Taris triumphs in season debut in La Canada

January 16, 2016 03:06pm
Taris La Canada 615 X 400
Photo: Benoit Photo

Returning to the West Coast, 5-year old Taris completed a bicoastal exacta, taking Santa Anita’s Grade 2 La Canada Stakes in her 2016 bow about 2 months after winning the Grade 3 Go For Wand Handicap at Aqueduct.

Straight out of the gate, Illuminant utilized her rail post to go straight to the lead. Yahilwa and Taris were also sharp out of the gate and were followed by Birdatthewire and Oscar Party.

With Yahilwa hounding her every step, Illuminant and jockey Flavian Prat set reasonable splits. The opening quarter went in :23.93 and the half in :47.35. With 3/8-ths left to run, Taris put in her bid for the lead, followed by Birdatthewire. Way behind them, Oscar Party continued to lose touch with the other four fillies as nothing went right for her and jockey Santiago Gonzalez after he lost an iron and his left rein broke in the early stages of the race.

At the top of the stretch, Taris swept to the lead, but Birdatthewire, who had followed Taris around the track move for move, could not keep pace with the three leaders at that point. As Taris opened up on Yahilwa and Illuminant, Birdatthewire drifted back out to the middle of the track and continued to plug away.

At the wire, Taris had a 4-length advantage over Birdatthewire, who re-rallied to take second. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile event was 1:44.38 over a fast track. Yahilwa headed Illuminant at the wire.

Winning jockey Gary Stevens said, “It was a perfect trip. It set up, the fractions were realistic and when Mike came up on the outside of me going into the far turn the pressure really picked up.” He continued, praising trainer Simon Callaghan, “Simon has done such a good job settling her down, the question was if she could go long and she proved it today. She’d only tried going long one time but she’s always felt, to me, that she could go long.”

Oscar Party was pulled up at the top of the stretch and walked off by an outrider. A steward’s inquiry into the start of the race ruled that no other runner was responsible for Oscar Party’s troubles.

Drayden Van Dyke, who was aboard runner-up Birdatthewire, had a less than ideal trip. “I was completely taken out by Santiago (Gonzalez, on Oscar Party, whose rein broke going into the first turn). I didn’t know what was happening at first. He came flying by me, which made my horse get really rank. Poor Santiago though, it wasn’t his fault but I got stuck outside of him and he was way out there.”

“If that hadn’t happened, I would have been sitting perfect, right in behind the four that were up front; I would have been cruising,” Van Dyke explained.

Van Dyke then went on the reference Birdatthewire’s strange stretch tendencies. “I think the only difficult part about riding Birdatthewire is down the lane. She likes being out in the middle of the track but you’ve just got to let her do her thing,” he said.

Honey Ride and Tara’s Tango were scratched prior to the race.

As the even money favorite, Taris paid $4.00/$2.60/$2.10. Third betting choice Birdatthewire, 7-2, returned $3.40/$2.20, and second choice Yahilwa returned $2.10. The $1 exacta paid $5.10, the $1 trifecta returned $7.60 and the $1 superfecta was worth just $14.70.

Winning trainer Simon Callaghan was pleased with the new dimension Taris showed in her victory. “Definitely (it was a new dimension in not going to the lead). It was nice for her to do it,” he said. “I was a little anxious down the backside when she just took hold of the bridle a little bit. She’s such a smart filly, she just dropped it and relaxed. I kind of knew there were no worries about the distance. I think the one time she ran this distance (sixth in the Honeybee at Oaklawn Park March 8, 2014), she got hurt after that race. It wasn’t a true reflection.”

“Todd Beattie who trained her before told me she would stretch out,” Callaghan continued. “She’s kind of an adaptable mare and like I said, she’s just a good, classy filly. Gary knows this filly, not quite as good as me, but almost. I left it to him. It was one of those races with five runners where I didn’t know where the pace would be. I thought someone might try to take us on, so we just left it to Gary to see how the race unfolded.”

By Flatter and out of the Theatrical (IRE) mare Comedy, Taris is owned by Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith and John Magnier. She was purchased on the trio’s behalf for $2,350,000 out of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky 2014 November Sale by current trainer Simon Callaghan. Prior to that, Commonwealth New Era Racing bought Taris for $90,000 as a yearling at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.  Now in her fourth racing season, the 5-year old mare has a career record of 11: 7-1-2 for total purse earnings of $807,700.

Taris’s next race will likely be the 1 1/8-mile $500,000 Grade 1 Santa Margarita on March 19.



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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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