Seven-Figure Gun Runner Colt an Obvious 'Rising Star'

Taiba | Benoit Photo

Taiba (Gun Runner–Needmore Flatter, by Flatter) emerged as the latest standout for trainer Bob Baffert and Zedan Racing Stables as he ran to a hefty price tag as well as plenty of wagering dollars to be named a 'TDN Rising Star'. A $140,000 FTKOCT yearling turned last year's Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream second topper at $1.7 million thanks to a powerful :10 1/5 work, the overwhelming 1-2 favorite broke well, but had to settle for a pressing spot in between rivals early. Jockey John Velazquez tapped on the gas entering the bend and Taiba took a narrow lead at that point with stablemate Mauritius (Twirling Candy) also up joining the fray three deep. The Baffert runners looked to have the race all to themselves after a :45.69 half, but it quickly became a one-horse affair as Taiba leveled off and exploded with efficient strides to run up the score to 7 1/2 lengths. He stopped the clock in 1:09.97. Mauritius held second.

Owner Amr Zedan's relatively young racing operation has already campaigned the likes of fellow seven-figure juvenile buy turned 'Rising Star' and GISW Princess Noor (Not This Time), as well as ill-fated and DQ'd GI Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit (Protonico).

Taiba becomes the fourth 'TDN Rising Star' for last year's standout freshman sire (by Candy Ride {Arg})–Gun Runner's two other 'Rising Stars' who are not last year's champion juvenile filly Echo Zulu are also out of mares by A.P. Indy-line stallions.

MSW dam Needmore Flattery (Flatter) racked up more than $730,000 having never earned better than a 75 Beyer Speed Figure competing mostly in Ohio-bred company. Her first foal is a still-unraced 4-year-old son of Uncle Mo, and she sold to Leopoldo Fernández Pujals's Yeguada Centurion for $195,000 at KEENOV '19 before being exported to France and foaling a filly by Uncle Mo.

2nd-Santa Anita, $68,000, Msw, 3-5, 3yo, 6f, 1:09.97, ft, 7 1/2 lengths.
TAIBA, c, 3, Gun Runner
               1st Dam: Needmore Flattery (MSW, $732,103), by Flatter
                2nd Dam: Kiosk, by Left Banker
                3rd Dam: Phone Switch, by Phone Trick
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $40,200. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG. Free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
O-Zedan Racing Stables, Inc.; B-Bruce C Ryan (KY); T-Bob Baffert. *$140,000 Ylg '20 FTKOCT; $1,700,000 2yo '21 FTFMAR.

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