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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tagg Team

- I'm pretty sure I've used that headline before. But Barclay Tagg has been on fire at Belmont thus far, with a record of 14-5-2-2; he's lost three races by less than a length, including a narrow defeat by Dave in the Kingston Handicap on Sunday. All of the winners were horses making their first starts here after shipping back up here from Gulfstream or Keeneland.

Tagg has two strong looking favorites on Wednesday's card at Belmont. In the 6th, Moral Compass (8-5) comes out of the G3 Palm Beach, in which he finished third, beaten a length by Sporting Art, who subsequently won the G3 Calder Derby (and the race also produced two other winners). This is a nice looking three-year old who has shown solid improvement this year. He's by Grand Slam, out of a stakes winning Well Decorated mare; his second dam is Buzz My Bell, the dam of Derby winner Grindstone.

In the 8th, Cougar Bay also comes out of a third place finish in a Florida stakes - the G2 Mac Diarmada in his case. Prior to that was an even 4th, to Einstein, in the G1 Gulftream Park Turf. This Irish-bred five year old gelded son of Daylami has shown a solid Beyer progression since coming over to North America last fall, and looks like he should have his way with this allowance field. Stalingrad has improved big time since switching to grass for Mike Hushion, with two wins and two close seconds. He returned from a trip to California with a solid win last month in his first race in four months, and moves up in class. Best Alibi ships over for Godolphin and has some scary back form from 2006 - a win in the Group 2 York Stakes, and a third, beaten four lengths, to Dylan Thomas in the Irish Derby.