What to watch for: Tax back to headline Aqueduct's Discovery

November 26, 2019 12:30pm
A trio of graded races are already set for Thanksgiving day, and a field of 12 is entered for Friday's Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs. The holiday weekend feast of stakes continues through the weekend with big names set to finish their seasons on both coasts. Here's a look at what to watch for...

Discovery Handicap (G3)

This $200,000 event, run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, marks a return to the races for Tax, a multiple graded stakes winner last seen in the Travers Stakes (G1). The Danny Gargan-trained son of Arch shipped for the Oklahoma Derby (G3) but spiked a fever upon arrival, forcing him to scratch and connections to look for another spot.

It'll be a tough one with the popular 3-year-old matching up against Performer, a son of Speightstown who has certainly earned this opportunity.

The Shug McGaughey trainee has won three straight, graduating through maiden and allowance conditions, with a last out win on Sept. 29 at Belmont Park. Grumps Little Tots, another likely entrant for the Discovery, was second to the Phipps homebred Performer by 1 3/4 lengths.

Carlos L. is an intriguing type of runner here, too. The Kentucky-bred had run exclusively in Panama before mentioned in connection with trainer Jorge Navarro and the Haskell Invitational (G1) earlier this summer. He eventually surfaced to be fourth in Parx's M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes won by Spun to Run, who of course went on to take the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile as well.

Hollywood Derby (G1)

There's plenty of east-west intrigue in Saturday's Del Mar feature for 3-year-olds on the grass.

Chad Brown is sending in graded winners Digital Age and Standard Deviation, while the Mike Maker-trained Henley's Joy remained in California after a fourth in the Twilight Derby (G2) on Breeders' Cup weekend. Perhaps he'll benefit from local training.

Brown told the Daily Racing Form's Brad Free that Secretariat (G1) winner Valid Point, however, will not make the Hollywood Derby as expected having not exited his latest work in perfect shape.

Heading up local charges in what's still a deep field are Twilight Derby winner Mo Forza; Kingly, the Bob Baffert-trained brother of Mohaymen with multiple stakes wins; the Hill Prince (G2) hero Neptune's Storm; and Nolde, last summer's Del Mar Derby (G2) winner.

With rain expected midweek in San Diego, the turf should be less than firm as the Seabiscuit Handicap (G2), Red Carpet Handicap (G3) and Jimmy Durante (G3) support the Hollywood Derby. The Durante is expected to be led by Princesa Caroline, the debut-winning sister of Lady Eli.

Matriarch Stakes (G1)

Closing day at Del Mar means another Grade 1 event, this one featuring Got Stormy, who will face only her gender for the first time since winning the Fourstardave (G1), then running second in the Woodbine Mile (G1) and Breeders' Cup Mile.

George Weaver-trained Daddy Is a Legend could prove formidable as a fresh, consistent 4-year-old who returned to win a Keeneland allowance off the bench. But Got Stormy's toughest task will be in beating Toinette. The Neil Drysdale trainee has won four of her last five, including Santa Anita's Goldikova (G2) on Nov. 3.

There will be quite the undercard offered with United, the Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up, likely for the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2), along with 2-year-olds going in the Cecil B. DeMille (G3).


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