By Bill Finley
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, four more possible GI Kentucky Derby starters made the move Sunday from the Bob Baffert barn to the stable of Tim Yakteen. The four are possible Derby favorite Arabian Knight (Uncle Mo), National Treasure (Quality Road), Fort Bragg (Tapit) and Mr. Fisk (Arrogate). They join Arabian Lion (Justify), Carmel Road (Quality Road), Hejazi (Bernardini) and Reincarnate (Good Magic) who landed in the Yakteen barn earlier this month. Reincarnate finished a troubled third in Saturday's GII Rebel S. for Yakteen, Baffert's former assistant.
In addition, Fort Warren (Curlin) was sent from Baffert's stable to Brittany Russell and Harlocap (Justify), who broke his maiden for Baffert, ran for Steve Asmussen when sixth in the GII Risen Star S.
Because of a suspension put in place by Churchill Downs, Baffert is not eligible to enter horses in the Derby and any horse still in his barn after Tuesday will not be eligible to accrue points for the Derby.
“I was trying to set up as smooth a transition as I could for the horses and the owners and still allow them to get Derby points,” Baffert told the Times. “It's hard on the grooms that have been working with the horses for a year or so. We've all been around these horses and in some cases we found them [at sales]. Our whole program is based on 3-year-olds and the Kentucky Derby. It's tough to give them up. We thought we had a good chance to get an injunction, but we didn't. So, we've got to move forward, we've got to move on.”
Yakteen told the Times he will have five horses in the field for Saturday's GII San Felipe S. at Santa Anita: Hejazi, Mr. Fisk, Fort Bragg, National Treasure and Practical Move (Practical Joke). Practical Move, the winner of the GII Los Alamitos Futurity, has been in the Yakteen barn from the start.
According to the Times, Arabian Knight's next start will likely come in either the GI Santa Anita Derby or the GI Arkansas Derby. His most recent workout was Feb. 13 when he went three furlongs in :35.60.