03/05/11 Midwest/Canada: Tree Top

  • March 01, 2011
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When a horse finds its best stride and is good enough to knock down a couple of grade I races, it’s rarely a case of being an overnight sensation. Behind
every “big horse” is usually a breeder or owner that has been doing all the right things for years.

Such is the case with Rudy and Virginia Tarra, who, after being in racing for nearly 50 years, have come up with their homebred “big horse”—Giant Oak. A strapping son of Giant’s Causeway out of the Tarras’ star mare Crafty Oak, Giant Oak has moved beyond being the Illinois-bred horse of the year to the front of the national handicap division with a win in last November’s Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs (via disqualification) and an impressive score Feb. 5 in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream.

Now both 73 and married for 53 years, the Tarras, racing’s latest “overnight sensations,” began back in 1962 as a young married couple in Orland Park, Ill.

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