Bob Baffert-trained Taiba wins $1-million Pennsylvania Derby

Taiba, the runaway winner of the Santa Anita Derby, earned his second Grade 1 win when he won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday. Gun Runner’s 3-year-old son took a stalking position for most of the 1-1/8-mile race at Parx, near Philadelphia, before going off the rail and walking into the middle of the track, which Entered track and won race by three lengths.

Taiba increased his winnings to just over $1.2 million, approaching his $1.7 million purchase price as a 2-year-old. Owned by Amr Zedan, who owned disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, he is trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith.

He beat a high-profile field in a race involving four other Kentucky Derby contestants.

Taiba was the favorite, paying $4.80, $3.00, and $2.60. Zandon, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes, finished second and Cyberknife, winner of the Arkansas Derby and Haskell Stakes, finished third. The rest of the field, in order of finish, consisted of Simplification, White Abarrio, B Dawk, Naval Aviator, We the People, Skippylongstocking, Tawny Port and Icy Storm.

“That was exciting,” Baffert told Parx media staff. “He did it. He ran his race. He’s getting better and better. … He proved he’s a good horse. It was his last chance to run a grade 1 against 3-year-olds and it was a tough race , a good field.

“I was a bit worried when he was on the inside because he doesn’t like being on the inside. When he tipped out, he just bolted.”

Taiba broke onto the scene with a first win by 7½ lengths in Santa Anita. At that point, he needed points to get into the Kentucky Derby, and Baffert was unable to earn Derby points because of a dispute with Churchill Downs over the validity of Medina Spirit’s win after a positive drug test. Taiba was moved to the stable of Tim Yakteen who took him to a big win in just his second race.

Yakteen then took Taiba to the Kentucky Derby where he placed 12th.

After Baffert returned from his 90-day suspension due to the positive Medina Spirit test, Taiba was promoted back to the Hall of Fame coach and finished second to Cyberknife after a very difficult journey through a header in the Haskell Stakes.

Baffert said, “If all goes well,” Taiba’s next race could be the Breeder’s Cup Classic, a tough task given the competition from older horses.

“I’m not looking forward to competing against Life Is Good and Flightline,” he said. “Those are two very fast horses.” Bob Baffert-trained Taiba wins $1-million Pennsylvania Derby

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