08/17/2016 8:31PM

Tara's Tango takes Rancho Bernardo Handicap

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Benoit & Associates
Tara's Tango and jockey Martin Garcia win the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap by half a length Wednesday.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Tara’s Tango returned from a four-month layoff to win her third stakes of 2016 in Wednesday’s $100,345 Rancho Bernardo Handicap for female sprinters at Del Mar.

The win will lead to a conversation in the near future between owner Barbara Banke and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer about Tara’s Tango’s schedule in the coming months. The win in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo opens the possibility that Tara’s Tango could start in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 4 or the BC Filly and Mare Sprint on Nov. 5.

“It gives us options if we want to run in the Sprint or Distaff,” said Dan Ward, Hollendorfer’s assistant. “Now, we can figure which direction to go in.”

Tara’s Tango ($10.60) closed from off the pace to win the Rancho Bernardo by a half-length over Enchanting Lady. She ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.60.

Tara’s Tango was ridden by Martin Garcia and was his first stakes winner since Cyrus Alexander’s victory in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 30.

Garcia had Tara’s Tango in fifth place on the backstretch, 1 1/2 lengths behind Sensitively, the 2-1 favorite who set a pace of 21.87 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.79 for a half-mile.

Garcia began urging Tara’s Tango on the turn and was third with a furlong to go. Tara’s Tango caught stretch leader Coniah in the final furlong and prevailed over Enchanting Lady, the 5-2 third choice.

Ward said he was content with Tara’s Tango’s position.

“The horse that was supposed to show speed, showed speed,” Ward said. “It didn’t look like they were going fast, and it allowed her to stay close. You knew she’d finish.”

Coniah, the longest shot in the field of six, finished third at 37-1.

Tara’s Tango, a filly by Unbridled’s Song, has won 5 of 12 starts and earned $738,004.

Tara’s Tango won the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes at 1 1/16 miles and the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational at 1 1/8 miles in February and March at Santa Anita.  Tara’s Tango was third in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park in April before she was given a break through the rest of the spring.

The Rancho Bernardo was Tara’s Tango’s first start in a sprint since a close third after a wide trip in the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita in January.