Tacitus Tackles Breeders’ Cup Classic

Breeders' Cup meeting starts at 17h15

Multiple Gr2 winner Tacitus will attempt to carry the famous green and pink silks of Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud’s Juddmonte Farms to the finish line first today in one of the world’s top races, the Gr1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Carrying a $6 million purse and contested over 2000m on dirt, the Classic is the apex of a 14-race, 2-day and $31-million meeting.

Multiple Grade 2 winner Tacitus, who is trained by inaugural Dubai World Cup-winning trainer Bill Mott, will be seeking his first Grade 1 in the race, but has been knocking on the proverbial door throughout his career, including seconds in the Belmont Stakes and Travers, thirds in two Jockey Club Gold Cups and a fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Also fourth in February’s $20 million Saudi Cup astern Maximum Security, who re-opposes on Saturday, Tacitus subsequently trained during the month of March at Meydan until the Dubai World Cup was ultimately cancelled.

“One of the unfortunate natures of the beast is when very good horses can’t get their head in front in races,” said Garrett O’Rourke, General Manager of Juddmonte Farm. “This is a very sound, very talented and very consistent racehorse and you have to give him his credit because he does show up every time. Maybe there are some times when the expectations are higher with him and, yes, we were disappointed last time out (when third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup), but making his own pace does not come easy to him and he consistently runs his race.”

Hopes have been high since birth for the earner of nearly $3 million and winner of four of 14 starts. Tacitus is the first foal of brilliant five-time G1-winning champion mare Close Hatches—also trained by Mott for Juddmonte—and is a son of America’s top stallion of the past decade, Tapit. Close Hatches was second in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and Tapit has sired five Breeders’ Cup winners.

Tacitus- Pic Mathea Kelley

“Horses like him often run their best races in races like the Breeders’ Cup, when they don’t have to worry about the pace because everyone’s running for their lives in the race,” O’Rourke continued. “That will hopefully be the case and we can save all the ground from the rail (post). Hopefully that will be the difference. He’s also a horse who also has been looking good and doing well for so long because he’s always been healthy and sound. He’s an honest horse in the big scheme of things and we have always aimed very high with him. Bill (Mott) wants to run him and that’s what you want. If you’re aiming for the stars, you want to go with the trainer driving you.”

Mott, who seeks his 11th Breeders’ Cup trophy, updated on the eye-catching colt’s training: “He’s good, he’s fresh and he feels good. He worked good here and he came out of that in good order. He’s got to improve because the competition is a little tougher this time. I think the race having a little pace in it will be to his benefit. They have a long run to the turn, so everyone should get a good spot.”

If all goes well, it seems not impossible that fans, especially in his owner’s native Saudi Arabia, may see him again. No decision has been made if the blueblood will stay in training, but if so, the early targets would likely be the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup, once again.

“I sure hope he (stays in training),” Mott continued. “He’s not a horse who had a big 2-year-old campaign or anything and is worn out. I think he’s a horse that should be a good 5-year-old. Maybe he hasn’t reached his peak yet.”

In addition to champion Maximum Security, Tacitus’ main competition is plentiful. From the rail out, after Tacitus, are Belmont (G1) winner Tiz the Law, Oaklawn Handicap (G1) winner By My Standards, Clark (G1) winner Tom’s d’Etat, G2-placed longshot Title Ready, 2019 Pacific Classic (G1) winner Higher Power, Woodward (G1) winner Global Campaign, Whitney (G1) winner Improbable, Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Authentic and Maximum Security. Early favoritism resides with Improbable

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