Thursday, August 18, 2016


Tara’s Tango, the only Grade I winner in the line-up, having accounted for the Santa Margarita last March, put her class and versatility on display Wednesday with a come-from-behind triumph in the featured Grade III $100,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap.

Perfectly placed behind the swift pacesetters by jockey Martin Garcia,  Tara’s Tango rallied into the stretch to enter contention and take command  and then held off the fast-closing Enchanting Lady to win by a half-length in 1:15.60 for the six and one-half furlongs, a distance the filly had not competed at since December of 2015.

Enchanting Lady, piloted by Rafael Bejarano, finished a half-length in front of the surprising 35-1 longshot Coniah, who led in the stretch until overtaken by Tara’s Tango but five and one-quarter lengths ahead of fourth-place Pretty N Cool in the field of six older fillies and mares. Sensitively, the 2-1 favorite, was a faltering sixth and last. Finest City was scratched.

Tara’s Tango, a daughter of Unbridled’s Song owned by Stonestreet Stables and trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, scored her fifth win in a dozen starts and increased her bankroll to $738,004 with first prize of $60,000.

As fourth choice in the betting, Tara’s Tango returned $10.60, $4.80 and $4.20 after carrying topweight of 122. Runner-up Enchanting Lady paid $4.40 and $4, while Coniah returned $10 to show.

Jamie Theriot, competing on a regular basis at Del Mar for the first time, had  a saddle double, aboard Snow Cloud at $11.20 in the third and Out of the Ordinary at $13 in the sixth. Theriot had been riding on the Midwest racetrack circuit.

MARTIN GARCIA (Tara’s Tango, winner) -- “She was fresh today.  She was coming off that layoff (four months), but I’ve been getting on her in the mornings and she has been really doing well.  Dan Ward (trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s assistant who saddled the filly today) just told me to ride her with confidence. That was no problem. She’s a nice filly and she showed it today.”

RAFAEL BEJARANO (Enchanting Lady, second) – “She seemed to be struggling out there a little bit. She wasn’t pushing so well from behind.  I don’t know. Maybe she wants more ground.”

DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Coniah, third) – “She made a big move and then she just got late. She was slow to change to her right lead. Not her best day.”

DAN WARD (assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer) (Tara’s Tango, winner) “She’s versatile. She can sprint, route, show speed or come from out of it. This gives us options now if we want to run in the (Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare) Sprint or the Distaff. She’s 3-for-3 here and she’s just a good sprinter. The race unfolded as we expected. The horses that were supposed to show speed did and she was up there on her own. It didn’t look like they were going that fast, which allowed her to stay close. And you know she’s going to finish.”
(Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer flew to Saratoga today to supervise final preparations for Songbird in this weekend’s Alabama Stakes).

FRACTIONS  :21.87  :44.79  1:08.84  1:15.60  (Hand Timed)

The stakes win was the first of the meet for jockey Garcia and his first in the Rancho Bernardo.  He now has 25 stakes wins at Del Mar.

The stakes win was the first of meet for trainer Hollendorfer and his first in the Rancho Bernardo.  He now has 28 stakes wins at Del Mar.

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