Taxed Looks to Levy Strong Challenge on Rivals in G1 Alabama

August 18, 2023

Taxed runs away to capture the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 19 at Pimlico (Barbara Singer/Past The Wire)

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Richard Bahde’s graded stakes-winner Taxed will face a rematch with last-out Grade 3 Indiana Oaks-winner Defining Purpose, and takes on eight other talented rivals, in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama presented by Keeneland Sales, a 1 1/4-mile main track test for sophomore fillies, at Saratoga Race Course.

“She’s shipped in great and everything is going really good,” said trainer Randy Morse. “She’s trained well and has no excuses there.”

Taxed arrives from a game runner-up effort in the Indiana Oaks on July 8 at Horseshoe Indianapolis where she brushed at the start from the inside post and encountered traffic troubles before swinging out wide in the final turn and finishing 1 1/4 lengths back of Defining Purpose.

“We took her out to Indiana and she didn’t have a very good trip,” said Morse. “She got pinched in behind horses with a really slow place and had to come real wide when she did make her run. She just couldn’t run down Defining Purpose, but she came out of the race well and has trained just as good as ever.”

Taxed’s efforts in the mornings since the Indiana Oaks include two sharp breezes over Churchill Downs’ main track on August 1 and 11, covering a half-mile in 47.80 seconds both days.

Morse said he is hopeful a stronger pace will develop for Taxed on Saturday as she faces the longest test of her career.

“It looks like there’s plenty of pace in the race and she’s never gone that far, but she gives us every indication she’ll go that far,” said Morse. “She trains like the further the better, but it’s Saratoga and it’s tough.”

Taxed has proven to be among the best claims of Morse’s 42-year career after she was haltered for $50,000 out of a third-out graduation in November at Churchill when in the care of conditioner Matt Shirer. She finished fourth behind Defining Purpose in her first start for new connections in the Year’s End on New Year’s Eve at Oaklawn Park, but flashed her talents with a game runner-up effort to returning rival Wet Paint in the Martha Washington on January 28 at the Hot Springs oval.

“She’s a nice-looking filly and we got lucky,” said Morse. “We shook for her and got lucky to win the shake.”

Taxed finished off-the-board in the Grade 3 Honeybee behind Wet Paint before putting in another brave performance to be second to her familiar foe in the Grade 3 Fantasy in April ahead of a breakout score when shipping to Pimlico Race Course for the nine-furlong Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on May 19.

There, the daughter of Collected pounced from 3 3/4 lengths off the pace under returning rider Rafael Bejarano to swing four-wide in the final turn and set her sights on Hoosier Philly down the lane. The grey filly swept past her last remaining foe and drew clear at the eighth pole to score the 3 3/4-length triumph in a final time of 1:49.45.

“Oh, that was a great race,” recalled Morse. “She ran really, really good. She ran to the way she had been training and she ran good in Arkansas, but she really started changing and maturing after that race [the Fantasy] and showed it there in Baltimore.” 

Taxed is out of the dual stakes-placed Yankee Gentleman mare Yankee Union and sold for $105,000 at the 2022 OBS March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. She has banked $418,844 through a lifetime record of 9-2-3-0.

@jonathanstettin #2 Ettalusive ran big to finish 2nd in Gulf Stream 3rd 16-1

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