Belmont favorite Tacitus caught wide, ends 2nd

Horse Racing

NEW YORK — Tacitus was well rested for a run on his home track. It just didn’t work out.

The favored Tacitus finished second to Sir Winston in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. The 3-year-old colt, who skipped the Preakness after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby, had one of the worst trips of his career.

He was caught wide under jockey Jose Ortiz and made a late charge from eighth place before falling a length short of the winner in the 1½-mile race. Trainer Bill Mott wasn’t happy with his horse’s race, saying he would need to watch the replay to analyze what happened.

“We did have a bit of a wide trip, which you never like,” he said. “He came running and looked like he was traveling better than anybody. We planned to try and be in contention at the quarter pole and he was. He just couldn’t get there.”

Tacitus had the outside post in the 10-horse field and Ortiz said he followed War of Will, who was the second choice. But the Preakness winner flattened out and finished ninth in the race.

“I think if War of Will had a little bit, Sir Winston would have never come out of there, but unfortunately War of Will was a little bit flat on the turn,” Ortiz said.

Mott was trying to win two legs of the Triple Crown with different horses. Mott’s Country House won the Kentucky Derby after Maximum Security was disqualified. This time the breaks didn’t fall the Hall of Famer’s way.

“I can’t give any other excuses other than we’ll see how much ground we lost,” he said.

Mott last trained a Belmont Stakes winner nine years ago, when Drosselmeyer was victorious.

Tacitus had raced at Belmont once, a fourth-place finish in his first race. He went from there to his first victory in his second race and followed that up with wins in the Tampa Bay Derby and Wood Memorial before running in the Kentucky Derby.

Tacitus is the son of Tapit, who had fathered three of the previous five Belmont winners. Tapit would have become just the second horse to sire four winners at Belmont, joining Lexington.

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