TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders


10) TAIBA (c, Gun Runner–Needmore Flattery, by Flatter) 'TDN Rising Star' O-Zedan Racing Stables Inc. B-Bruce C Ryan (KY). T-Tim Yakteen. Sales History: $140,000 Ylg '20 FTKOCT; $1,700,000 2yo '21 FTFMAR. Lifetime Record: GISW, 2-2-0-0, $490,200. Last Start: 1st GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby. KY Derby Points: 100. Post 12, 12-1.

Generational super-freak or over-hyped horse being asked for too much too soon? 'TDN Rising Star' Taiba ($140,000 FTKOCT; $1.7 million FTFMAR) is the compelling conundrum of this year's Derby based on two scorching triple-digit Beyer wins that have suggested sky's-the-limit potential.

But this Gun Runner colt's career arc dates only to Mar. 5, and also includes a brief stint on Santa Anita's vet list for being “unsound” after his debut win. He later posted three workouts and rather unexpectedly won the Santa Anita Derby with a smooth, sustained stretch run that looked like it was executed by a more seasoned horse.

Now he'll be shipping for the first time and dealing with a crowded field under possibly wet conditions–all experiences he's yet to encounter in SoCal. Since we don't have much to go on based on Taiba's scant past performances, we have to scrutinize them in more granular fashion. In that vein, it's worth noting that all six rivals Taiba beat in his maiden win have come back to make subsequent starts. Not a single one has won (two were second), and none of them even went off favored despite exiting what appeared to be the most powerful MSW race for 3-year-olds at the meet.


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