Por Blood Horse
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott clearly is not a man in a hurry.
A mere 22 years after his first victory in Tampa Bay Downs’ biggest race, Mott grabbed another Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) triumph. And he did it with Tacitus, a colt with only two starts as a 2-year-old and one who had not raced since his maiden victory Nov. 10 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Juddmonte Farms’ homebred son of Tapit out of multiple grade 1 winner Close Hatches took his first strides on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in impressive fashion Saturday when he closed from far back under jockey Jose Ortiz. Tacitus ran the 1 1/16 miles in a stakes-record 1:41.90, eclipsing the 1:42.36 mark set by Tapwrit in 2017.
“He’s been a big, growthy colt all along, and when we were breezing him in the middle of the summer, he was just a big, laid-back horse. We didn’t know what we had until we got into the fall,” Mott said after Tacitus got through late on the rail and powered to a 1 1/4-length victory over Outshine. Pasco Stakes victor Win Win Win, the 7-5 favorite in an 11-horse field, finished third, with pacesetter Zenden holding on for fourth.