Kentucky Derby 2019 Daily: Mott may have ‘the right ones’

April 21, 2019 03:49pm

Welcome to Horse Racing Nation’s Kentucky Derby Daily, which will each day leading up to the May 4 race at Churchill Downs detail all the news and notes related to contenders in one convenient space.

As reporters surrounded trainer Bill Mott on Sunday morning at Churchill Downs, Hofburg walked the shedrow behind him. Last year, the Hall of Famer figured he had a live shot at the Kentucky Derby, and he believes the outcome may have been different than a seventh-place finish if his horse didn’t run into traffic at the wrong time.

That was career Derby starter No. 8 for Mott. In Tacitus and Country House, he’ll add two more to the list, and Mott said “they look like they might be the right ones.”

He doesn’t often think about it — that a Derby win is one of the few things missing from his resume.

“Only when everybody reminds me about that, you know what I mean?” Mott said. “…I’m not in a panic to do it. We’ll do our best, and if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.”


Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and Wood Memorial (G2) winner Tacitus is due to breeze, likely on Monday, under the Twin Spires. Country House placed in two major preps, having run third in the recent Arkansas Derby (G1), and is just getting back to serious training.

“I think we’ve got two legitimate horses,” Mott said. “My guess is they’ll both get the 10 furlongs in pretty good order. They seem like they’re bred for that job, and they look like they’re the type with a running style that will suit the mile and a quarter. We’re definitely excited.”

Mott said that going back to last summer, Tacitus and Country House were workmates before their 2-year-old debuts.

“They were very steady, solid horses, but it wasn’t until probably September that we got after them enough,” he said. “We asked them to show us a little more, and they both responded.”


Tacitus, lightly raced, has won his last three starts after a fourth on debut. The Tapit colt is out of Close Hatches, a champion Mott also trained.

Country House, by Lookin At Lucky, made his one career win in six starts a good one, rallying to win Jan. 17 at Gulfstream Park after left at the break.

And if either breaks through on May 4?

“They say the feeling’s pretty good, I guess, to get up there and accept that Derby trophy,” Mott said. “I’d like to find out myself. I can’t tell you what it’s like or what it would be like if it were to happen — ever.

“I’ll enjoy the opportunity if it comes.”

Derby links

 The Kentucky Derby news of the day: a bit of maintenance on the likely favorite, Omaha Beach, who had his quarter crack patched.

 Matt Shifman’s early Kentucky Derby odds and analysis include his thoughts on who you can already plan to toss from tickets.

 For more on Kentucky Derby horses’ Sunday doings, Churchill Downs provides its update on contenders stabled locally.

In case you missed it…

Saturday’s Derby Daily report focused on Roadster’s new rider, Florent Geroux, and why he’s a fit for the Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner.


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