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Taiba give Baffert fifth Malibu S. (G1) victory
Monday, December 26, 2022

Taiba staked his claim for 3-year-old championship honors with a dominating win in the $300,000 Malibu S. (G1) on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita Park.

Taiba now has Grade 1 wins in the Pennsylvania Derby and Santa Anita Derby, as well as a very narrow loss in the Haskell Inv. (G1) on his 2022 resume. His overall mark now stands at 4-1-1 in seven starts, with earnings of $1,956,200.

Taiba, who was making his first one-turn start since his debut in March, was hustled out of the gate by Mike Smith and chased Forbidden Kingdom though a half-mile in :44.38. He confronted the front-runner at the top of the stretch, and after a tussle with him and Straight No Chaser, Taiba strode away powerfully in the final furlong to win by 4 ¼-lengths in 1:21.75 for the seven furlongs.

"At the top of the stretch, it almost looks like he's gutted," trainer Bob Baffert said. "But that's the way he is. He's very deceiving. If you watch him in the mornings, he'll never get a clocker's eye. He'll surprise you in the afternoon."

Baffert trains Taiba for Amr Zedan's Zedan Racing Stables, who bought the colt for $1.7 million at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-old Sale.

Baffert also noted that Taiba’s running style is similar to Silver Charm, winner of the 1997 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1).

Baffert 2013