Tacitus, trained by Bill Mott, exercises in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky on November 3, 2020.

Graded Stakes Winner Tacitus Pointed to Summer Return to the Races

By Alicia Hughes

Multiple graded stakes winner Tacitus is nearing a return to training after recovering from a freak injury leading up to this year’s Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) in March.

The Juddmonte homebred was expected to be among the leading contenders for the Dubai World Cup when he reportedly spooked in his stall and injured his hip in mid March. The gray son of Tapit was given 60 days off and has been recovering at his owner’s Lexington-based farm with designs on returning to the races by August, according to Juddmonte general manager Garrett O’Rourke.

“We brought him back to the farm and…we’ve been back swimming him and riding him and he’ll probably go back to (trainer) Bill (Mott) in the next week,” O’Rourke said on June 2. “He looks magnificent. He hasn’t turned a hair. He’s put on a few pounds which, I’m sure, Bill will take off him quickly. If he could have about eight weeks to get him race fit, that would put him on target to be back at the races hopefully by August.”

An earner of over $3.7 million in his career, Tacitus has become a fan favorite due to his striking looks and hard-luck streak when it comes to getting over the top-level hump. Out of champion Close Hatches, Tacitus is 0-for-9 in Grade/Group 1 races including runner-up finishes in the 2019 Belmont (G1) and Travers Stakes (G1) and 2020 Woodward Handicap (G1).

In his most recent outing, the 5-year-old finished seventh in the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) on Feb. 20.

“For a horse who just can’t get his nose in front in a Grade 1, you look at his form and he’s just been so consistent,” O’Rourke said. “He’s earned well over $3 million in prize money and all in big races – Breeders’ Cup races, classic races. He’s a horse where you can just pick a target for him and he will show up.

“But the goal obviously is to win a Grade 1. He’s got such an illustrious pedigree, I think he’ll be a very exciting classic stallion prospect. And if he passes on the soundness and consistency…he is a super healthy horse and we need more of that in the breeding.”

Tacitus has three Grade 2 victories on his resume with his latest win coming in the Suburban Handicap (G2) last July. Overall, he boasts four wins from 16 starts and was elevated to third via disqualification in the 2019 Kentucky Derby (G1).