Taris brings stellar form into Santa Margarita stretch out

Profile Picture: James Scully

March 16th, 2016

A top female sprinter the past two seasons, Taris had little difficulty recording her first two-turn victory in the 1 1/16-mile La Canada (G2) on January 16, rolling to a 5 ¼-length decision. The 5-year-old mare will attempt to carry her outstanding form forward while stretching out an extra furlong in Saturday’s $500,000 Santa Margarita (G1) at Santa Anita and the Simon Callaghan trainee figures to leave the starting gate as an overwhelming favorite with Gary Stevens.

A winner in seven of 11 starts, including five stakes tallies, Taris finished a close third as the 5-1 third choice in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Keeneland in late October. The well-traveled daughter of Flatter rebounded with a 2 ½-length score in the Go for Wand (G3) at Aqueduct a month later and notched her first Santa Anita stakes win last time.

Tara’s Tango is another well-regarded distaffer trying 1 1/8 miles for the first time. A three-time stakes runner-up last year, including a nose second over the track in the Summertime Oaks (G2), the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained filly just missed when opening her 4-year-old season in the 7-furlong Santa Monica (G2) on January 23, finishing a neck third. The gray returned to two turns with a half-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Maria (G2) on February 13, and Tara’s Tango will add blinkers and a new jockey in Rafael Bejarano.

Penwith ships west for Kiaran McLaughlin following her first stakes win in February 13 Royal Delta (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Mike Smith picks up the assignment on the 5-year-old.

Rounding out the seven-horse field is multiple Grade 2 queen Living the Life, third in the Santa Maria most recently; Lavender Chrissie, who will make her first start since capturing the Zia Park Oaks in late November; and All Star Bub and Moyo Honey, a pair of last-out allowance/optional claiming winners at Santa Anita.

Taris winning the La Canada courtesy of Benoit Photos