December 4, 2021

Tax heads eight in Discovery; Motion sends trio to Long Island

Tax and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. hold off Tacitus under Jose Ortiz to take the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga on Saturday, July 27, 2019 (c) Adam Coglianese Photography/Derbe Glass

Jim Dandy (G2) winner Tax, unraced since a seventh in the Travers (G1), will return off a three-month freshening to face seven in Saturday’s $200,000 Discovery (G3). The 1 1/8-mile event for three-year-olds serves as the co-feature on a 10-race Aqueduct program with the $400,000 Long Island (G3), a 1 3/8-mile turf affair for fillies and mares.

Tax showed an affinity for Aqueduct last winter, winning the Withers (G3) and finishing second to Tacitus in the Wood Memorial (G2). The Danny Gargan-trained gelding was no factor in the Kentucky Derby, but the son of Arch rebounded with close fourth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) before winning the Jim Dandy. Irad Ortiz Jr. keeps the assignment.

Performer will test his mettle for Shug McGaughey. A chestnut son of Speightstown, the promising colt will make his stakes debut with a three-race win streak. He broke his maiden the second time out and netted a career-best 100 BRIS Speed when capturing an entry-level allowance on the Travers Day undercard in his next outing. Performer stretched out to 1 1/16 miles last time, drawing away to a 1 ¼-length decision as the odds-on choice over conditioned allowance foes on September 29, and Joel Rosario will be back aboard. The versatile sort has won from off the pace and on it.

Mubarmaj will jump up to stakes company for Chad Brown. A maiden scorer in his second career outing at Belmont Park in mid-September, the Curlin colt was last seen posting a convincing entry-level allowance tally at 1 1/16 miles on October 14. Jose Ortiz picks up the mount.

Other runners include stakes-placed Grumps Little Tots; and Panamanian Grade 1 winner Carlos L., who will seek to improve upon a fourth in a Parx stakes race in his U.S. debut.

An overflow field of 15, including an also eligible and a pair of main-track only runners, is set for the Long Island, and Si Que Es Buena highlights a trio for Graham Motion. An Argentinian import, the six-year-old mare won a pair of Gulfstream Park stakes races last winter before heading to the sidelines.

Si Que Es Buena experienced a stumbling start and wound up a rallying sixth when returning in the October 12 E.P. Taylor (G1) at Woodbine, a race she probably needed off nearly a nine-month layoff, Rosario takes over the reins on the late runner. Motion has also entered Grade 2 runner-up Empressof the Nile, who exits a win over the Aqueduct turf in the November 3 Zagora; and stakes-placed Mercilla.

Argentinian Group 1 winner Entropia will make her U.S. debut for Bill Mott, who also has last-out allowance scorer Pivotal Connection. Brown will send French Group 3 winner My Sister Nat, third most recently in a Belmont allowance.

The $125,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship also will be offered and Laurel Dash winner Dubini heads a cast of seven in the six-furlong turf test.