Eye of Taurus, a 13-1 shot, stole the second leg of the $125,000 Pin Oak Valley View (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO), giving trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and jockey John Velazquez a sweep of both divisions of the Oct. 23 feature for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland.
The Valley View, a 1 1/6-mile event on the turf, was split into two races earlier in the week when it drew such a high level of interest. Full fields were entered for each of the two races.
In the second division, which went as race 9 on the card, Eye of Taurus stalked the pace under Velazquez while Afternoon Stroll set the pace. She advanced on the turn, took a short lead with a furlong remaining, and dueled with Miss Keller through the stretch. The game winner prevailed by a head in a final time of 1:46.49 over a yielding turf course.
Miss Keller was 3 1/4 lengths better than 2-1 favorite Keertana for runner-up.
A daughter of Aldebaran—Ocean Shore, by Silver Hawk, Eye of Taurus was making her stakes debut in the Valley View. She won for the fourth time in 10 starts in 2009 and was entering off a sharp second-level allowance score at Monmouth Park, where she is based. The bay filly is owned by Harvey Clarke.
Eye of Taurus broke her maiden in her second start of the season in February at Laurel Park and raced seven times at Aqueduct and Monmouth since—both on grass and the main track. Overall, she is now 3-1-0 from five starts on grass.
Bred in Kentucky by T. Wayne Sweezey and Patrick Lawley-Wakelin, Eye of Taurus was a $170,000 Keeneland September 2007 yearling sale purchase. She has now earned $181,430.
The winner paid $28.80, $14.80, and $8.20. The exacta (8-10) was $299.20 and the trifecta (8-10-6) returned 1,996.40.
In the first division of the Valley View (VIDEO), which went as race 7, Dell Ridge Farm’s Bluegrass Princess also notched her first stakes score at odds of 7-1 when she stalked the lead, made her winning move on the turn, and took a clear lead into the stretch under Velazquez.
A daughter of Dynaformer—America America, by Mister Baileys, Bluegrass Princess was never seriously challenged in the stretch and went on to win by two lengths. The final time was 1:47 flat over the yielding turf.
Single Solution nosed out Kiawah Cat for second under James Graham.
Bluegrass Princess, bred in Kentucky by Highclere, had been winless in her last four starts prior to the Valley View, including a seventh-place effort in the Riskaverse Sept. 3 at Saratoga. She last won in an allowance event on the Keeneland Polytrack in April for her only other triumph of the season.
Overall, Bluegrass Princess is 3-1-4 from 12 lifetime starts with earnings of $202,275.
The winner paid $16.20, $7, and $3.80. The exacta (7-2) was $244.40 and the trifecta (7-2-6) returned $1,044.20. Even-money favorite Silver Reunion finished eighth out of nine.