Tacitus is one of the top horses in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. With jockey Jose Ortiz on the saddle, Tacitus is one of the favorites heading into Churchill Downs.
Tacitus has arguably the most impressive pedigree of any horse in the Kentucky Derby field. Tacitus’ sire Tapit has produced a number of top horses including three of the last five Belmont Stakes winners, per America’s Best Racing. Tacitus’ dam is Close Hatches giving the horse a very deliberate pedigree.
“Being a homebred and having had the mother, we did very well with her (Close Hatches) winning several Grade 1s against a good group of fillies,” trainer Bill Mott told Paulick Report. “Tacitus is a nice big colt, particularly for a first foal. Even when we ran him the first time, we were pleasantly surprised when he jumped out and was up on the pace. He’s one of those horses that saves himself a little bit, you know. He’s not going to take it all out of himself in the morning. His works are useful, not brilliant, and it’s just his disposition. He’s going to do enough. I’ve had other horses like that; actually Cigar was like that. There were seldom any :59s or that sort of thing.”
Tacitus is owned by Khalid Abdullah and Juddmonte Farms. Tacitus’ name is a nod to the Roman Empire as the Courier-Journal detailed.
Named after a senator and historian of the Roman Empire. His two major works – “Annals” and “Histories” – examined the reigns of emperors Tiberius, Claudius and Nero.
Learn more about Tacitus’ jockey, owner and trainer.
Tacitus’ Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Ortiz joins his brother, Irad Ortiz (Improbable), in the Kentucky Derby as both are looking for their first win in the historic race. Ortiz believes he has the horse to do just that with Tacitus.
“I knew he had to be a champion when I first jumped on him,’’ Ortiz told US Racing. “I love everything about him. He’s got a great stride and he’s very athletic.”
Despite never winning the Derby, Ortiz has a long list of accomplishments throughout his career. Ortiz has earned $133.9 million over his career and $10.2 million so far in 2019, per America’s Best Racing. Ortiz has two Breeders Cup victories and already won at Churchill Downs with Serengeti Empress in the Kentucky Oaks.
Tacitus’ Owner: Khalid Abdullah (Juddmonte Farms)
Abdullah is the owner of Juddmonte Farms which has earned $84.1 million since it was started, per America’s Best Racing. This includes nine victories and 17 top-three finishes. Heading into the 2019 race, Juddmonte Farms is still looking for their first Kentucky Derby win.
“I think we settled on trying to produce a Kentucky Derby-type runner with Close Hatches, as the Derby is a rare yet-to-be-accomplished goal for Prince Khalid, whose runners have been second twice with Aptitude and Empire Maker,” Juddmonte Farms general manager Garrett O’Rourke explained to Paulick Report. “Prince Khalid was in attendance for Empire Maker [and previously for Eltish, who was sixth] and Sightseek and Heat Haze won graded races on that undercard, but the big fish got away. Tapit was an obvious cross for Close Hatches and subsequent matings to Malibu Moon and Curlin have the same goals. Close Hatches was checked into foal to Tapit (on April 23).”
Tapit’s has quite the resume of horses he has sired as NJ.com detailed.
Lifetime, he has sired 119 stakes winners, 72 graded-stakes winners, 25 grade-one winners, seven champions and five Breeders Cup winners. Combined, his offspring have earned a total of $140.5 million. Now at age 19, his stud book is limited to 125 mares a year at $300,000 each.
Tacitus’ Trainer: Bill Mott
Mott has had eight Kentucky Derby horses but is still looking for his first victory at Churchill Downs, per NJ.com. Mott’s biggest career accomplishment is likely training Cigar who won 16 straight races in 1995-96. Mott has been part of 27 victories and earned $275.36 million over his career, per America’s Best Racing.