Perhaps not coincidentally, Tacitus comes from the same fountainhead as does the other headliner so far on the Triple Crown trail, Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford (USA-II) winner War of Will. Both trace back to the modern matriarch Best in Show, War of Will through her Sir Ivor daughter Minnie Hauk and Tacitus through Minnie Hauk's full sister Monroe.
Of the sisters, Monroe was definitely the better racer. After placing in the Gallaghouse Phoenix Stakes (IRE-I) at 2, Monroe won the Ballyogan Stakes (IRE-III) at 3 and was first or second in all but one of her eight starts. She continued her winning ways as a broodmare, producing four stakes winners including 1997 European champion 2-year-old male Xaar (by Zafonic). Adding icing to the cake, six of her seven daughters produced stakes winners. The best producer among them, as might have been expected, was Group III winner Diese (by Diesis), whose three stakes winners include multiple Grade I winner Senure (by Nureyev).
Stakes-placed Silver Star, a full sister to Xaar, was less distinguished in the paddocks, as listed stakes winner Barsanti (by Champs Elysees) was her only black-type winner. It was left to her winning Storm Cat daughter Rising Tornado to carry on, and carry on she did by producing Close Hatches as her first foal. The daughter of First Defence was a very good 3-year-old, winning the Mother Goose Stakes (USA-I) and Cotillion Stakes (USA-I). At 4, she added three more Grade I wins and was voted an Eclipse Award as American champion older female. Rising Tornado later produced Close Hatches' full sister Lockdown, a Grade I-placed stakes winner, and is still in active production; her most recent foal is a 2018 colt by Pioneerof the Nile.
In the meantime, Close Hatches has wasted no time going about her dynastic duties, producing Tacitus as her first foal. After winning at second asking on November 10 at Aqueduct, the big, growthy son of Tapit was not seen again until the Tampa Bay Derby. Trainer Bill Mott seldom moves a horse that rapidly up the class ladder without having good reason for confidence in the results, and his confidence was justified when the Juddmonte homebred found an opening late on the rail and powered through. The final time for one and one-sixteenth miles was 1:41.90, erasing the stakes record of 1:42.36 set by eventual Belmont Stakes (USA-I) winner Tapwrit in 2017 and just .15 second off the track record.
With three Belmont Stakes winners and a Belmont runner-up already to his credit, Tapit obviously has no trouble getting a horse that can stay classic distances, so there are only two real questions facing Tacitus with regards to a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (USA-I): whether he can avoid injury, and whether he is good enough. As for Close Hatches, she has since produced the 2017 filly Atheer (by Malibu Moon), a yearling full brother to Tacitus, and a 2019 colt by two-time American Horse of the Year Curlin. With continued matings at this level, she will continue to have every chance of extending the history of her distinguished family.