Inside 'Move' a Winning One in San Felipe

Practical Move | Benoit Photo

Trainer Tim Yakteen had five of the 11 entrants in Saturday's GII San Felipe S. at Santa Anita–four of which were transferred from the Bob Baffert barn–but the horse who had been with him from the start, Practical Move (Practical Joke), emerged victorious in the GI Kentucky Derby prep.

With new stablemate and morning-line choice National Treasure (Quality Road) forced to scratch with a foot issue, Practical Move was backed at 4-1, having not been seen since annexing the GII Los Alamitos Futurity decisively in December. He worked his way into a perfect ground-saving spot a few off seven-figure Hejazi (Bernardini), and inched ominously closer heading for home, only to find himself with no real running room and being forced to tap on the brakes. Hejazi came off the fence into the stretch as favorite Geaux Rocket Ride (Candy Ride {Arg}) was pumped on outside, however, and Practical Move now had all the real estate he needed to stretch his legs. He took a few up-and-down strides while sorting out his leads, but leveled off powerfully to report home 2 1/2 lengths clear in 1:42.01. Richard Mandella-trained Geaux Rocket Ride completed the exacta, with John Shireffs pupil Skinner (Curlin) rounding out the triple.

The former Baffert runners were led by Hejazi in fourth, followed by Fort Bragg (Tapit) fifth and Mr Fisk (Arrogate) sixth.

The winner was second behind future MGISW Baffert monster Cave Rock (Arrogate) on debut at Del Mar Aug. 13, and was third to the aforementioned National Treasure back at that venue a few weeks later. He was promoted from second to first after being interfered with by Fort Bragg when stretched to a mile here Oct. 10, and cut back a furlong to be third in the GIII Bob Hope S. Nov. 20 behind two other Baffert trainees before his breakout performance at Los Al.

“This horse keeps getting better and better every day,” said winning rider Ramon Vazquez. “He can go inside or outside. He is comfortable wherever. He lets me do my job and he does the rest. I only rode him once [in the Los Alamitos Futurity], but I know he is very aggressive from the gate, so I let him do his thing. He galloped out very good. I have always dreamed of winning the Kentucky Derby. I had one previous chance in 2015 [with Mr. Z] for Mr. [D. Wayne] Lukas.  I'm hoping for another chance here.”

Yakteen, celebrating his first San Felipe trophy (his former boss Baffert has nine), said of the winner, “He is a very healthy horse. He is a phenomenally gifted horse. I am amazed at how strong he is and how he has matured from a 2-year-old to a 3-year-old. Everything has fallen into place. There was only one challenge before this race, I felt we needed to get one more work in.

“There is nothing more satisfying than winning, so I am taking this in stride. I have to give kudos to my staff and thank them for the job they have done. They are the unsung heroes here.

“I've also got to tip my hat to [owners] Leslie and Jean Pierre [Amestoy]. They were the ones who went to Florida and bought this horse.

“I plan to start him again. I want to leave the canvas blank now and we'll make the call later, but I think he will have one more start before the [Kentucky] Derby.”

With the 50 points he picked up Saturday, Practical Move sits second on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 60.

Co-owner Leslie Amestoy said, “This was our dream. It's been our dream for years and we love the colt, we are so happy and we really think we have a great horse.”

Pierre Jean Amestoy Jr. added, “We've seen him improve every race, almost. The first couple of races, he was green and didn't know how to switch leads. Tim has brought him along perfectly and has taught him, and now he's finishing like we expected he could finish. Like Leslie said, I think we've got a good one.”

Saturday, Santa Anita
SAN FELIPE S.-GII, $402,000, Santa Anita, 3-4, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:42.01, ft.
1–PRACTICAL MOVE, 124, c, 3, by Practical Joke
                1st Dam: Ack Naughty (MSP, $310,450), by Afleet Alex
                2nd Dam: Dash for Money, by General Meeting
                3rd Dam: Hot Lear, by Lear Fan
($90,000 RNA Ylg '21 KEESEP; $230,000 2yo '22 OBSAPR).
O-Leslie A. Amestoy, Pierre Jean Amestoy, Jr. and Roger K.
Beasley; B-Chad Brown & Head of Plains Partners (KY); T-Tim
Yakteen; J-Ramon A. Vazquez. $240,000. Lifetime Record:
6-3-1-2, $434,200. Werk Nick Rating: A+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the
free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Geaux Rocket Ride, 120, c, 3, Candy Ride (Arg)–Beyond
Grace, by Uncle Mo. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK
TYPE. ($350,000 Ylg '21 FTKJUL). O-Pin Oak Stud LLC; B-OXO
Equine LLC (KY); T-Richard E. Mandella. $80,000.
3–Skinner, 120, c, 3, Curlin–Winding Way, by Malibu Moon.
($40,000 Ylg '21 KEESEP; $510,000 2yo '22 OBSAPR). O-C R K
Stable LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY);
T-John A. Shirreffs. $48,000.
Margins: 2HF, 1 1/4, HF. Odds: 4.20, 2.70, 2.80.
Also Ran: Hejazi, Fort Bragg, Mr Fisk, Chase the Chaos, Genius Jimmy, Bluegrass Go Go. Scratched: Crypto Ride, National Treasure.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

Pedigree Notes:
Practical Move, a :10 1/5 OBSAPR breezer, is one of four Northern Hemisphere graded winners for her sire (10 overall). He is one of eight worldwide graded/group winners out of a mare by GI Preakness S. and GI Belmont S. hero Afleet Alex. Also among that group is 2019 Belmont winner Sir Winston.

Dam Ack Naughty was just a $20,000 SARAUG RNA, but racked up more than $310,000 in New York turf events for Sol Kumin and partners and trainer Chad Brown, who had Practical Joke in the barn at the same time. Ack Naughty produced a Complexity colt in 2022 before selling to Chester and Mary Broman for $500,000 at this year's Keeneland January sale. The Upstart foal she was carrying at the time was unfortunately stillborn. Ack Naughty hails from the family of champion older horse Vino Rosso.

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