12/26/2014 6:34PM

Sam's Sister overtakes Taris in La Brea

Benoit & Associates
With Elvis Trujillo aboard, Sam's Sister (left) outfinishes favored Taris to win the Grade 1 La Brea on Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Sometimes you have to give up something to get something, as Jerry Hollendorfer showed on Friday at Santa Anita with Sam’s Sister, who rebounded from her first loss to score the biggest prize of her career thus far by capturing the Grade 1, $301,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Sam’s Sister won her first three starts from July through October. At that point, Hollendorfer, who trains and is a co-owner of Sam’s Sister, decided her year-end goal would be the La Brea. He did not want to sit on her for more than two months, though, so he ran her at Del Mar in the only allowance that suited her eligibility.

It was on turf, the first time she had been on that surface, and at five furlongs, a furlong shorter than she had ever run. She broke poorly, and finished last. But it provided a bridge to the La Brea, and Sam’s Sister ($27) scored an upset by running down heavily favored Taris in the final strides to win by a half-length.

Taris, the 3-5 favorite, did all the dirty work, setting blistering fractions and putting away her pace rivals, but she could not hang on. She did finish 1 3/4 lengths in front of third-place Thank You Marylou, with Ramona’s Wildcat fourth.

Uzziel was fifth and was followed, in order, by More Complexity, Stonetastic, Jojo Warrior, and Amaranth.

Sam’s Sister, under Elvis Trujillo, completed seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:22.52.

Hollendorfer owns Sam’s Sister in partnership with Dr. Mark Dedomenico and George Todaro. He said he was worried when Sam’s Sister was sixth after a quarter-mile.

 “I wished she was closer, but it worked out, so I guess Elvis knew what he was doing,” Hollendorfer said.

Taris was making her first start since being purchased nearly two months ago at auction for $2.35 million. She ran too good to lose. Breaking from the inside, at a distance with a small run-up, she set splits of 21.85 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and :43.97 for a half with Uzziel and Stonetastic in closest pursuit, put those rivals away and was up by 3 1/2 lengths after six furlongs in 1:08.91, but got weary late.

Sam’s Sister, a daughter of Brother Derek, has now won four times in five starts. The La Brea was her stakes debut. She has sprinted in all five of her races so far.

If Hollendorfer elects to keep her around one turn, a race like the Grade 2, $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes going seven furlongs on Jan. 19 could be next. If she goes long, she would have to await the Grade 2, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes on Feb. 14.