Days after Spendthrift Farm announced multiple grade 1 winner Taiba would be joining its stallion roster for 2024, Zedan Racing Stables' multimillionaire was retired from racing, the farm announced Sept. 18. The 4-year-old son of Gun Runner has taken up residency at the Lexington farm, where he will stand for an introductory fee of $35,000 with a stands and nurses guarantee. Taiba is available for inspection by appointment.
"There are very few stallion prospects that tick all the boxes, to use the old cliché. Taiba is certainly one of those horses that possesses everything commercial breeders are looking for today, and we believe he will be wildly popular," said Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey. "We are grateful to Mr. Zedan for the opportunity to stand such an exciting horse.
"Taiba will be afforded every resource necessary to have a successful stallion career, and we think he has a big chance to hopefully replicate some of the good fortune we've had in recent years in terms of developing young sires. We invite all breeders to make an appointment with one of our sales guys to come out and see him. He's really a stunning individual," added Toffey.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Taiba was a leading 3-year-old in North America in 2022, finishing second to Epicenter in the Eclipse Awards voting for champion 3-year-old male honors. A $1.7 million 2-year-old purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale, he broke his maiden on debut at 3 by 7 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita Park, where he stopped the clock in 1:09.97 for six furlongs and earned a 103 Equibase Speed Figure.
Taiba returned five weeks later to win the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in just his second start and first around two turns. His 2 1/4-length victory in 1:48.46 for 1 1/8 miles earned him another 103 ESF and a berth into the Kentucky Derby (G1) as the first horse to win the Santa Anita Derby off a six-furlong maiden win. He would be unplaced in the Derby but came back in the Haskell Stakes (G1) to finish a head behind Cyberknife , who set a track record of 1:46.24. A more-seasoned Taiba turned the tables in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), defeating Zandon and Cyberknife by three lengths. Taiba finished third behind Flightline and Olympiad in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland, earning a career-best 118 ESF at the 1 1/4-mile distance.
Taiba closed out 2022 by winning the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:21.75 and earning a 106 ESF, his sixth triple-digit ESF for his career.
"Taiba is a special horse to us," said Amr Zedan of Zedan Racing Stables. "He is the first horse to jump from a six-furlong maiden to immediately winning the grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. I knew he was special and that is why I insisted he make that jump. He rose to the calling like the true champion he is and made us proud."
Out of the nine-time stakes-winning Flatter mare Needmore Flattery, Taiba retires as Gun Runner's only three-time grade 1-winning son to date. He earned $2,356,200.