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Preakness Stakes News | Copper Tax Remains Under Consideration
Copper Tax (Maryland Jockey Club)

Preakness Stakes News | Copper Tax Remains Under Consideration

Rose Petal Stable’s Copper Tax remains under consideration for the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course as his connections continue to formulate a plan for the multiple-stakes winner’s next start.

Copper Tax earned an automatic berth in the $2 million Preakness by virtue of his three-quarter-length victory in the $125,000 Federico Tesio going 1 1/8 miles April 20 at Laurel Park. The Preakness is contested at 1 3/16 miles.

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Trained by Laurel-based Gary Capuano, Copper Tax has put together back-to-back stakes wins around two turns, beginning with the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms March 23 over his home track. He also won a pair of stakes at 2, and seven of 10 career starts.

“Right now we do not know. We’ve been meeting with [Capuano] to discuss what the best opportunities are for us, whether we want to run him in the Preakness or another race that day or looking at what’s coming up on the horizon,” Rose Petal’s Chris Loso said. “We’re still just kind of feeling it out.

“Everything’s open right now. We’re just waiting to see what horses are entering the race and what’s going to be the best opportunity for Copper Tax to do well,” he added. “It’s not just about going into a race like the Preakness just because it’s a big race. You want to make sure that the horse you have in there is there to do well. We want to make sure we give him the best opportunity possible to perform well. We are weighing every option.”

Copper Tax was stepped on leaving the gate, lost a shoe and raced well off a speedy track bias when he was sixth in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) Dec. 2 at Aqueduct, a race where subsequent graded-stakes winners Dornoch and Sierra Leone ran 1-2. Sierra Leone came back to be beaten by a nose by Mystik Dan in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

“His leg had gotten clipped coming out of the gate and so he didn’t have the greatest run,” Loso said. “I think it’s a testament that he’s a good horse. It’s a matter of what’s the best race for him and how he can perform.”

Copper Tax was ridden in each of his last two races by J.G. Torrealba, a five-pound apprentice who won the riding title at Laurel’s recently concluded spring meet. The son of Grade 2 winner Copper Bullet has yet to breeze back since the Tesio.

“Right after the race I saw the horse and he’s just as focused and he was really well-settled, so there’s no concerns with his physical abilities or his state of mind,” Loso said. “He’s focused. He’s all business.”

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Horsemen will be offered $7.5 million in bonus opportunities as well as two qualifiers for races at Newmarket and Deauville come Preakness Day May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.

In addition to their respective purses, a $5 million bonus awaits the owner or owners of the horse who wins the $2 million Preakness (G1), the $1 million California Crown (G1) Sept. 28 at Santa Anita, and the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in 2025.

Meanwhile, a $2.5 million bonus awaits the owner or owners of the horse who wins Pimlico’s $500,000 Dinner Party (G3), the $750,000 California Crown John Henry Turf (G2), and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1).

In addition, the winner of the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint will receive an automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the July Cup Stakes (G1) at Newmarket on July 13, while the winner of the Gallorette Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares on the turf will receive an automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the Sumbe Prix Jean Romanet (G1) at Deauville Aug. 18.

The Maryland Jockey Club will also offer bonus money totaling $100,000 bonus to trainers who run a minimum of five horses in the stakes races during Preakness weekend, and another $50,000 bonus for trainers with the most points in non-stakes during the weekend.