01/04/2004 12:00AM

McLaughlin and Migliore strike again

Millennium Dragon holds Political Attack safe to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Appleton Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park on Sunday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is back at Gulfstream Park for the first time in 15 years while his go to rider, Richard Migliore, is spending the winter 1,200 miles away in New York. But the obvious logistical problem hasn't stopped the potent trainer-jockey combination from winning two graded stakes in the space of just eight days, their latest success coming on Sunday with Millennium Dragon in Gulfstream Park's Grade 3, $100,000 .

McLaughlin and Migliore teamed up last week to win Calder's Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap from just off the pace with Volga. They used a slightly different strategy but got the same results in the one mile Appleton with Millenium Dragon setting all the pace before ultimately turning back a game Political Attack through the stretch to register a 1 1/4-length victory. Proud Man, the tepid 7-2 favorite in a field of 12 grass specialists, rallied from tight quarters around the second turn to finish third.

Jockey Rene Douglas who rode Political Attack lodged an objection against the winner alleging interference leaving the backstretch but the claim of foul was disallowed.

Millenium Dragon, a 5 year old son of Mark of Esteem, paid $10.20 after covering the distance in 1:34.40 seconds over a firm turf course.

"We were really excited that Richie could come down to ride because he gets along with this horse so well and he deserves a lot of credit for the victory," said McLaughlin who last spent the winter at Gulfstream as an assistant to trainer D.Wayne Lukas in 1988. "This worked out well because obviously there wasn't much pace in the race and it always works out better when you have things your own way. It worked out perfectly today and a mile hits him right between the eyes."

McLaughlin said he will consider the Canadian Turf Handicap on Jan. 31 for Millenium Dragon's next start.

"I'd love to be here the whole time but my life is pretty good being in New York and home with the family all winter," said Migliore. "And by being able to come down and ride these kind of horses for Kiaran gives me the best of both worlds."