Bob Baffert’s ex-apprentice has two Kentucky Derby contenders

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Tim Yakteen has been to the Kentucky Derby with just right horses ahead of. Now the instructor is in fee at Churchill Downs for the primary time with two best contenders previously coached by means of Corridor of Famer Bob Baffert and up to now with just right horses within the Kentucky Derby. Now the trainer is in fee at Churchill Downs for the primary time with two best contenders previously coached by means of Corridor of Famer Bob Baffert.

Yakteen had two separate stints previous in his profession as an apprentice to Baffert, who will pass over Saturday’s derby whilst serving a 90-day suspension imposed by means of Kentucky race officers. The six-time Derby winner has additionally been banned from Churchill Downs Inc. for 2 years.

It is going to appear uncomfortable for many except for yactuses.

“I wouldn’t say I feel there’s any awkwardness,” he stated. “I simply really feel actually satisfied and lucky.”

A stunned Yakten took calls from Messier and Taiba’s house owners, asking him to coach their emerging stars.

Messier, coached by Tim Yakteen, trains at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Kentucky Derby.
Messier, coached by means of Tim Yakteen, trains at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Kentucky Derby.
AP

“I’m venerated that they’d the boldness that I may proceed to hold the torch,” he stated whilst perched on a log close to Messier’s solid in his Santa Anita barn.

Baffert gave up the stallions to serve out the penalty imposed after closing 12 months’s Derby winner Medina Spirit examined certain for an anti inflammatory drug that isn’t allowed on race day.

Baffert’s suspension Santa Anita bans him, and Yakteen stated they haven’t had any talks since he took over Messier, an early 8-1 3rd within the derby, and Taiba, a 12-1 shot.

Taiba is owned by means of Amr Zedan, who fought for Medina Spirit ahead of the colt died after coaching in Santa Anita in December.

Yakteen has about 30 horses with other abilities in his solid. The addition of Messier and Taiba has supplied a spice up of certain power, he stated.

“I’ve by no means woken up and didn’t need to move to paintings,” he stated. “I actually experience it.”

Yakteen’s profession highlights come with 4 Grade 1 stakes wins, together with Taiba within the contemporary Santa Anita Derby, and an Eclipse Award for Sprinter Champion Issues Offthebench. He has over 250 profession wins and over $12 million in handbag historical past.

Corridor of Reputation jockey Mike Smith will experience Taiba within the Derby after effectively teaming with Yakteen in California.

“He’s a kind of guys that makes you’re feeling protected riding for him,” Smith stated. “He’s been right here lengthy sufficient. I feel he’s going to be nice.”

Taiba, coached by Tim Yakteen, trains at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Kentucky Derby.
Taiba, coached by means of Tim Yakteen, trains at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Kentucky Derby.
AP

Yakteen grew up in Germany, the place his Lebanese father was once stationed in the USA Military after turning into an American citizen.

He moved to the USA in 1982 on the age of 18 and was once joined by means of a sister who lived subsequent to Los Alamitos Racetrack in Cypress, California. He took section within the races for the primary time and was once enthusiastic.

“That night time was once electrifying and has stayed with me ever since,” he stated.

He were given an afternoon task on the monitor, operating in public members of the family, team gross sales and advertising and marketing. At night time he watched the races.

It wasn’t lengthy ahead of Yakteen made his strategy to the stables and introduced to fill buckets of water and muck out stables without spending a dime. He took up existence in a tack room.

“I loved each facet of it,” he stated. “My function was once to be a part of the business.”

After beginning harness horses, Yakteen was once employed by means of a white-haired Quarter Horse teacher named Baffert, who had left Arizona to pursue his personal dream. When Baffert switched to Thoroughbreds in 1988, Yakteen stayed with him.

A couple of years later, Yakteen was once on the Santa Anita race place of work when he crossed paths with Corridor of Reputation trainer Charlie Whittingham, who stated hi.

“I used to be like, ‘Wow, the Pope spoke to me,’” Yakteen stated. “The timing was once best possible.”

He got here to Whittingham’s stables as an assistant. Via 1994, Yakteen was once in his first Kentucky Derby, serving to runner-up Strode’s Creek.

Two years later, he and Whittingham returned with a Derby runner. On the similar time, Baffert completed 2d in his first derby with Cavonnier.

In 1997, Yakteen returned to Baffert’s barn and for the following seven years was once a part of the group operating with back-to-back Kentucky Derby winners Silver Appeal and Actual Quiet and 2001 Derby champion Struggle Brand.

After studying endurance and the power to learn a horse’s delicate indicators from Baffert and Whittingham, Yakteen opened his personal solid in 2004.

Via this time he had married Millie Ball, a teacher for Baffert. She is now a presenter and reporter for the virtual horse racing community XBTV.

The couple’s two sons, 16-year-old Sam and 14-year-old Ben, will probably be “sulking” at house as a result of they overlooked the derby on account of college, Yakteen stated

How issues will proceed after the derby is written within the stars.

Yakteen stated there were no discussions as as to whether Messier and Taiba will stay in his barn. Baffert’s suspension runs thru July 2, retaining him clear of the Preakness on Would possibly 21 and the Belmont on June 11. “It’s like having a lottery price tag fall on your lap,” he stated. “Now we’re seeking to redeem it.”

“I’ve my arms crossed {that a} a success marketing campaign will probably be a practical alternative,” stated Yakteen.

At 57, Yakteen is aware of the nice rewards a teacher has when bringing a horse to the Kentucky Derby. And he has two.

— AP

https://nypost.com/2022/05/04/ex-bob-baffert-apprentice-has-two-kentucky-derby-contenders/ Bob Baffert’s ex-apprentice has two Kentucky Derby contenders

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