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Why Tacitus Is a Play Against in the 2019 Kentucky Derby

Why Tacitus Is a Play Against in the 2019 Kentucky Derby

Tacitus will likely be one of the top choices on the first Saturday in May, but I want to lay out several reasons why he will be a play against for me in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Kentucky Derby Picks

Tacitus is coming out of the Wood Memorial (G2) which has not been very productive of late as a Kentucky Derby prep race. The Wood has not produced the winner of the Kentucky Derby since 2000 when Fusaichi Pegasus crossed the line first at Churchill Downs. Listed below are the winners of the Wood since 2013 (Kentucky Derby points system installed) and their finish in the Derby:

Kentucky Derby Picks

Tacitus also won the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), however, this race has also not been the most productive prep for horses looking to win the Kentucky Derby. In fact, the Tampa Derby has produced just TWO Kentucky Derby winners in its 38-year existence, Street Sense in 2007 and Super Saver in 2010 (3rd).

On the other hand, three Kentucky Derby prep races have produced all of the winners of the Derby since the point system was installed in 2013:

Kentucky Derby Picks

The horses in this year’s field from those three preps are:

  • Maximum Security Florida Derby Winner
  • Roadster Santa Anita Derby Winner
  • Omaha Beach Arkansas Derby Winner (SCRATCHED)

Another reason I will be against the Wood Memorial winner is his connection’s records in the Derby. He is trained by Bill Mott, who is an excellent Hall of Fame trainer, but his record in the Derby is not great. Below is a list of Mott’s starters and their finish in the Derby:

Kentucky Derby Picks

The sire of Tacitus, Tapit, is another fantastic connection to this horse that has not had the best of luck in the Derby. He has had several runners in the Derby, but a Tapit’s highest finish in the Derby has been 4th. Additionally, Jose Ortiz, who will ride Tacitus in the Derby, only has four Derby mounts in his young career thus far:

Kentucky Derby Picks

I think very highly of Jose Ortiz, but with the trip Tacitus will have to get to win this race, it will be tough on this young jock. 

Get in-depth Kentucky Derby coverage from professional handicappers in our Inside Track to the Kentucky Derby wagering guide!

Lastly, the final reason I really want to take a stand against Tacitus is the projected average to slow pace. As Saratoga Slim has posted in his 2019 Kentucky Derby Pace Thesis, he projects the race to have average early fractions. This will favor the horses on or near the lead. Tacitus is categorized as a Presser by the Brisnet speed ratings which puts him in the third pack of horse right ahead of the stalkers/closers. With slow fractions up front, I just do not see him being able to make up enough ground on the turn and entering the stretch to catch the leaders. 

For all the above-listed reasons I will be against Tacitus this Saturday!

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