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Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Tacitus

By Dick Powell

Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Tacitus has a pedigree that is everything you would expect from a Juddmonte Farms homebred, with not only lots of black-type but major names and stakes winners.

Tacitus is by the mighty Tapit, who shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 18. The sire of at least 116 stakes winners, he is still a commercial powerhouse with his two-year-old colt out of Artemis Agrotera bringing $2 million to top the recent Ocala Breeders’ Sales March 2019 Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. Like you would expect from a son of Pulpit, and his sire A.P. Indy, Tapit’s offspring do their best on dirt.

Tacitus is the first foal out of Close Hatches, champion older female of 2014 and winner of $2.7 million. Close Hatches won the Mother Goose Stakes (G1) and Cotillion Stakes (G1) at three before running second behind four-time champoin Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to finish up her sophomore season. She came back at four and won the Apple Blossom Stakes (G1), Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) and Personal Ensign Stakes (G1), which was enough to clinch her divisional title.

Close Hatches was sired by Juddmonte homebred First Defence, who won the Forego Handicap (G1), and is out of another Juddmonte homebred, Honest Lady, who won the Santa Monica Handicap (G1) and was second against males in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and Met Mile (G1). Honest Lady is a half-sister to four major graded winners (all Juddmonte homebreds), including 2003 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Empire Maker.

Tacitus’ second dam, the Storm Cat mare Rising Tornado, was a winner on turf in France at three and has produced a full sister to Close Hatches in Lockdown, a stakes winner of $445,000 on the dirt who was third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Cotillion Stakes (G1) in 2017.

The rest of Tacitus’ pedigree is turf oriented, but Juddmonte Farms has been making more of an effort to breed (and buy) for American dirt racing. They will always have their turf horses like Frankel and Enable, but since the buying plan switched over here, which resulted in yearling purchases with dirt pedigrees including one named Arrogate, they now have a dual focus.

Tacitus is inbred to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Unbridled 3 X 4 and inbred to Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew 4 X 4. His four great-grandsires are A.P. Indy, Unbridled, Unbridled’s Song and Storm Cat – all major dirt stakes winners in America. With this plan in place, not even Bill Mott was tempted to try him on turf and he began his career on dirt at Belmont Park. Can’t see him switching now.

PHOTO: Tacitus and jockey Jose Ortiz win the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 9, 2019 (c) SV Photography

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