Taris captures La Canada

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Jen Caldwell

January 17th, 2016

Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith and John Magnier’s Taris scored her second straight graded victory on Saturday when running away with the $196,250 La Canada S. (G2) by 5 1/4 lengths under jockey Gary Stevens.

Illuminati set the early pace of :23.93 and :47.35 while Taris tracked in third alongside Yahilwa. The latter two drew even with the leader rounding the turn, then Taris gradually drew off to stop the clock in 1:44.38 for 1 1/16 miles over Santa Anita Park’s fast main track.

Birdatthewire rallied for second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Yahilwa, who in turn managed to run down Illuminati to take third by a half-length. Oscar Party’s reins broke and the bay mare was pulled up.

Taris competed four times last year and bookended wins in the Rancho Bernardo H. (G3) and Go for Wand H. (G3) with third-place efforts in the L.A. Woman S. (G3) and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

Taris opened her career in 2013 with an 11 3/4-length score at Aqueduct, then would go on as a sophomore to set a new track record at Keeneland in the Raven Run S. (G2). The Kentucky-bred bay also captured the Wide Country S. and finished second in the La Brea S. (G1).

Saturday’s win improved Taris’ record to 11-7-1-2 and she’s banked $807,700 lifetime.

Taris photo courtesy of Benoit Photos


Gary Stevens, jockey Taris, winner: “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.

“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.

“She reminds me of Beholder. She has the same tendencies, the same high cruising speed and they’re both very intelligent. She deserved this today.”

Simon Callaghan, trainer Taris, winner: “Definitely (it was a new dimension in not going to the lead). It was nice for her to do it. 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. 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.

“I think we’ll wait for the ($500,000) Santa Margarita (G1) in March (19).”

Drayden Van Dyke, jockey Birdatthewire, second: “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. I would love another shot at riding her; it’s a shame that today turned out like it did because I think she would have run much closer to Taris.

“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.”