gr/ro c Tapit – Close Hatches (First Defence)
Tacitus – the first foal out of multiple Grade 1 winner Close Hatches – ran twice as a two-year-old, breaking his maiden second time out at Aqueduct. In March of the following year, he shot to prominence with a one-and-a-quarter-length victory in the Gr.2 Tampa Bay Derby. It was followed up the following month with the Gr.2 Wood Memorial, in which Tactitus showed his mettle to win despite suffering severe interference during the race. Trainer Bill Mott said: “Some horses would have been discouraged with what happened on the first turn. They could have backed out of it or decide they didn’t want any part of it after getting roughed up like that.
“He does take after his dam. She was ready from the word ‘go’. She was one that was very aggressive and very fast. He’s a little different type of horse. She was good up to a mile, a mile and an eighth. This horse, with the Tapit genes, seems like he’s willing to go on, but he also seems to have enough speed to get him up and involved early in a race. He’s certainly not a speed horse, but he has tactical speed and we know he’s got talent and we know he’s willing to overcome a little adversity.”
Unsurprisingly, Tacitus went to the Gr.1 Kentucky Derby as one of the leading contenders, but it was not to be, as the colt finished third to Country House and Code Of Honor (the first past the post, Maximum Security, being disqualified for interference).
Tacitus ran four more times in 2019, finishing runner-up in the Gr.1 Belmont Stakes, the Gr.2 Jim Dandy Stakes and the Gr.1 Travers Stakes, and then closing the year with a third in the Gr.1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.
The son of Tapit remained in training for 2020, and made the trip to the inaugural Saudi Cup at Riyadh, where he picked up $1 million for finishing fifth. Back on home soil, he finished fourth in the Gr.2 Oaklawn Handicap before making an impressive return to form in the Gr.2 Suburban Stakes, winning by eight-and-three-quarter lengths. Two further Grade 1 placings following, in the Gr.1 Woodward Stakes and Gr.1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.