Taxed Leads Home Grey Exacta in Black-Eyed Susan

TaxedJim McCue


Running for a $50,000 tag as recently as last November, 11-1 chance Taxed (Collected) proved one of the biggest bargains on the afternoon, coming from off the pace to peg Hoosier Philly (Into Mischief) while also leaving the previously undefeated and piping-hot 3-5 choice Faiza (Girvin) in her wake in the GII George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan S. at Pimlico Friday.

Last season's GII Golden Rod S. winner Hoosier Philly was intent on getting to the front, and she did so dutifully, as Sacred Wish (Not This Time), Merlazza (Medaglia d'Oro) and Faiza drafted in behind on her outside flank through an opening quarter in :23.44. The rail-skimming Scared Wish tried to creep up on the leader, but promptly had that door slammed in her face, losing some ground in the process. With Hoosier Philly still narrowly in front and Merlazza and Faiza keeping her honest, Taxed was only about four lengths away and moving easily following a :47.24 half. Given her cue leaving the far turn, the grey swung out four wide while inching closer to the front turning for home, gradually reeled in the drifting pacesetter and overtook her game, but tiring rival at midstretch en route to a 3 3/4-length victory. The GI Starlet winner Faiza was a clear third over 14-1 shot Balpool (Uncaptured).

“I had a very good trip,” said winning rider Rafael Bejarano. “I put her in the position the way that I wanted and went from there. I followed the favorite [Faiza], came to the stretch and let her out. My horse responded really good and she finished really well. She has improved a lot.”

In regard to the beaten favorite, Bob Baffert explained, “She broke well and was in a good spot. When the running started, she did not have that kick that she usually has. She ran a good race; she just wasn't good enough today. We are still trying to figure her out. [Flavien] Prat said she had the trip. She did everything right but win.”

He added, “It was a good test for her, this being her first time shipping. We are proud of her; at least she was right there. Those two fillies [Taxed and Hoosier Philly] looked good in the paddock; I thought they would run well. We will go home with her and regroup.”

The victory gave Bejarano's his first graded victory since the 2021 GII Jessamine S. on California Angel, while it was trainer Randy Morse's first since the 2014 GI Stephen Foster S. with Moonshine Mullin.

“It's hard to compete with these guys who go in and spend millions of dollars on young horses,” said Morse. “I'm not knocking them–I'd like to be in their position. Most of my better horses have been claimed.

“I won the Stephen Foster, that was a Grade I. Even if it's a claiming race, a win's a win.”

Claimed for $50,000 while facing maidens at Churchill Downs last November, Taxed returned to be fourth behind future GI Central Bank Ashland S. winner Defining Purpose (Cross Traffic) in the Year's End S. at Oaklawn Dec. 31 before posting a solid runner-up finish to Wet Paint (Blame) in the Martha Washington S. Jan. 28. Fading to ninth after pursuing the early pace in a sloppy renewal of the GIII Honeybee S. Feb. 25, a race also won by Wet Paint, she came home an improved second to that familiar foe after shedding the blinkers in the GIII Fantasy S. Apr. 1.

“She was just always pulling, too rank,” explained Morse. “Because every time she ran, she looked like she was going to win, and she just didn't have any finish. As you see now that she's relaxing behind horses and settling. It's made a huge difference.”

Taxed wound up in the Black-Eyed Susan after failing to draw into the May 5 GI Kentucky Oaks as the first also-eligible.

The filly's owner, Omaha, Nebraska, resident Richard Bahde, has owned horses for 30 years, racing primarily in Kentucky and Arkansas. According to Bahde, the win marked his first win at this level.

“I started out in the bull rings in Nebraska with $5,000 claimers and then I met [trainer Randy Morse] and he took me to a whole different level. We have had a lot of fun together.”

When asked about Taxed's latest win, he enthused, “When she made her move on that turn, I knew we had it won. She loves her job, she loves to run and once she got clear to the outside, it was over. She went past [Hoosier Philly] like she was standing still.”

Pedigree Notes:

Taxed's Black-Eyed Susan victory gives her the distinction of being the initial graded winner for sophomore sire Collected, who stands at this breeder's Airdrie Stud. Her dam, three times stakes placed through a 15-race racing career, won at distances ranging from six to eight furlongs and was purchased by Brereton Jones for $75,000 in foal to Congrats at Keeneland November in 2015. A 100% winner-producer from her four foals to make the races, Yankee Union has an unraced juvenile colt by Airdrie's Preservationist (Arch) named In a Jam who was picked up by D J Stable for $50,000 at Fasig-Tipton July and is training forwardly at Casse Training Center. She is also the dam of a yearling filly by American Freedom and foaled a filly by Complexity Mar. 31.

Friday, Pimlico
GEORGE E. MITCHELL BLACK-EYED SUSAN S.-GII, $300,000, Pimlico, 5-19, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:49.45, ft.
1–TAXED, 118, f, 3, by Collected
           1st Dam: Yankee Union (MSP, $164,064),by Yankee Gentleman
           2nd Dam: A Touch of Romance, by El Prado (Ire)
           3rd Dam: Dance Account, by Private Account
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($27,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP; $105,000 2yo '22 OBSMAR). O-Richard Bahde; B-Brereton C. Jones (KY); T-Randy L. Morse; J-Rafael Bejarano. $180,000. Lifetime Record: 8-2-2-0, $379,644. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Hoosier Philly, 124, f, 3, Into Mischief–Tapella, by Tapit. ($510,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP). O-Gold Standard Racing Stable, LLC; B-Candy Meadows LLC (KY); T-Thomas M. Amoss. $60,000.
3–Faiza, 124, f, 3, Girvin–Sweet Pistol, by Smart Strike. ($90,000 Ylg '21 FTKJUL; $725,000 2yo '22 EASMAY). 'TDN Rising Star' O-Michael Lund Petersen; B-Brereton C. Jones (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $30,000.
Margins: 3 3/4, 2 3/4, 2HF. Odds: 11.00, 6.30, 0.60.
Also Ran: Balpool, Merlazza, Cats Inthe Timber, Towhead, Comparative, Sacred Wish. Scratched: Frosty O Toole, Miracle, Pate.
Click for the chart or the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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