Taghleeb captured the Remington Green Stakes Sept. 25
Trainer Mike Maker initially expected to send former claimer Da Big Hoss, a multiple graded stakes winner on a four-race win streak, up to Woodbine for the $ 1-million Pattison Canadian International but has decided instead to ship Taghleeb north for the 1 ½-mile turf classic.
“As of right now, the plan is to head straight to the Breeders’ Cup with Da Big Hoss,” said travelling assistant Nolan Ramsey, who is currently at Woodbine.
Taghleeb, a five-year-old son of Hard Spun, was claimed for $ 62,500 on July 23 at Saratoga and has already picked up a stakes win for new owner Michael Hui when a half-length winner of the Remington Green Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile turf event at Remington Park.
That victory came on the back of a deceptively good third in a Kentucky Downs allowance mile.
“He’s a sound horse. We ran him back in an allowance race at Kentucky Downs and he had a troubled trip but finished nicely,” said Ramsey. “He was way out of it and had to check a couple times in the stretch, but probably should have won the race. He was only beat a length.
“We took him down to Remington and Joel Rosario gave him a great ride and he was only a couple ticks off the track record,” continued Ramsey. “He’s been training great and the owners decided to give him a shot in a Grade 1. I don’t think the surface or the distance will be a problem. We’ll see what we’ve got.”
The Maker barn has enjoyed great success with improving horses off the claim. Da Big Hoss, since claimed for $ 50,000 on June 21, 2015, has won eight of 11 starts including five graded events.
“Mike does a great job. He’s a really good horseman and can look at a horse and know what changes need to be made,” noted Ramsey. “With Da Big Hoss, he’s a real straightforward horse and easy to train. Mike just made the adjustment to running him long.”
Taghleeb has big shoes to fill if he is to follow in the footsteps of Da Big Hoss, but Ramsey is already seeing some improvement in the chestnut.
“We’ve got a great training program and a great feed program and we can really turn a horse around,” said Ramsey. “Not a whole lot needed to be done. Once we put him on our program he’s filled out a little more and I think he’s a little stronger.
“He doesn’t look a lot different but he is more muscular. Just putting him on our training program and getting him used to our style, we’ll really be able to read him and see what we’ve got.”
And just like Da Big Hoss, the plan will be to stretch Taghleeb out in distance as the five-year-old Kentucky-bred will travel 1 ½-miles for the first time in next Sunday’s International.
Ramsey is hopeful that the unique layout of Woodbine’s expansive E.P. Taylor Turf Course will suit Taghleeb.
“I think it will benefit him. I think he’s a horse that the more ground he gets, the better he will be. I like the distance and the long stretch, for sure,” he said.
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