Tax breezed Saturday morning on the Belmont Park main track, with trainer Danny Gargan saying afterwards that a decision will be forthcoming on entering the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8.
The Arch gelding registered four furlongs in 49.03 seconds in his second breeze since being placed 14th in the Kentucky Derby last month at Churchill Downs. After breezing four furlongs on the Belmont training track on May 25, Tax went in company with New York-bred Blurred Line on Saturday, with his time the 33rd-fastest of a group of 68.
Should Tax enter the “Test of the Champion,” it will mark his first start on the famed Big Sandy track. While Belmont will be a new challenge for Tax, he has never finished off the board racing in New York, running second in the Grade 2 Remsen to close his juvenile campaign before winning the Grade 3 Withers by a head over Not That Brady and running second to fellow Belmont Stakes-contender Tacitus in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, Tax has one win, one runner-up effort and a third-place finish in four starts of at least 1 1/8 miles.
Tax could potentially be Gargan’s first Belmont Stakes trainee. He was bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farms and Adele Dilschnieder. He is out of the Giant’s Causeway broodmare Toll and comes from the same family as two-time Grade 1 winning millionaire Elate.
Pletcher Duo Works
Trainer Todd Pletcher said he was pleased with the final breezes from a bevy of Belmont Stakes Racing Festival contenders on Saturday morning at Belmont Park.
Visiting the main track shortly after the renovation break were Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets contenders Intrepid Heart and Spinoff along with Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan contender Coal Front.
Working in company with recent maiden winner Principled, Spinoff completed five furlongs in 1:02.16 seconds.
“I thought he went well,” said Pletcher. “He seemed very relaxed and got into a good comfortable rhythm. He stayed steady all the way around and put in a nice seven-eighths gallop out. He had a really strong workout last week, so we didn’t have to do quite as much today. He seemed happy and moving well.”
The Wertheimer and Frere homebred Hard Spun colt, who most notably ran second in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March, will enter the Grade 1 Belmont following an 18th place finish in the Kentucky Derby over a muddy track.
“It looked like he never really appreciated the off going in that race,” said Pletcher. “Since then he’s seemed to continue to move forward and he’s been training well so we’re expecting a better effort.”
Intrepid Heart, for owners Robert and Lawana Low, worked in blinkers on the inside of graded stakes placed stablemate Outshine, completing five furlongs in 1:00.92.
“I thought he [Intrepid Heart] had another good work and strong gallop out,” said Pletcher. “I had him finish a mile in 1:38 and change. I think we got a solid work out of him. He seemed to be happy and moving well. He worked on the outside last time, so I just wanted to work him again with the blinkers on and have him on the inside this time and thought it went smoothly.”