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Most Valuable Pony (Dec. 7-13): Tax

by Jeremy Plonk

December 14, 2020

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.

December 7-13, 2020

MVP: Tax

Owner: R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch

Trainer: Danny Gargan

Jockey: Luis Saez

Performance: Under an aggressive ride from the rail, Tax went straight to the front of the 1-1/16 miles Grade 3 $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday on Dec. 12 at Gulfstream Park. He increased his lead at every call, drawing off by 4-1/2 lengths. The 4-year-old son of Arch, winner of last year’s Jim Dandy, stopped the clock in 1:41.15, just .18 off of the track record.

On Tap: Expect Tax in a return date to the Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream. The 1-1/8 miles test is likely his best distance, even if brilliant in the Harlan’s Holiday going shorter. Tax finished ninth in the Pegasus World Cup last January, but arguably comes into the race in better form and now with a race over the track.

Honorable Mentions: Also at Gulfstream Dec. 12, Largent pulled a 16-1 upset leaving the Virginia-bred ranks when he won the Grade 2 $200,000 Fort Lauderdale. The Todd Pletcher trainee rallied from seventh of 9 to win by 2 lengths. Mexican import Letruska continues to make a home in South Florida since arriving for last year’s Caribbean Classic, outsprinting her rivals Dec. 12 in Gulfstream’s Grade 3 $100,000 Rampart. Ninety One Assault defended his title December 12 in Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf. The 7-year-old, based in New York, is now 7-for-10 on the New Orleans lawn. Star of Night won her fourth straight, third in West Virginia-bred stakes company, on Dec. 12 with an odds-on score in Charles Town’s $50,000 My Sister Pearl Stakes.