Former Baffert trainee Taiba wins Santa Anita Derby

Arcadia, Calif.

An government final decision by proprietor Amr Zedan to enter Taiba in the Santa Anita Derby compensated off handsomely on Saturday when the one-start out maiden winner prevailed in the $750,000, Quality 1 at Santa Anita.

Coach Tim Yakteen, who beforehand had began only a person horse in the Santa Anita Derby, ran 1-2 with former Baffert runners. Messier, the slight second decision, put away front-operating beloved Forbidden Kingdom on the second change after urgent the speed but could not keep off Taiba and Corridor of Famer Mike Smith in the remaining 200 yards.

From a jubilant winner’s circle, Yakteen discussed the decision to enter Taiba, who was a $1.7 million auction buy final calendar year as a 2-year-old.

“There was no setting up (to enter),” stated Yakteen, who earlier saddled Bench Factors to a seventh-place complete in the 2011 Santa Anita Derby. “But Amr manufactured it extremely clear. He overruled me and overruled (bloodstock agent) Gary Youthful. We informed him the issues that might get area by undertaking some thing like this.

“But he had all the self-confidence in the globe and required to give the Derby a further go. Which is what he’s in the game for.”

At final year’s Kentucky Derby, Zedan’s Medina Spirit crossed the wire initial for coach Bob Baffert. But he was subsequently disqualified right after tests beneficial for the controlled medicine betamethasone, which is banned on race day in Kentucky.

Baffert commenced a 90-day suspension on Monday as a result of the Derby infraction. Yakteen, a former Baffert assistant, took around the schooling obligations of a number of of the Hall of Famer’s major 3-yr-olds.

With the gain, Taiba earned 100 factors to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Messier, who completed 2 1/4 lengths back again in 2nd, acquired 40 details and now ranks No. 18 on the Derby leaderboard. There are at the moment five horses with 40 details, but Messier wins the tiebreaker primarily based on non-limited stakes earnings. 

Extensive pictures Pleased Jack (26-1) and Armagnac (72-1) rounded out the superfecta. Delighted Jack now has 30 Derby points for coach Doug O’Neil, which is just outside the house the top 20. Forbidden Kingdom, the even-money favorite dependent off his dominant gain in very last month’s San Felipe (G2), light to final of six just after setting fractions of 23.23, 46.66 and 1:10.93 for six furlongs.

“It is tricky to put into words what (Taiba) just attained,” Yakteen stated. “It normally takes an remarkable, outstanding horse. Messier ran lights out. So that was a rough horse to collar heading a mile-and-an-eighth when (Taiba) had only operate 6 furlongs.”

The closing time for 1 1/8 miles on a fast keep track of was a sharp 1:48.67.

Smith, a two-time Kentucky Derby winner, now will have his 27th mount in the 1 1/4-mile classic at Churchill Downs on Could 7.

“Every now and then a special 1 arrives all-around,” Smith explained of Taiba. “And it just take a specific just one to do what he just did currently.”

Taiba broke sharply from the outdoors publish but uncovered himself a few to four wide on the to start with flip. Messier and John Velazquez would progress to stalk Forbidden Kingdom down the bottom and seized the guide approaching the quarter pole.

https://www.youtube.com/look at?v=QRbZRVRW__g

In the meantime, Taiba experienced taken goal at the two leaders. Messier would proceed to direct into deep extend, but rolling on the exterior came Taiba to pull off the gentle upset at 4 to 1.

Velazquez explained he experienced anticipated Taiba to be pressuring Forbidden Kingdom, but he did not attribute the improve in practices to Messier’s defeat.

“I took a prospect when (Taiba) failed to go with that other horse,” Velazquez. “But I was accomplishing it pretty uncomplicated, so I are not able to say it was that. I imagine (Taiba) just ran a improved race nowadays.”

Taiba is a son of Gun Runner out of the Flatter mare Needmore Flattery. He was procured for seven figures at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-yr-olds in training sale.

On-keep track of attendance on a warm day at Santa Anita was 26,736.