AGOS Horses to Watch: Santa Anita Derby Won by Taiba

Trainer Tim Yakteen runs 1-2 in the major California prep for the Kentucky Derby

Forbidden Kingdom got the early lead and dictated the pace.  However, he flipped his epiglottis and backed up abruptly turning for home. Messier, who was tracking that one through a quick pace, took over but could not hold off stablemate Taiba.  The son of Gunrunner, described as a “superhorse” by Yakteen mowed that one down in the lane in a very impressive finish.  His final 1/8th of a mile was sub 12.50. Legendary jock Mike Smith was the winning rider aboard Taiba, this year’s Santa Anita Derby champ.

The top two finishers, of course, were previously trained by Bob Baffert.

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Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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