Taris outclasses them in Rancho Bernardo comeback

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

August 16th, 2015

Going into Sunday's $100,500 Rancho Bernardo (G3) at Del Mar, the only question about Taris was how sharp she'd be off her injury-induced layoff. The answer? Razor-sharp, and ready to be a prime player in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

Taris, purchased for $2.35 million at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November, had raced only once for her new Coolmore connections and trainer Simon Callaghan. The 3-5 favorite in the December 26 La Brea (G1), she appeared well on her way to a rousing success before faltering late. She was nabbed by Sam's Sister in the final strides, suffering her first loss in a sprint.

The reason was soon forthcoming: Taris exited the La Brea with a non-displaced condylar fracture. The injury required ankle surgery to repair, and the daughter of Flatter didn't return to the worktab for six months. Although she worked regularly ever since then, and even fired a bullet five furlongs in :59.40 here August 2, you can't be entirely sure until they race again.

That's what made the Rancho Bernardo such a treat. Not only did Taris win, but she scored easily as much the best filly in the race -- which she certainly was, as the deserving even-money favorite. Under considerate handling by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, she received the ideal comeback that should set her up well for bigger targets.

Taris tracked 23-1 longshot Wasted at Midnight through fractions of :22.59 and :45.39, disposed of the pacesetter entering the stretch, and drew off by 2 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:15.31 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

Baruta, a multiple Brazilian Group 1-placed mare who'd won her past two for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, was put in her place in second. Uzziel was a fairly even third, while Wasted at Midnight tired to fourth, and Sam's Sister was a non-threatening fifth of seven.

Taris has now won five of seven starts, all at different tracks. Aside from the La Brea, her only other loss was a fifth when trying two turns in last year's Honeybee (G3). Otherwise, she's been utterly dominant. Initially trained by Todd Beattie, the bay romped by 11 lengths in her debut over Aqueduct's inner track, by 5 1/2 in Laurel's Wide Country S., by 7 3/4 lengths in an allowance on the Presque Isle Tapeta, and by nine in the Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland.

The Raven Run put her on the national map, since she set a track record of 1:21.32 on the new Keeneland dirt. The immediate result was her commanding seven figures in the Fasig-Tipton auction ring. The long-term implication, however, is for the Breeders' Cup: the Filly & Mare Sprint will be held over the same track and trip as the Raven Run.

Photo courtesy of Benoit.