Tarnawa Gives Legendary Weld a Maiden BC Win in the Turf

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Tarnawa | Coady

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Trainer Dermot Weld, widely regarded as the pioneer of traveling horses, has accomplished most everything there is to accomplish in this business, winning the 1990 GI Belmont S. with Go and Go (Ire) (Be My Guest) and the G1 Melbourne Cup twice with Vintage Crop (Ire) (Rousillon, 1993) and Media Puzzle in 2002, to name just a few of his considerable achievements.

The latter was a son of Theatrical (Ire), trained by Weld for Bert and Diana Firestone to a runner-up effort in the 1985 G1 Irish Derby before finishing a low-odds 11th to Pebbles (GB) (Sharpen Up {GB}) in the second running of the GI Breeders' Cup Turf at Aqueduct. Ironically, under the care of Bill Mott, Theatrical would go on to just miss to Manila (Lyphard) the following year at Santa Anita before going one better at Hollywood Park in 1987.

From the previous 35 runnings of the Breeders' Cup, Weld had saddled 16 horses without a winner. But in the course of 150 seconds on a sunsplashed Central Kentucky Saturday, Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal) put pay to that streak with a commanding defeat of the boys at Keeneland.

Last-out winner of the G1 Prix de l'Opera over easy ground at ParisLongchamp in early October, Tarnawa dropped out to near the tail of the field as Channel Maker (English Channel)–making his fourth appearance at the Breeders' Cup–led the way early, as expected, from 2019 runner-up United (Giant's Causeway). The Aga Khan homebred was ridden patiently by two-time champion Irish jockey Colin Keane–replacing the COVID-19-stricken Christophe Soumillon–as they passed halfway in a pedestrian 1:15.99, and still had only one beaten as the field hit the three-eighths marker, with Channel Maker still bossing things from the front.

The Ontario-bred increased his advantage when United appeared to take an awkward step at the 2 1/2-furlong pole and, given the pace dynamics to that point, appeared a serious threat to lead them all the way. But, leaving nothing to chance and knowing how much he had underneath him, Keane allowed Tarnawa to circle some seven or eight wide off the final turn and she stormed down the center of the course to score handily. Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), the Turf runner-up in an epic battle with Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) in the bog at Churchill two years ago, raced in the second flight of horses, but was beaten to the punch by the winner and settled for a battling second. Channel Maker held admirably for third.

“It's thrilling to win this race, it doesn't really get any bigger,” the trainer's son Mark commented. “It's been a long time since 1990 when my father first won the Belmont with Go and Go and it's kept going ever. Instructions-wise, we left it to Colin. He's not champion Jockey of Ireland for nothing. He took over from the late great Pat Smullen, who we miss terribly here today and I really must mention him. I also must mention Christophe, who had done so brilliantly on her in Paris as well.”

A maiden from three starts at two, Tarnawa was three times a winner at group level last season while finishing 11th in the G1 Investec Oaks. Saved for a second-half campaign this term, she resumed from an October absence to defeat Cayenne Pepper (Ire) (Australia {GB}) in the G3 Give Thanks S. at Cork Aug. 8 and made her two most recent appearances at ParisLongchamp, carrying Soumillon to a victory in the G1 Prix Vermeille Sept. 1 and to a neck defeat of the talented Alpine Star (Ire) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) and Filly & Mare Turf heroine Audarya (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) when last seen in the Opera.

Tarnawa is the fourth runner to carry the Aga Khan green-and-red to victory in the Turf, joining inaugural winner Lashkari (GB) (Mill Reef); 1999 hero Daylami (Ire) (Doyoun {Ire}, campaigned in partnership with Godolphin; and 2000 victor Kalanisi (Ire) (Doyoun {Ire}). All were homebred winners.

Pedigree Notes:
Tarnawa–somewhat surprisingly–becomes the first Breeders' Cup winner for her globally successful stallion (by Giant's Causeway), who was euthanized at Darley's Kildangan Stud this past April. Tarnawa's dual stakes-winning dam was out of Irish highweight Tarakala, who won the Listed Galtres S. at York and was placed in the G3 Noblesse S. at Naas, each over 12 furlongs. One of 26 top-level, 77 graded/group and 150 overall black-type scorers for Shamardal, Tarnawa has an unraced 2-year-old half-brother named Tazaral (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) and a weanling half-sister by Siyouni (Fr).

Saturday, Keeneland
LONGINES BREEDERS' CUP TURF-GI, $3,680,000, Keeneland, 11-7, 3yo/up, 1 1/2mT, 2:28.02, fm.
1–TARNAWA (IRE), 123, f, 4, by Shamardal
1st Dam: Tarana (Ire) (SW & GSP-Ire, $141,525), by Cape Cross (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Tarakala (Ire), by Dr Fong
                3rd Dam: Tarakana, by Shahrastani
O-HH Aga Khan; B-His Highness the Aga Khan's Studs S.C. (IRE);
T-Dermot K. Weld; J-Colin Keane. $2,080,000. Lifetime Record:
MG1SW-Fr & MGSW-Ire, 14-8-2-2, $2,868,503. Werk Nick
Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Magical (Ire), 123, m, 5, Galileo (Ire) (Ire)–Halfway To Heaven
(Ire), by Pivotal (GB). O-Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier &
Derrick Smith; B-Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt (IRE); T-Aidan
O'Brien. $680,000.
3–Channel Maker, 126, g, 6, English Channel–In Return, by
Horse Chestnut (SAf). ($57,000 RNA Ylg '15 KEESEP).
O-Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable & Reeves
Thoroughbred Racing; B-Tall Oaks Farm (ON); T-William I.
Mott. $360,000.
Margins: 1, NO, 1 3/4. Odds: 4.70, 2.10, 9.10.
Also Ran: Lord North (Ire), Mogul (GB), Arklow, Mehdaayih (GB), United, Red King, Donjah (Ger). Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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