TAX Returns to the Track in the Harlan’s Holiday

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Saturday, December 12, 2020

"We feel this race is a great start for TAX and should get us in good position to be ready for some of the top races next year," owner Dean Reeves tells Horse Racing Radar.

The Reeves Thoroughbred Racing owner adds, "TAX has been training very well and has been very consistent in giving us good energy in his works. TAX has had a bit longer layoff than we wanted but due to a few minor setbacks and scheduling we are just now getting him back racing."

Our friends at Guaranteed Tip Sheet appear to be on the same page as Reeves providing the following commentary to their subscribers, "TAX has the best back-class but hasn't raced since May. He's been training well and should be ready to roll."

Oddsmaker and voice of Gulfstream Park, Pete Aiello, lists TAX (PP: 1) as the 2-1 morning line favorite in Grade III, Harlan's Holiday Stakes. The four-year-old leads a field of seven, racing 1 1/16 miles on Gulfstream's main track in Saturday's ninth race.

The son of ARCH and TOLL hasn't run since the Grade II, Oaklawn Handicap on May 2, 2020. However, he's put five bullet works in the books in his last seven workouts and, like Reeves stated, appears ready to get back to work. TAX has a single trip around the south Florida track, but stumbled at the start of the Pegasus Cup Invitational and never really had a chance afterwards.

PHAT MAN (PP: 2 ML 5/2) is the top challenger for the favorite according to the early line. He's coming off a sixth-place finish in his last, which was his first race in nearly 10-months. The six-year-old's recent resume says his second start off the bench might not be his best. His speed figure dipped, modestly, in two of his last three second races after a layoff.  Even the lone step up was minor, gaining just a few digits on the speed gun. On the plus side of the ledger, he's tried his Gulfstream luck three times with a win and a pair of seconds.

In a race that lacks early speed types, the two pre-race choices will likely find themselves chasing the outside horse, TATWEEJ (PP: 7 ML 4-1). Jockey Edgard Zayas has been on board the brown colt in his last three starts, winning them all as the heavy chalk. The offspring of TAPIT's only nonwinning effort came in his debut where he had some early issues and tired late. If Zayas can get away with running an opening half-mile in more than 46 seconds, he could be tough to catch.

IDENTIFIER (PP: 3 ML 15-1) is a longshot that could be live in this spot. He's spent about two months in the barn since his last start on October 17, 2020. He won the last time trainer Oscar Gonzalez brought this horse back to the track in graded company He scored in the Hal's Hope Stakes, at Gulfstream with his career-high speed figure. A repeat performance would likely be a repeat result.

Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.