Taiba, previously trained by Bob Baffert, takes Santa Anita Derby

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Taiba won the $750,000, Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby by 2 1/4 lengths on Saturday on the last weekend of major prep races for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Taiba overtook pacesetter Messier in the stretch and went on to win against the West Coast’s top contenders for the first Saturday in May. Both colts are trained by Tim Yakteen, who took over recently for Bob Baffert, the six-time Kentucky Derby winner serving a 90-day suspension.

“Pretty exciting moment,” Yakteen said in the winner’s circle, his forehead sweaty under a hot sun. “Overwhelmed is an understatement.”

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Taiba won just the second start of his career and his first in a stakes race, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.67. Purchased for $1.7 million, he’s a son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner. He paid $10.60, $3.60 and $3.20 at 4-1 odds.

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