Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Tacitus moved to the top of the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard following his 1 1/4-lengths victory in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct. The once-beaten sophomore will aim to give Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott his first Kentucky Derby (G1) winner on May 4.
Tacitus has won three races in succession, with a score in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) preceding his Wood Memorial triumph. The well-bred sophomore is three-for-four lifetime and has shown a powerful turn of foot from a pair of 2019 starts.
The winner is by 2004 Wood Memorial (G1) hero Tapit, who is viewed by many as the top stallion in North America. He has sired three previous classic winners, and the son of Pulpit has been a source of class and stamina since arriving for stud duty at Gainesway Farm.
Tacitus is out of champion Close Hatches. Also trained by Mott, the classy daughter of First Defence was a five-time Grade 1 heroine who strung together victories in the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1), Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) and Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) during her championship season. Her full sister, Lockdown, rallied for third in the 2017 Kentucky Oaks (G1).
First Defence has yet to establish himself as a consistent broodmare sire as of yet, though he is having a serious impact on the 2019 Road to the Kentucky Derby. In addition to Tacitus, El Camino Real Derby romper Anothertwistafate is also out of a mare by First Defence.
While the catalog page is not littered with black-type performers through the first three dams, this is a robust female line full of champions, classic winners and sires when going back a few generations. It traces to Broodmare of the Year Best in Show, one of the most acclaimed broodmare lines established in recent Thoroughbred history.
Tacitus is in-bred through Triple Crown winners Secretariat and Seattle Slew. His running style has shown that he covets going long, and being in the hands of Mott will allow him every chance to improve as the distances increase.
The Kentucky Derby (G1) contender is lightly raced with just four career starts under his belt. He has every right to continue his ascension with additional seasoning. Tacitus is one to seriously consider for the Run for the Roses and the following two legs of the Triple Crown.
PHOTO: Tacitus and jockey Jose Ortiz win the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 9, 2019 (c) SV Photography