Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and John Magnier's Taris finally got that elusive Grade 1 win on her resume when running away with Saturday's Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old daughter of Flatter skipped home 5 3/4 lengths in front of Stonetastic to stop the clock in 1:21.03 over the fast main track for trainer Simon Callaghan.
“There's a little bit of pressure with such a high purchase price, but she deserved it and she deserved it before this,” said Callaghan, who paid $2.35 million for the mare at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Sale. “We couldn't be happier. It was a perfect trip. We thought there would be speed up to the inside and we just got a nice, clean trip and it just worked out perfectly.”
Taris broke sharply alongside Stonetastic and then was taken back to several lengths off the pace by jockey Flavien Prat, saving her run for the end of the race. As expected, Stonetastic was sent out after the early lead, drawing away by just over two lengths down the backstretch through fractions of :22.19 and :44.95. The leader was tracked by Super Saver along the inside as Taris waited patiently just off that rival's flank, with Enchanting Lady biding her time from fourth. Race-favorite Wavell Avenue was in seventh early.
Entering the far turn, Taris made her bid for Prat, easily drawing alongside Stonetastic. The two were head-and-head at the top of the lane, but Taris had something left in the tank. Drawing away with an eighth of a mile to run, Prat hand-rode Taris to the wire, finishing about five lengths in front of her rivals. Stonetastic fought on gamely to hold second over Enchanting Lady, and Wavell Avenue settled for fourth after being forced very wide on the far turn.
“I had a good trip,” said Prat. “It was the trip I was hoping for. I was happy coming into the turn and the pace was what I wanted. When she turned for home, she was gone.”
Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, Taris was initially sold at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $90,000. After beginning her racing career with four wins, including one in the Gr. 2 Raven Run at Keeneland, Taris went through the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale in 2014. There, the well-bred filly out of Comedy (Theatrical) brought $2.35 million from Simon Callaghan as agent. Since that time, Taris has improved her career record to eight wins from 13 starts overall, including today's Grade 1 as her first top-level victory. Taris now boasts career earnings of $1.08 million.
“She just faded a little bit in her last race going a mile and an eighth,” Callaghan said, “and her better numbers were (going) shorter and we thought that earlier in the year would be the better time to stretch her out, but she's definitely better at this distance. We might stretch her back out a little bit; back in California the ($400,000) Vanity ((GI), June 4) is a mile this year. We might do that. We'll think about it, but there are lots of options. The Breeders' Cup (Filly and Mare Sprint (GI)) at the end of the year is the obvious goal.”
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