Kentucky Derby Preview: All Eyes On Taiba
The 2022 Kentucky Derby is on May 7th with post time at 6:57 p.m. ET. Using TVG projections and Horse Racing Nation as a guide, here are the horse profiles for America’s biggest and most popular race.
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As always, check the program for racing information after the post position draw on May 2nd, and monitor the weather and track conditions.
(I will reference Equibase's Speed Figure and BRIS and Beyer speed figures, which tells you how fast a horse has been running in each of its races -- adjusted for track, distances, and conditions.)
Morning Line Odds: 12/1
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Trained by Tim Yakteen and ridden by jockey Mike Smith, Taiba was installed at 12/1 on the morning line odds, breaking from post No. 12. Taiba has just two races under his saddle. In his Santa Anita Derby victory last month, Taiba made a strong stretch run to overtake Messier, a leading contender in the Derby. Watch the tote board on Derby Day, as pari-mutuel wagering will fluctuate from the morning line odds and Taiba could take more action.
Taiba posted a strong 102 Equibase Speed Figure in his Maiden debut win in March. He then matched it in winning the Santa Anita Derby to secure his spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby.
The son of champion Gun Runner produced a stunning BRIS Speed Rating figure of 110 in winning the Santa Anita Derby. This is just so unprecedented in just his second career start. That number was the second best speed rating figure produced in a Derby prep behind Mo Donegal.
The added ground he’ll take on at Churchill Downs is not the concern for this brilliant colt. It's more about too much too soon and how he handles having dirt kicked in his face now facing a field of more than seven runners for the first time. All this is noted by key Derby insiders and Horse Racing Nation, who adds that Taiba’s risk of a regression without foundation is high.
Like the top contenders above and the two morning line favorites Zandon and Epicenter, Taiba does meet some key trends and respected metrics in horse racing when determining a contender or winner of the Kentucky Derby. His best Beyer Speed Figure is 103, and his best BRIS Speed Rating at 110.
History shows that 27 of the last 30 Kentucky Derby winners (90.0%) have entered the race with a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of at least 95. Also, 18 of the past 22 Kentucky Derby winners (81.8%) had a BRIS Speed Rating of at least 100 prior to the race.