Taiba, Joe no go for Preakness

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Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Taiba, 12th as the Derby second choice, is out of Preakness consideration. Trainer Tim Yakteen said via text that Taiba and stablemate Messier (15th in the Derby) would head back to California.

“They came back in good shape. We will regroup and come up with a campaign,” he said.

Messier had not previously been thought to be under consideration. Both runners, one-two in the Santa Anita Derby in their first start in Yakteen’s barn after previously having been trained by Bob Baffert, took action at the windows, with Taiba off at 5-1 in the Kentucky Derby and Messier at 7-1. But both were up close to the wicked early pace and faded from contention.

Taiba is one of three horses were thought to be under consideration that have now been withdrawn. Joe and Blackadder, colts who earned automatic entry berths with victories earlier this year, will not run in the Preakness.

Trainer Michael Trombetta said Monday that Joe, the Elkstone Group’s homebred, will be nominated for the James W. Murphy Stakes on the Preakness Day program. Joe, a Maryland-bred son of Declaration of War, won the Federico Tesio on April 16 at Laurel for his fourth victory in six career starts.

Though Trombetta and owner Stuart Grant, who races as The Elkstone Group LLC, had indicated early in the year that the Preakness was a target for Joe, Grant had not nominated him to the Triple Crown. Had they decided to do so now, it would have cost $150,000.

Blackadder, winner of the ‘Win and In’ El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 12 at Golden Gate Fields, was sold after his ninth-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) on April 9. His new trainer, Christophe Clement, said the Quality Road colt is not being considered for the Preakness.


  • Joe won the Maryland Juvenile Championship. Photo Jerry Dzierwinski.
  • Joe made it three straight wins, cruising to an allowance score at Laurel Park. Photo Jim McCue.
  • Joe (inside) held off stablemate Mr Jefferson to win the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel. Photo Allison Janezic.