Tacitus Draws Six As Favorite in 12-Horse Travers


Tacitus (outside) working at SaratogaSarah Andrew

Juddmonte Farms’ Tacitus (Tapit), seemingly on the precipice of top-level success all spring, will break from post six and was installed the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s GI Runhappy Travers S. during the post position draw for the Midsummer Derby held Tuesday evening in downtown Saratoga.

“We’re in the middle and you can get a good trip from that post or a bad trip from that post,” trainer Bill Mott said of Tacitus’s draw. “We’re hoping for the good trip.”

Tacitus stumbled badly and appeared to lose all chance at the start of the July 27 GII Jim Dandy S., but ran a gritty race to be second, beaten just 3/4 lengths by Tax (Arch).

“As badly as he stumbled in the Jim Dandy, he really could have done some damage,” Mott said. “If he would have reached up and grabbed a quarter or he could have grabbed himself badly, but I’m glad he didn’t do a somersault in that race or do some damage. He has come back very good and is training well.”

Tacitus, winner of the GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and GII Wood Memorial S. earlier this year, closed to be fourth (promoted to third) in the GI Kentucky Derby and was an unlucky runner-up after a wide trip in the GI Belmont S. After his misfortune in the Jim Dandy, Mott is ready to see his charge excel in the Travers.

“He’s run well enough,” Mott said. “I think we’re just looking for that breakout race and for him to have his day in the sun. Hopefully the Travers will be that day.”

Tacitus will be adding blinkers for Saturday’s 1 1/4-mile race.

“We’ve actually added some blinkers to his last couple of works and I thought they helped him focus a little bit,” Mott said.

W.S. Farish’s Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}) was made the second choice at 4-1 and drew post two, while the other horses in single digits are Rupp Racing’s Owendale (Into Mischief), who pulled the rail at 6-1, Michael Lund Petersen’s Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man), also 6-1 from post seven, and Jim Dandy winner Tax (Arch), at 6-1 from the far-outside post.

Colorful trainer Danny Gargan admitted he wasn’t happy with Tax’s outside draw and made no secret of his plans to have his planned tactics for the race.

“I really don’t like it,” Gargan said of his post 12. “But what are you going to do? Now if he wins this one, they won’t underrate him, right? We are going to see how fast they are now. Somebody’s going to have to be real fast because I’m going to have to heat it up. I have no choice from the 12 hole. I’m going to break running, so whoever is going better be ready.”

The full Travers field from the rail out with morning lines, is as follows: Owendale (Into Mischief), 6-1; Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}), 4-1; Highest Honors (Tapit), 10-1; Laughing Fox (Union Rags), 30-1; Everfast (Take Charge Indy), 30-1; Tacitus (Tapit), 5-2; Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man), 6-1; Chess Chief (Into Mischief), 30-1; Lookin At Bikinis (Lookin at Lucky), 10-1; Scars Are Cool (Malibu Moon), 30-1; Endorsed (Medaglia d’Oro), 15-1; and Tax (Arch), 6-1.

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