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Irad Ortiz Jr. to Ride Tax in G1 Belmont Stakes

by New York Racing Association Press Release

June 3, 2019

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Danny Gargan confirmed Tax's status for the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. The Arch gelding, owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, will pick up a new rider, with former Belmont Stakes-winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. taking the call.

Tax, whose status for the "Test of the Champion" was uncertain following Saturday's four-furlong breeze in 49.03 seconds on Belmont's main track, was given new glue-on shoes and showed enough to now be part of an expected 10-horse field for the third leg of the Triple Crown.

"He looked like a million dollars out there this morning," said Gargan.

The post-position draw for the 151st Belmont Stakes will take place Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Citi Field before the Mets take on the San Francisco Giants.

Ortiz, Jr. will be making his fifth career start in the Belmont. The 26-year-old won the 1 ½-mile challenge in 2016 aboard Creator and last year piloted Hofburg to a third-place finish in a Belmont Stakes that saw Justify post a Triple Crown-clinching victory.

Tax will be Gargan's first Belmont Stakes trainee. The Wood Memorial runner-up will be making his first start since being placed 14th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby last month.