All Options Open
By Dick Downey
Trainer Bill Mott said Sunday afternoon that Tacitus came out of his win of the Tampa Bay Derby in good shape. He's keeping his options open for the colt's next start.
The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland or the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park are all on the table. The Wood Memorial may have the inside track.
“He’s run in New York, so it’s very possible we could go there,” Mott said. Tacitus debuted at Belmont Park and broke his maiden sprinting at Aqueduct in November, his last start before his run in Tampa.
Mott also conditions Country House Hidden Scroll, and he'll want to keep the three horses separated, at least until the first Saturday in May.
“He stepped up to the plate, and it looked like he has moved forward from his 2-year-old year,” Mott said today. “He has certainly matured and is going in the right direction. The stakes record was a good thing, and I think Tampa was a good place for him to get a race in. It’s a good, safe racetrack and that should be a good conditioner for him.
“We really didn’t know what we had until we got into September and started putting a little more pressure on him and asking him, and I said, well, we’ve got to find out, let’s ask him the question, and he started to respond,” Mott said. “The tougher the training got, the better he got.
“Then we got two races in him and got a win out of him in the fall, and for the size of horse he is and the type of horse he is, I thought it was a big accomplishment to get that completed that early in the season.”
Mott said there's no way Tacitus will go straight into the Kentucky Derby.
“He’s got to run. This horse is a big, tough horse, and if we had to, we could run him twice more, but with this win under his belt, maybe that won’t be necessary. We’ll keep all the options open,” Mott said.
Outshine, Win Win Win
Outshine and Win Win Win, second and third in the Tampa Bay Derby, will stay on the Derby Trail. Trainer Todd Pletcher indicated the Wood Memorial is probably next for Outshine. Trainer Michael Trombetta said either the Wood Memorial or Toyota Blue Grass is on his radar.