Tax Starts the Second Half of His Season

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By Emily Shields

The co-feature on Saturday’s card at Keeneland is the $200,000 Hagyard Fayette Stakes (G2), featuring a field of 10 older horses competing over nine furlongs on the main track. This is typically the closing weekend feature of the meet, but Keeneland will be back next weekend with the Grade 2 Raven Run, and then over November 6 and 7 with the 2020 Breeders’ Cup.

#8 Tax (7-2) was once a strong contender for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. He won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and Grade 3 Withers that year, then was off from the 2020 Pegasus World Cup until the May 2 Oaklawn Handicap (G2), where he finished fifth. The son of Arch has been off since, but has been working strongly at Saratoga with three consecutive bullet workouts. Danny Gargan trains the earner of just under $900,000. Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard. Tax broke his maiden here in 2018.

He faces #6 Mr Freeze (3-1), who was second in this race last year behind major Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Tom’s d’Etat. Prior to that effort, Mr Freeze broke his maiden here in his debut in 2018. He has gone on to earn over $1.4 million with five wins and 11 top three efforts in 15 starts. Dale Romans trains the son of To Honor and Serve, whose lone win this year was the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile in February.

#2 Captivating Moon (5-1) is an interesting choice at the price. The son of Malibu Moon is trained by Chris Block, and he doesn’t win often but he was more forwardly placed last out and had a rough trip after being off the whole summer. Julien Leparoux is scheduled to ride, but was involved in a spill Friday so check the changes on the day.

#3 Crafty Daddy (5-1) hails from the hot Ken McPeek barn. He runs primarily on the grass but did beat Captivating Moon in the Opening Verse at Churchill Downs last out, winning by a head. That race came off the turf and gave the connections confidence that the son of Scat Daddy could succeed on the dirt. He did win on the grass here last year.

Royally-bred #10 Aurelius Maximus (10-1) rounds out the field. He has won three of his six lifetime starts, and moved this year from the Chad Brown outfit to Steve Asmussen, who has gotten him to the winner’s circle in both his 2020 starts. The son of Pioneerof the Nile is out of the Grade 1 mare La Reina, by A. P. Indy.

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