The silks of Juddmonte Farms — green, pink sash, white sleeves, pink cap— have graced winner’s circles at major tracks all over the world. Prince Khalid Abdullah’s operation ranks right up there with Ireland’s Coolmore and Dubai’s Godolphin among the international owner-breeder superpowers.
Juddmonte has won dozens of Grade I and Group I grass races in North America and Europe, and in recent years has focused more on dirt racing. Arrogate, the 2016 champion 3-year-old colt, became the first to hit the Travers- Breeders’ Cup Classic double in the same year.
About the only place Juddmonte hasn’t been a major player is the Triple Crown. It’s winless in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and 1-for-2 (Empire Maker, 2003) in the Belmont Stakes.
Trainer Bill Mott’s only Belmont victory came with Drosselmeyer in 2010. On Saturday he’ll try for another with Juddmonte’s Tacitus, the 9-5 morning-line favorite. Tacitus finished fourth (placed third) in the Derby, in which Mott’s “other” entry, runner-up Country House, inherited the win on Maximum Security’s disqualification for interference.
Tacitus has been working strongly, and his pedigree says he should handle 1½ miles. Mott is hopeful he gets a smoother run than he had in the Derby.
“He had to alter course a lot of times, so he didn’t enjoy the cleanest of trips,” Mott said Tuesday. “He never got stopped, but he had to eat a lot of mud and dirt. The track was like pea soup that day, but he was moving very well at the end of the race.”