How a young horse as well-bred as Tax ended up starting his racing life as a gelding in the claiming ranks would probably be a story in itself, akin to a prince becoming a pauper. Bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, he is a son of the late Arch, a Grade I-winning Roberto-line horse who did good service at stud for Claiborne before his death in January 2016. On the distaff side, his family is one of the most stellar branches of the fabulous La Troienne's tribe, descending through 1993 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Glowing Tribute.
Among Glowing Tribute's outstanding brood (which also includes 1993 Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero and Grade I winner Hero's Honor) is Wild Applause, a daughter of Northern Dancer. A full sister to Hero's Honor, she was quite a good race mare in her own right, winning the 1984 Diana Handicap (USA-IIT). She was even better as a broodmare, producing four graded stakes winners. Unfortunately, her son Eastern Echo (by Damascus) was too unsound to follow up on the promise he showed in winning the 1990 Futurity Stakes (USA-I), but Grade II winner Roar proved a very good stallion in Argentina, winning that country's sire championship in 2004.
Yell, the best of Wild Applause's daughters on the track, won the 2003 Davona Dale Stakes (USA-II) and Raven Run Stakes (USA-III). Given her race record, her family, and her status as a daughter of A.P. Indy, she was something of a disappointment during her own producing career as she came up with only one stakes winner, Cheery (by Distorted Humor). As often enough happens when a beautifully-credentialed mare doesn't quite deliver in the paddocks, her daughters have begun making up for it, however. Cheery produced multiple Grade I winner Elate (by Medaglia d'Oro) as her first foal, and after producing only a couple of minor winners from four previous foals, Yell's winning daughter Toll (by Giant's Causeway) has come up with Tax.
On pedigree and conformation, Tax looks to be the sort of horse likely to improve with maturity and distance, which is promising indeed as he also has a solid third-place effort in last fall's Remsen Stakes (USA-II) on his record. He may still be tried on turf at some future date, but for now, he is likely to remain in the Derby trail in hopes that he will prove worthy of wild applause on the first Saturday in May.