On the morning after Belmont Stakes favorite Tacitus closed strongly but still was beaten by a length, trainer Bill Mott remained disheartened but philosophical.
“I think the horse ran okay. We were the recipient of a wide trip and the winner got a golden trip. I think the trip made the difference. He was wide. He was going fast, and it was probably hard to tell how fast he was going because he was going so wide and was trying to carry himself all the way around everybody. The fact is, he ran well and we can't do it over,” said the Hall of Famer. “Tacitus certainly hasn't disgraced himself at any point. Even in the (Kentucky) Derby, where he was fourth and then was moved up to third, he ran well. And he ran well yesterday. I think most anybody who saw the race yesterday probably knew that with a different trip the outcome would have been different.”
Mott is looking forward to the remainder of the season and the big races on the calendar.
“For sure there are a lot of dances left in the second half of the year. I hope there are good things still to come for him,” he said.
Mott also has a lot to look forward to with Country House, the adjudged Kentucky Derby winner. He said both horses will be stabled at Saratoga within the next couple of weeks and that the Juddmonte Farms' homebred Tacitus may possibly be ready to return for the Grade 2 Jim Dandy or the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers Stakes.
“Country House is doing well. He's isn't back breezing yet, but he is back galloping and is going to the track every day,” said Mott, who was less definitive about the schedule for the Derby winner, who is recovering from an illness that kept him out of the Belmont. “Keeping them separate is probably going to be impossible. I think that at some point both are going to be running in the same types of races. If they both need to run in a particular race I'm not going to separate them. If it's a prep race or something like it, naturally you'd like to separate them but if it's a Grade 1 race, if they need to run against each other, it's like, you know what? You've got to be fair to both ownerships and give them their best chance.”
Mott won his first Kentucky Derby this year and was gracious in defeat as he offered congratulations to Mark Casse on his Belmont win.
“I thought Mark had a big shot but I didn't think that one [Sir Winston] was going to be the one. I didn't know it would be this one. I guess that's what keeps the game interesting. I'm glad for Mark. He's won two legs of the Triple Crown [with Preakness winner and ninth place Belmont finisher War of Will] and he's done it fair and square,” he said.
Both trainers are aware that they're on course to meet again with their charges in the Jim Dandy and/or the Travers during the upcoming Saratoga season.
“We're just going to keep trying. I think both horses are good horses. They showed up for the Triple Crown races. The two of them have run good both times. You can't say Tacitus is horrible. He's run well. I think he's a nice horse, and with that being said, and hopefully, I'm right, he'll just get better and better as time goes on,” said Mott, who reported that Tacitus felt fine and looked good on Sunday morning.
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