Bluegrass Princess, Eye of Taurus win at Keeneland

Oct 23, 2009 - 10:44 PM LEXINGTON, Ky.(AP) -- Bluegrass Princess and Eye of Taurus gave jockey John Velazquez and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin a sweep of the two division races in the Grade III $125,000 Pin Oak Valley Stakes on Friday.

With a Keeneland stakes race divided into two races for the first time in 10 years, Bluegrass Princess took a clear lead with a furlong left to run in the first division contest for 3-year-old fillies and covered the 1 1-16 miles on turf in 1:47.

"She's had some great races, but hadn't gotten her head in front on the turf," said Neal McLaughlin, who is the assistant for his brother Kiaran. "She loved the ground today."

Bluegrass Princess paid $16.20, $7 and $3.80, and earned $75,000 for Frank Justice's Dell Ridge Farm. Single Solution finished two lengths back and returned $11.80 and $5.20, and Kiawah Cat paid $3.40.

Eye of the Taurus had to work harder for her victory, as she outran Miss Keller down the stretch to prevail by a head in 1:46.49.

"It worked out well for us," said McLaughlin. "(Velazquez) really rode a perfect race. We talked about the race, and we were looking for a ride similar to Bluegrass Princess: stay off the rail a bit."

Eye of Taurus paid $28.80, $14.80, and $8.20, and earned $75,000 for Harvey Clarke. Miss Keller paid $9.40 and $6.40. Keertana finished third and paid $2.40.

The last time Keeneland split a stakes race was during the 1999 Fall Meet, when Pratella and Mingling Glances each won a division of the Bryan Station Stakes.

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