Not many winners of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga begin the racing careers in a claiming race, but this year's winner did. Just like G1 Haskell winner Maximum Security (by New Year's Day), Tax (Arch) made his debut in claiming company.
Maximum Security had massacred his competition for maiden claiming $16,000 by 9 ¾ lengths in the time of 1:16.84 for 6 ½ furlongs at Gulfstream. And he wasn't claimed. The rest is history.
In Tax's case, his debut came in a $30,000 maiden claiming race at Churchill Downs, and the dark bay son of Arch (Kris S.) ran second to the race favorite as a 10.60-to-1 shot himself. In his second start, he jumped sharply to maiden $50,000 at Keeneland, and starting as the 2-to-1 favorite, Tax won by two lengths.
But Tax was claimed. Trainer Danny Gargan picked up the nice young prospect for Hugh Lynch from the breeders, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.
Now a G2 winner at Saratoga, Tax placed third in the G2 Remsen Stakes in his first start for his new connections, and the good, progressive young athlete then won the G3 Withers in his 3-year-old debut.
Since then, Tax has run second in the G1 Wood Memorial, had a difficult passage in the Kentucky Derby (14th), and was a quite respectable fourth in the G1 Belmont Stakes. In the latter, he was 1 ¾ lengths behind Tacitus (Tapit), who had beaten Tax by a slightly smaller margin in the Wood. This makes the form of the Jim Dandy look pretty solid, as Tacitus was three-quarters of a length behind Tax after a poor start in which the gray colt gave away ground to his competitors.
Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne and Dilschneider, Tax is the best performer to date from a family that has yielded bonus dividends for the breeders. Tax is the first stakes winner and first graded winner for the Giant's Causeway mare Toll, who won a pair of races as a 3-year-old and earned $62,340. Prior to Tax, Toll had been a muddlesome and disappointing broodmare, with only a trio of winners (including Tax) from seven foals and four runners.
There is much more to say about the second dam, multiple graded stakes winner Yell (A.P. Indy), who won the G2 Davona Dale and G3 Raven Run, as well as placing second in the G1 Mother Goose and third in the G1 Kentucky Oaks.
As a broodmare, Yell has done well. She is the dam of stakes winner Cheery (Distorted Humor) and her full brother Shrill, who was third in the Hot Springs Handicap and the Don Bernhardt Stakes. Their best half-sibling is Chide (Blame), who was third in the G1 Mother Goose and second in the G3 Dogwood Stakes. Their winning sibs include Sentence (Blame), Squeal (Tiznow), Veracity (Distorted Humor), and Holler (Strong Hope), all fillies.
The last bit may be of significance to the future because Cheery, for instance, is the dam of Elate (Medaglia d'Oro), winner of the G1 Beldame and Alabama Stakes. One suspects that further exposure to Medaglia d'Oro or his sons, as well as Arch's champion son Blame is in the cards because following what works has done so well with this family.
With the success of Yell, for instance, members of the family went to A.P. Indy. This has resulted in leading sire Congrats, leading sire Flatter, and the multiple stakes-placed Meghan's Joy, the dam of six stakes winners to date, and five of those were graded winners.
The cornerstone of these various successes and these good horses was Wild Applause (Northern Dancer), the third dam of Tax who was purchased by Seth Hancock for $1.1 million at the Rokeby Stable dispersal in 1992. Already the dam of G2 Futurity Stakes winner Eastern Echo (Damascus), the lovely young mare had won half of her 10 starts, including the G2 Diana and G3 Comely, as well as earning another placing in the G1 Mother Goose, the third for members of this immediate family.
For Claiborne, Wild Applause bred Yell and G2 winner Roar (Forty Niner), who went to stud and became the broodmare sire of champion Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d'Oro).
Part of the attraction of Wild Applause is that she was a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero (Polish Navy) and a full sister to G1 winner Hero's Honor, plus four other stakes winners.
This was one of Rokeby's most wonderful families, coming from fourth dam Glowing Tribute (Graustark), whom Paul Mellon had bred from Admiring (Hail to Reason), whom Mellon had purchased from the Hirsch Jacobs dispersal. Jacobs bred Admiring from Searching (War Admiral), whom he had claimed from breeder Ogden Phipps, and Phipps had bred Searching from E.R. Bradley's mare Big Hurry (Black Toney), who was a daughter of La Troienne (Teddy). Phipps acquired Big Hurry and other splendid animals from the private dispersal of the Bradley bloodstock that primarily was split between Phipps, Greentree Stable, and King Ranch.
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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