News and STORIES

Belmont Preparations Underway, Met Mile Could Be Race of the Year

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Monday May 27, 2019

Tacitus And Master Fencer Work
Wood Memorial winner Tacitus breezed over the main track May 26 at Belmont Park, working in company with Multiplier in preparation for the Belmont Stakes. Both horses covered five furlongs in 1:00.16. Tacitus, piloted by Jose Ortiz, galloped out strong in front of his graded stakes-winning stablemate.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for owner/breeder Juddmonte Farms, Tacitus rallied from 16th at the half-mile call in the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) to finish fourth. He was elevated to third after the disqualification of Maximum Security.

“It was very good, very even; I liked the rhythm of it—:12, :12, :12, :12. Each furlong was in about :12, and he went out six furlongs in about 1:12, so I thought it was a very steady, solid work,” Mott told

Katsumi Yoshizawa’s homebred Master Fencer, a rail-rallying sixth in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Koichi Tsunoda, jogged at Belmont Park for the first time Sunday morning. Racing manager Mitsuoki Numamoto, translating on behalf of training assistant Yosuke Kono, said the talented Japan-bred son of Just a Way enjoyed the experience.

Master Fencer had one lap of jogging on the training track, with a jog and light gallop at the main track as his schooling,” Numamoto told “The horse was very fresh and energized because of his day off yesterday and shows no tiredness from shipment. Since the surface is pretty similar to Japan dirt, he seems OK for this surface.”

Sad News To Report
Jockey Euclyn “Pede” Prentice Jr. died shortly after midnight Monday when his car collided with a public transit bus in Florence, Ky. He was 28. Prentice, a native of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, won 256 North American races, according to Equibase, and had ridden in five races Sunday at Belterra Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.

According to Cincinnati’s FOX19, Prentice was extricated from his car and transported to a local hospital. Nobody on the bus was injured. The accident is under further investigation.

In a statement, Belterra Park said, “We are saddened by the passing of Euclyn ‘Pede’ Prentice Jr. We send our deepest sympathies to Pede’s family and the entire racing community.”

Turfway Park, another of Prentice Jr.’s regular tracks, said, “We are heartbroken at this tragic news and offer condolences and prayers for Pede’s family at home and his racetrack family here in Kentucky and Ohio. Rest in blessed peace, Pede.”

Met Mile Becomes More Stacked
Pavel, fourth to Thunder Snow in each of the last two runnings of the Dubai World Cup, will make his next start in the Grade 1, $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap on June 8, trainer Doug O’Neill said Monday.

Pavel, who won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster in his second start after running fourth in the 2018 Dubai World Cup, is the sixth Grade 1 winner to commit to the race, joining Thunder Snow, McKinzie, Mitole, Promises Fulfilled, and Firenze Fire. Coal Front, winner of the Grade 2 Godolphin Mile, is also confirmed to run.

Pavel will be shortening up to a one-turn race for the first time since he finished fourth to City of Light in the Grade 1 Malibu in December 2017. Pavel won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race in his career debut at Santa Anita earlier that year.

“We’re excited. I think that’s a perfect distance for him,” O’Neill told Monday. Of the Dubai World Cup performance, O’Neill said, “I thought he ran dynamite. He got beat less than four lengths by some of the best horses in the world.”