2019 Kentucky Derby: New Jersey hopes rest with Vekoma, Tax

A year ago it was Firenze Fire that boasted local ownership, and this year it’s Vekoma and Tax that have ties to the Garden State.

Franklin Lakes resident Raymond Hill, III, who grew up attending Monmouth Park, who owns a piece of two starters in the Run for the Roses, part of partnerships in both Tax and Vekoma.

The versatile Vekoma, a son of Candy Ride who will be ridden by Javier Castellano, is coming off a 3 1/2 length win in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, having won three of four career starts for trainer George Weaver.

Hill owns Vekoma, a $130,000 yearling purchase, along with New Hampshire brothers Ted and Mike Gatsas.

Tax, ridden by Junior Alvarado and trained by Danny Gargan, ran second in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in his last start, finishing behind Tacitus, a closer who is expected to be one of the top choices in the Derby.