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Breeders’ Cup Classic 2022: Time To Talk About Taiba, And His Chances Against The Big Boys


ForbesLife Breeders’ Cup Classic 2022: Time To Talk About Taiba, And His Chances Against The Big Boys Guy Martin Senior Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Following New! Follow this author to stay notified about their latest stories. Got it! Oct 31, 2022, 10:09pm EDT | New! Click on the conversation bubble to join the conversation Got it! Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin LOUISVILLE, KY – MAY 07: Taiba finishes in the 148th Kentucky Derby on May 07, 2022, at Churchill .

. . [+] Downs in Louisville, KY.

(Photo by Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Of the eight 2022 Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders, Taiba, seated as fourth favorite in the Keeneland morning line at 8-1, does look like he could bring a price, if not the winning run up against the two older horses, Flightline and Life Is Good. The Baffert-trained three-year-old colt has arguably had a roller-coaster ride getting to the gate on the rail, post position Number 1, in Saturday’s race. He rang in with a first in the 2022 Santa Anita Derby en route to Churchill Downs in May, but then he ran an exceedingly disappointing 12th in the Kentucky Derby, sat out the Preakness and the Belmont after that significant stumble.

Taiba is owned by Zedan Stables, whose owner, Amr Zedan has stuck by Bob Baffert during his recent banning in Kentucky and New York. After the Derby loss, Taiba spent the summer building back, first in the Haskell, where he ran second to Cyberknife, and most recently in the Pennsylvania Derby, where he handily beat both Zandon and Cyberknife to take the win. It’s that win that’s being factored in by the Keeneland oddsmakers to put him in the morning line just on the heels of Life Is Good, at 6-1.

(Post Position, Horse, Odds) 1) Taiba, 8-1 2) Life Is Good, 6-1 3) Happy Saver, 30-1 4) Flightline, 3-5 5) Hot Rod Charlie, 15-1 MORE FOR YOU $100M Magic: Why Bruno Mars And Other Stars Are Ditching Their Managers When Is A Cycle Not A Cycle: The Economist Magazine Flunks Semiconductors Inside Sean McVay’s Super Bowl-Size Los Angeles Mansion 6) Epicenter, 5-1 7) Olympiad, 10-1 8) Rich Strike, 20-1 (Source: Keeneland, 10/31/2022) But it’s arguably a bigger step up in the odds between Life Is Good and Taiba than the actual numbers would indicate. In addition to Flightline, arguably the best horse racing in America at the moment, Life Is Good was the notable horse in training at Keeneland in the runup to this week. Put another way, Taiba and Life is good are further apart, as runners, than their neighboring positions in the morning line odds tell us they are.

Although the dust has settled now around Baffert since his drug-related suspension, Taiba was affected by that, training originally with Baffert, then being moved to Tim Yakteen for the Kentucky Derby before returning to Baffert’s barn for the Haskell. Baffert chalked his Haskell place run up to a “rough trip. ” Still at Santa Anita last weekend, Baffert had Taiba breezed on October 29, when he went six furlongs in a flat 1:13.

Known as a somewhat difficult athlete in training, Baffert’s laconic cowboy estimation was that, “He’s not a great work horse, so he went with Messier. ” Messier clocked in at 1:13 as well. There are those favored horses in this year’s Classic who — with a little bit of extra effort and a few things going their way — have a solid shot at taking down Flightline.

A case could be made that Life Is Good and Epicenter are those kinds of rivals. For all his accomplishments, Taiba is not one of them. He’s not raced against horses of Flightline’s caliber, so, first, that will require a step up in sheer athletic effort.

At the same time, at least three things will have to take place for Taiba in those two minutes to make that extra effort pay off at the wire. First, Flightline will have to overextend himself in some kind of match race against whomever becomes the speed early in the race, so that he cannot pour it on in his dominant fashion late in the race. That’s actually never happened before.

Second, Life Is Good will have to run out of gas, at the latest, at the top of the stretch. Finally, with those two out of the way, Epicenter will have to figure out a way to fail as well, leaving Taiba, with his step up, ready to swoop in and pick up the pieces. Suffice it to say, the likelihood of all three of those possibilities happening simultaneously in the two minutes after the Classic’s break on Saturday afternoon is low.

Guy Martin Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions.

From: forbes

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