12/22/2014 9:29AM

Taris tries to take La Brea for new connections

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Taris will make her first start for trainer Simon Callaghan in the Grade 1, $300,000 La Brea Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The prior connections of Taris parlayed a runaway victory in the Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 18 into a $2.35 million payday two weeks later when she was sold at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale. The new connections of Taris are hoping she continues to pay dividends, beginning in the Grade 1, $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Friday at Santa Anita.

Taris was purchased by the Coolmore principals of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and John Magnier, and turned over to trainer Simon Callaghan, who bought her on their behalf. It was a massive amount of money for a daughter of Flatter who has won 4 of 5 starts but never has won, let alone competed in, a Grade 1 race. But since arriving in Southern California, Taris has turned in a sharp series of works for her first local start.

“She’s done really well,” Callaghan said the other morning at Santa Anita. “She’s shown us a lot of exciting things in the morning. She’s really, really talented.”

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Taris has scored overpowering wins the four times she has won; the smallest margin was 5 1/2 lengths. In the Raven Run, she won by nine lengths while earning a dazzling Beyer Speed Figure of 110, a career best.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 1 Taris. Trainer Simon Callaghan is 14-6-1-1 with a $3.92 ROI over the past year in sprints following a layoff of 45 days or more.Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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“It was a freakish performance,” Callaghan said.

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Among those vanquished by Taris in the Raven Run was Thank You Marylou, who finished third that day and then was third two weeks later in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. She has shipped in from Florida for her second straight start here and for a rematch with Taris.

Also making a return visit is Stonetastic, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in her last start.

A field of 10 was entered in the La Brea, which goes as race 6 on the nine-race card.

La Brea Stakes


Taris (Last 3 Beyers: 110-102-74)

◗ She was a different filly this fall after returning from a six-month layoff, scoring a pair of wins while earning Beyer Figures in excess of 100. The only other horse in the field who has ever cleared the 100 mark is Stonetastic.

◗ Taris is unbeaten sprinting, and two of her wins came at seven furlongs, including the Raven Run. Her lone loss came in her only try around two turns.

◗ She will be breaking from the rail for the first time in her career, not usually an ideal spot in a large field going seven furlongs here.

Thank You Marylou (Last 3 Beyers: 87-87-92)

◗ She was well beaten by Taris in the Raven Run, then made a decent run to finish third against a pair of older runners in the Breeders’ Cup. Joel Rosario will ride her for the first time.

Stonetastic (Last 3 Beyers: 85-89-108)

◗ She didn’t seem to have an excuse in the Breeders’ Cup, in which she made the lead over a surface seemingly kind to her front-running style.

◗ She has never won beyond six furlongs, so perhaps this distance is a bit beyond her range. But the lure of a Grade 1 restricted to 3-year-old fillies is worth another attempt.

Jojo Warrior (Last 3 Beyers: 90-88-92)

◗ Her best races have been around two turns, but they also have been her three most-recent starts, so she just might be getting better regardless of distance. She won the Summertime Oaks – formerly the Hollywood Oaks – here in June, and was third last time out behind Untapable and Sweet Reason in the Cotillion at Parx.

Awesome Baby (Last 3 Beyers: 80-82-78)

◗ Idle since March, she won a pair of stakes here earlier in the year, including the Santa Ynez, her only prior race sprinting on dirt.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 4 Awesome Baby. Trainer Bob Baffert is 24-9-7-2 with a $4.52 ROI over the past five years going from route to sprint on dirt following a layoff of 180 days or more.Click for more details. Mike Hogan