Juddmonte Farms owned Tacitus is one of the leading contenders for the Gr.1 Dubai World Cup crown this year. The son of the mighty Tapit is out of a branch of the Best In Show dynasty for four generations that so far have been capped by Close Hatches and her full-sister by First Defence, Lockdown, a stakes winner who finished third in the 2017 Kentucky Oaks and placed in two other Gr.1 events. Best In Show’s eventual descendants include American, European and Japanese champion and is considered the founder of one of the world’s most influential female families.
By Tapit and the first foal out of Juddmonte’s homebred champion Close Hatches, theGroup Two winning and Group One placed 4YO is trained by US Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott who won the inaugural Dubai World Cup race with the great Cigar and was third in 2015 with Lea.
In 10 career starts, Tacitus has three victories, three seconds and two thirds, which has earned him $2,677,500 in prize money. Second in the prestigious Gr.1 Travers Stakes and Gr.1 Belmont Stakes, he won the Gr.2 Wood Memorial and Gr.2 Tampa Bay Derby earlier in 2019 to stamp himself as one of the best of his generation.
Tacitus joins a field that is expected to also include 2019 runner-up Gronkowski, Japanese star Chrysoberyl, Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston and DWC Carnival star Benbatl.
Ten Furlongs speaks to Garrett O’Rourke, who manages Juddmonte’s bloodstock in America about Tacitus, their plans for Dubai and much more:
Q: How did you think Tacitus did in the Saudi Cup and what are your plans for the Dubai World Cup?
A: Tacitus ran a good race. We were obviously hoping he would win it. He got into the race early but the other horses were fast and were beaten by 3.5 lengths. After the Saudi Cup, we reviewed his condition and the decision was taken to send him to Dubai to train for the Dubai World Cup.
He is a very good and sound horse and he is fresh. We will move forward from this race to the Dubai World Cup race.
Q: What are your plans for Tacitus after the Dubai World Cup race?
A: After such a big race, elite performers need a bit of a break. We will move him back to the US in April. He will get a break and start preparing again for other races. When you undertake a journey such as this, we have to see how he comes out. I want him to catch his breath and then start the journey again. We will look at most of the top races for him, around the nine to the ten-furlong mark.
Q: What kind of a horse is he?
A: He has a great personality. He is a big horse, with a beautiful action and lovely long stride, which is his asset. But for a big horse, he is really nice to be around but he gets strong when he has to. He works with a female work-rider and she handles him beautifully. He is developing a personality as he is getting older. He likes to look out at his sides and sometimes likes to stick his tongue out. He has gotten smarter as well with age.
Q: Based on your Saudi experience do you feel, American trainers will consider spending more time in the GCC during the winter?
A: This was our first year. With two valuable races in the Gulf, owners and trainers will definitely consider skipping other races in favour of a trip to Saudi and then Dubai. The climate was conducive to racing. The transport to these venues is well organized. Marsan has done it so many times and for so long the horses arrive safely. I was impressed by their quarantine facilities. The horses received the best feed and anything else they may need. We were extremely well looked after. The horses had the best possible facilities. The staff was accommodated well too. As a result of their routine, I am sure people will bring their absolute best racehorses from around the world next year. There is a comfort level in Dubai and now Saudi where you can bring your highest performing horses to Dubai and you are assured of the very best.
Q: What about Arrogate? How is he doing? Please tell us more about those beautiful Arrogate babies, you talked about years ago.
A: Arrogate is a tremendous horse. He has a great personality and he is very passionate. He is known for his flowing free-movement stride. It’s very cat-like movement. He is very impatient and always raring to go.
All his offspring have inherited both these traits. They move beautifully and they are always raring to go. Once they are turned-out, the gate better is open because they want to just run and buck all over the place. There are a few Arrogates which will be put through the sales-ring this year including the foal by Song Bird.
Q: Do you expect to see the Arrogate foals head to Saudi and Dubai in the next few years?
A: Yes, definitely! If you want to compete in high-value races like the Dubai World Cup, The Saudi Cup, The Pegasus Cup, then you want to load up your barn with Arrogates, given that he won all those races. It's pretty exciting to have his offspring around as they have the same stride and personality as him. I believe they will be snapped right-up.
Q: What is the vision for Juddmonte Farms?
A: Prince Khaled has a clear-minded vision to breed horses that will race and win the very best races in the world. Arrogate, Frankel, Kingman, they were bred to win and that will continue.