Updated on 01/30/2014 10:13AM

Dick Jerardi: Todd Beattie willing to travel with talented Taris

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Taris is now 2 for 2 after winning the Wide Country Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Laurel Park.

Trainer Todd Beattie usually does not leave his Penn National base unless he thinks he has a horse who is very live. So, when Taris, a 2-year-old filly, showed up at Aqueduct on Dec. 21 to make her debut, it should not have been a complete shock that she ran off the screen, winning by nearly 12 lengths and getting an 88 Beyer Speed Figure.

In 2013, Beattie started 81 horses out of town. He had 22 wins, 9 seconds, and 15 thirds. He won another 45 races at Penn from 171 starters.

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Taris was nearly 4-1 in that debut. She ran like 1-4. She was 1-5 when Beattie brought her back in the $100,000 Wide Country Stakes at Laurel Park last Saturday. She ran like 1-5, winning by 5 1/2 lengths. Her Beyer (72) was not nearly as impressive as that debut, but she was impressive, winning with complete ease. Penn National regular Clinton Potts has ridden the filly in both starts.

“It was a pretty simple race,” Potts said. “I had some pressure early in the race and I was a little concerned because the track was deep, but this horse handles everything right. Todd deserves great credit for getting this horse ready because she does everything just like an older horse. Her career is definitely going to go far.”

Taris was purchased for $90,000 at the 2012 Keeneland fall sale. She has already won $102,000, with the promise of much more.

“She just continues to impress me,” Beattie said. “I’m going to go south with her and try to avoid this cold weather, freshen her up a little bit at my sister Holly’s farm in Ocala. The logical spot to run her back would be the one-turn mile [at Laurel] on March 8,” in the Caesar’s Wish Stakes, “but we’ll have to see how the weather and all plays out.

“I love to run in this region. I’m stabled at Penn year round and I like the way I get treated when I come down here, but I have the option in Florida to stay there and run.”

Taris was not the only impressive 3-year-old to run on that Laurel card that featured four stakes.

Extrasexyhippzster won the one-mile, $100,000 Miracle Wood by nearly four lengths and got his second straight excellent Beyer. The colt got a 93 when he won a stakes at Aqueduct and 92 for winning the Miracle Wood.

Extrasexyhippzster’s trainer, Mike Trombetta, is no stranger to good 3-year-olds. It was 2006 when he sent out Sweetnorthernsaint as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. The horse finished second to Bernardini in the Preakness.

“I’m extremely pleased with this performance,” Trombetta said of Extrasexyhippzster. “You hope that everything turns out perfect the way a race develops but rarely does it. This was so impressive the way he rated behind all that speed. He was kind to Julian [Pimentel] the whole way. When he found that spot at the top of the lane I was very impressed with the way he went forward.

“This time of the year you start trying them a little further to see if they’re going to be able to get the longer distances and for me today he passed the test. I don’t know where I’ll run him back, but the obvious is to continue to add distance and two turns.”

Black not retired, still winning

When he won race 5,200 last spring, Parx Racing-based jockey Tony Black announced his retirement. That lasted until Pennsylvania Derby Day on Sept. 21, when he took a mount. He does not take many rides, but he does take a few and only those that are quite live.

That was Black, 62, winning the What a Summer Stakes at Laurel on Winning Image. It was win No. 5,205 and the eighth stakes win for Winning Image.

“She has natural speed,” Black said. “She’s as quick as some of the better horses I have ridden like Dave’s Friend and My Juliet.”

Black is talking about two of the fastest horses of the 1970s and 1980s. My Juliet won an Eclipse Award as champion sprinter. And Dave’s Friend should have won at least one, if not more.