be pointed to the Grade 2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on July 26 while Lucky Island will make his next start in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga on Aug. 30.