Tacitus surged to a 1 1/4 length victory in the Grade 2, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday and secured his spot in the gate for the Kentucky Derby. Under Jose Ortiz, the son of Tapit split horses in deep stretch and found his way to the rail to power past a wall of horses and into the winner’s circle.
Zenden and Samy Camacho flew out of the gate and opened up on the field as Well Defined ran a length or two behind in second and Outshine tracked in third. It was a long way back to the rest, as they peeled off a 1/4 mile in 22.79 and the positions remained unchanged through a 1/2 mile in 45.85.
As they straightened for home, Zenden was still in front but had a host of pursuers around him with Outshine and Tacitus going best of all. Tacitus went on with it sweetly and Outshine ran a great second. 7/5 favorite, Win Win Win, acted up before the race and was outrun early in the contest. He was tipped to the far outside by Irad Ortiz, Jr., in deep stretch and began to advance on the leaders, but would finish third.
Tacitus had only run twice before The Tampa Bay Derby and he broke his maiden in his second start on Nov. 10 at Aqueduct. There was obviously no sign of rust from his 4-month layoff and it looked like he liked his first taste of Lasix on Saturday too.
Tacitus went off at 8/1 and completed the 1 1/16 mile in 1:41.90 and set a new stakes record while doing so, breaking the previous record that was held by Tapwrit since 2017.
Second place finisher Outshine really impressed me by not folding in the lane after chasing fast fractions. He held and finished well and wasn’t intimidated by a messy stretch run and should be much better educated for his next outing.