05/07/2016 3:08PM

Taris lands elusive Grade 1 victory in Humana Distaff

Barbara D. Livingston
Taris pulls away to her first Grade 1 victory in the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Simon Callaghan can finally let go of last November’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Callaghan thought Taris was the best horse in last year’s Filly and Mare Sprint, but she encountered traffic trouble along the rail in the stretch and finished third, two lengths behind Wavell Avenue.

Though Taris had won 2 of 3 starts since, she was still searching for her first Grade 1 victory entering Saturday’s $300,000 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs.

The search is over.

Receiving a clean outside stalking trip under Flavien Prat, Taris took over the Humana Distaff in upper stretch and drew off to a 5 3/4-lenth victory over the pacesetting Stonetastic. It was two lengths back to Enchanting Lady, while Wavell Avenue finished fourth.

The victory was the eighth in 13 starts for Taris, who earned $178,560 to surpass the $1 million mark in career earnings. She had previously won two Grade 2s and two Grade 3s, but finished second in the Grade 1 La Brea in 2014 and second in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita going 1 1/8 miles last time out.

“She deserved it and she deserved it before this,” said Callaghan, who bought Taris for $2.35 million on behalf of the Coolmore connections of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and John Magnier out of the Fasig-Tipton sale in 2014. “I felt she was the best filly in the Breeders’ Cup, she drew the one hole and just had a real tough trip. This time, she sat outside, and it just worked out perfectly.”

Taris was three-to-four wide down the backstretch while Stonetastic set fractions of 22.19 seconds for the quarter and 44.95 for the half-mile while being pursued by Super Saks.

Approaching the quarter pole, Taris ranged up around Stonetastic and took command straightening away down the lane.

Taris, a 5-year-old daughter of Flatter, covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.03 and returned $8.40 as the 3-1 third choice.

“I had the trip I wanted, she ran huge,” Prat said. ‘’Turning for home, when she switched leads she was gone.”

Wavell Avenue, the 2-1 favorite, finished fourth, beaten 8 1/4 lengths.

“I was happy with the trip, he split horses and tipped her out, and she just ran even down the lane,” said Chad Brown, trainer of Wavell Avenue. “It doesn’t look like many horses are closing from too far back on the track, but with that said, she still ran just even down the lane, a bit flat, so just take her back to New York and evaluate her.”

Callaghan said he may try to stretch Taris out in distance again with the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps, a one-turn 1 1/16-mile race on Belmont Stakes Day, among the possibilities. But, Callaghan said, the season-end goal is the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita.