Tahoma First Winner for Triple Crown Victor Justify


Photo: Benoit Photo
Tahoma breaks his maiden at Santa Anita Park

Displaying the power of his Triple Crown-winning sire May 22 was Tahoma , Justify's   first foal to race in the United States, who won his May 22 debut in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Santa Anita Park.

Trained by Doug O'Neill, the 2-year-old colt broke smoothly under Juan Hernandez and cruised into fourth on the outside of the field, running a length off the pace. Tahoma, the 4-5 favorite, surged forward at the quarter pole to challenge Flame Rider, then held the lead easily in the stretch to cross the wire first ahead of Salta and Eagles Landing in a time of :53.89 for West Coast Stables.

Longtime O'Neill assistant Leandro Mora said, "We had high expectations and we feel this colt has a lot of upside. This colt has a lot of ability and I feel really confident about his future. We're proud to win with the very first starter for Justify, very proud."

Tahoma was a $160,000 purchase from the Hunter Valley Farm consignment at the 2021 Keeneland September Sale by Dennis O'Neill.

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"Dennis (Doug's brother) bought this horse and he has the eye of an eagle. He provides us with so many nice horses. Doug is on his way back from Maryland, but he's on his phone and he knows we won," Mora said.

Though Tahoma represents Justify's first starter on American soil, J.A. Stack trainee Aspen Grove also started May 22, placing fifth in the Tally Ho Stud European Breeders' Fund Fillies, a maiden race at The Curragh. 

Bred in Kentucky by Hunter Valley Farm, Fergus Galvin, and Golden Vale Farm, Tahoma is out of the Rahy mare Madera Dancer, who has five winners out of six foals to race. The mare also produced Legends of War , who won the Nevada State Bank Franklin-Simpson Stakes (G3). She was barren for the 2021 season and has a 2022 Nyquist   colt.

Bred in Kentucky by John Gunther, out of the Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, Justify, a 7-year-old son of Scat Daddy , won the Triple Crown in 2018 to cap a 6-for-6 career with earnings of $3,798,000.

He stands the 2022 season at Ashford Stud in Kentucky for an advertised fee of $100,000.