Sanctus and Rodrigo Taboga won The Non-Pro plus The Open 4 Year Old Open class with a 226. Photo by Suzanne Sylvester

Holy Cow: Sanctus, Rodrigo Taboga as Hot as Oklahoma

Sanctus is a Latin word for “holy.”

Sanctus the horse, a 2016 sorrel stallion and son of High Brow Cat, is becoming synonymous with “derby winner.”

The 4-year-old backed up his derby triumph at The Cattlemen’s in March — seems ages ago now with all that’s happened since then — by winning the 4 Year Old class at The Non Pro plus The Open in Ardmore, Oklahoma, with a convincing 226 on Monday.

His 2020 now reads 1-2-1-1 with a first in the Limited Derby Open at the Abilene Spectacular, Derby Reserve champion at the Bonanza, the first at The Cattlemen’s and now this one under the bright lights of the historic Hardy Murphy Coliseum.

Holy mackerel, Sanctus is as hot as the June Oklahoma air.

Sanctus, out of Dual Rey mare Sofie Rey, has done it all working under trainer Rodrigo Taboga, a Brazilian native who now lives and works in Fort Worth, Texas, with Beau Galyean, who rode the co-Reserve champion Buonvino. Those two put up a 223, as did Miaia and trainer Chris Hanson.

“He was doing good and getting better and better [at Abilene] and then we won the reserve,” said Taboga, grateful, he added, for the turnback help and cow selection assist provided by Galyean and his brother Wesley Galyean. “Now, he’s amazing. He is just doing what he knows to do best, cutting.”

Santus, bred by Jose Sigala of Weatherford, Texas, and Taboga added $11,000 to their Equi-Stat records. For the year, Sanctus has won more than $58,000. Taboga’s Equi-Stat record is now just a smidgen under $600,000.  

Sanctus is owned by Scott Durham of Fort Worth.

Taboga believes the time off during quarantine did Sanctus good.

After returning home from Graham, Texas, after The Cattlemen’s in early March, Sanctus spent the rest of the month essentially in the pasture, Taboga said. In April, they worked every other day, and in the middle of May they began working every day up until show time.

Sanctus definitely didn’t forget what he was doing.

“He’s a sweet horse. He’s not wild. He’s very easy to ride, soft,” said Taboga, who, come August, will have lived in the U.S. for two years. “He likes to move strong sometimes. I try to save him a lot of times because he tries so hard and stops hard. I have to say, ‘Sanctus, we don’t need too much now, save for the show.

“He’s a good horse.”

He’s also a horse on a very nice run.