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Breeders' Cup 2017

Eye of Taurus Easily Wins Athenia

Eye of Taurus picked up her second consecutive stakes victory by virtue of her easy triumph in the Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia on Saturday at Belmont Park.

 

Entering the race off a success in the Revidere at Monmouth on September 11, Eye of Taurus bided her time in fourth through a half in 51.56, began a steady advance midway on the turn, and drew away when roused by Eddie Castro to prevail by three lengths over Mary’s Follies.

 

“I got a good position behind the front-running horses,” said Castro. “When I hit the top of the stretch and asked her, she gave me a nice kick. She ran big today, like she did last time at Monmouth.”

 

Eye of Taurus, winner of the Grade 3 Valley View at Keeneland last fall, returned $13.60 for a $2 win wager as the 5-1 fourth choice in the Athenia, her first start in New York since April 2009. The 4-year-old daughter of Aldebaran covered 1 1/16 miles over the soft inner turf in 1:47.04.

 

“My assistant, Andrew St. Lawrence, had her all summer at Monmouth, and he’s done a good job,” said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Eye of Taurus for Harvey A. Clarke. “She likes it soft, and she ran big. We’re happy that Eddie Castro came to ride. It always looked like she was traveling well. She does well in the fall.”

 

Bred in Kentucky by T. Wayne Sweezey and Patrick Lawley-Wakelin, Eye of Taurus improved her record to 6-3-3 from 19 starts and earned $60,000 to boost her bankroll to $309,630.

 

Rick Dutrow, who trains the runner-up and beaten 2-1 favorite Mary’s Follies, was pleased with his filly following the Athenia, her first race following a victory in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs last November.

 

“It worked out very well for us, except for not winning, but I am not at all disappointed,” said Dutrow. “It was her first time against older fillies, plus it was a slow pace, her first time over the course and she was coming off a long layoff.”

 

Missit, who finished 4 ¾ lengths behind the winner, edged Strike the Bell by a head for third, with Miss Catalyst, Darjeeling, Giant Mover, Tottie, and Trix in the City completing the order of finish. Exquisite, Way With Words, and main-track-only entrant McVictory were scratched.

 

 

 

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