Baffert: Penn Derby favorite Taiba is 'figuring it all out'

Baffert: Penn Derby favorite Taiba is 'figuring it all out'
Photo: Nikki Sherman / EQUI-PHOTO

In his brief career, Taiba has shown enormous potential. And, on occasion, extreme talent.

The son of Gun Runner has shipped to Parx from trainer Bob Baffert’s California base and was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite by track racing secretary David Osojnak for Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby.

Taiba, owned by Zedan Racing Stables, is the most lightly raced colt among the 11 runners in the 1 1/8-mile Derby, with two wins and a second in four career starts.

“This horse is just learning how to run,” Baffert said. “He is just figuring it all out.”

After breaking his maiden by 7 1/2 lengths in his first start March 5, Taiba jumped into the deep end of the pool when he ran in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). And Taiba certainly liked the water as he was a no-doubt-about-it winner by 2 1/4 lengths.

He flubbed in the Kentucky Derby when he was 17th. He re-emerged in early summer and was back, finishing second, beaten a head by Pennsylvania Derby rival Cyberknife in the Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park.

Baffert was very encouraged by that effort and expects big things Saturday.

“I have seen a more willingness in his works,” Baffert said. “I love the fact that he’s a fighter. He won’t razzle-dazzle you in the mornings, but you will get a fight from him. He just fights.”

When asked whether Taiba reminds him of any other horse he has trained, Baffert did not hesitate in saying Silver Charm, who won the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness for him.

“He has a lot of talent,” Baffert said. “He has always had that.”

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