Conditioned by trainer Bill Mott for owner Juddmonte Farms Inc, the status of TACITUS running in this month's $20-million Saudi Cup remains only "probable".
If entered, he will likely face KNICKS GO, recent winner of the Pegasus World Cup, and CHARLATAN, runaway winner of last month's Malibu Stakes.
That pair figures to be the top favorites by considerable measure. But TACITUS might be the overlooked contender. If he repeats his ‘20 Saudi Cup effort, watch out.
TACITUS would be coming off of a four month layoff. He has been working consistently at Payson Park Training Center. He has not missed a work week, going back to December 31st, 2020.
As the world's richest horse race, the Saudi Cup is expected to attract a large field by race day. Last year there were fourteen horses. The distance of the race is 1 ? miles on the King Abdulaziz-KSA dirt surface.
What trip would be most advantageous to TACITUS? On his A-game, he's effective anywhere; he can run on the lead or toward the rear. We're so used to seeing him making a late run, yet one of his best Beyer's came from a front running effort in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a 101.
TACITUS has been a target of criticism for losing as the heavy chalk on numerous occasions. Yet he's been a model of sheer consistency.
Despite winning only three graded stakes races in his career, he's earned over $3.2 million for his connections - a considerable amount of those earnings coming from his place and show efforts. Put him against the toughest horses in the world - and he's faced them - it's still very easy to imagine him having a say in the stretch.
The obvious race scenario TACITUS could hope for is if CHARLATAN and KNICKS GO hook up in a duel and hit a wall, thereby allowing TACITUS to charge by them in the stretch. Can this happen? It's horse racing, you bet it can!
If he repeats last year's effort, it's not inconceivable. Nevertheless, we would still need to see which other horses emerge as competitors, and what they bring to the table.
Note that all the horses that finished ahead of TACITUS in last year's edition - MAXIMUM SECURITY, MIDNIGHT BISOU, MUCHO GUSTO, BENBATL - are not returning for the rematch. And we must still see if KNICKS GO and CHARLATAN take a liking to the track, which in TACITUS'S case has already been spoken for, positively.
The Saudi Cup is scheduled to run on February 20th, 2021.