Eye of Taurus picked up her second consecutive stakes victory by virtue of her easy triumph in the $100,000 Athenia Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) Oct. 16 at Belmont Park.
Entering off a victory in the Revidere Stakes at Monmouth on Sept. 11, Eye of Taurus bided her time in fourth through a half-mile 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 favored 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.”
Winner of the Valley View (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland last fall on yielding ground, the 4-year-old filly also found the soft Belmont inner turf to her liking in the 1 1/16-mile Athenia. The daughter of Aldebaran covered the distance in 1:47.04.
She returned $13.60, $5.80, and $3.90 as the fourth choice.
“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 has earned $309,630. She is out of the Silver Hawk mare Ocean Shore.
Rick Dutrow, who trains the runner-up and beaten 2-1 favorite Mary’s Follies, was pleased with his filly, who was making her first start following a victory in the Mrs. Revere (gr. IIT) 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 3/4 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.