Practical Move showing his Derby moxy (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Yakteen trainee earned 50 Kentucky Derby Qualifying Points
Mike Willman/Santa Anita Press Box
ARCADIA, Calif.— In a performance that clearly stamps him a Kentucky Derby A-List hopeful, the Tim Yakteen-trained Practical Move saved ground throughout and came away through the stretch to score by an emphatic 2 ½ lengths in Saturday’s Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden by Ramon Vazquez, Practical Move got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:42.01
With the victory, Practical Move earns 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, while 20-15-10 & 5 points will be awarded to the remaining top five finishers.
Attentive to pace but well within himself early, Practical Move was on the brakes turning up the backside and tracked eventual runner-up Geaux Rocket Ride to the far turn. When “Geaux Rocket” drifted out turning for home, Vazquez took advantage and was never threatened the final three sixteenths of a mile.
A 3 ¼ length winner of the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity at 10-1 on Dec. 17, Practical Move was off at 4-1 among a field of nine sophomores in the San Felipe and paid $10.40, $5.20 and $3.20.
A Kentucky-bred colt by Practical Joke out of the Afleet Alex mare Ack Naughty, Practical Move was bred by superstar trainer Chad Brown and Head of Plains Partners and is owned by Leslie Amestoy, Jean Pierre Amestoy and Roger Beasley who purchased him for $230,000 out of an Ocala, FLA, 2-year-old in training sale last April.
With today’s win, Practical Joke picked up $240,000, increasing his earnings to $434,200 from an overall race record of 6-3-1-2.
In only his second start and his first around two turns, the Richard Mandella-trained Geaux Rocket Ride pressed the early pace set by Yakteen’s Hajazi and checked in second, 1 ¼ lengths in front of Skinner. Off as the 5-2 favorite with Flavien Prat, Geaux Rocket Ride paid $5.00 and $3.20.
Trained by John Shirreffs and ridden by Victor Espinoza, Skinner loomed into contention while wide-out around the far turn but ran lugged in straightening for home in a solid third place performance. The second choice at 5-2, Skinner paid $2.80 to show while finishing a half-length in front of Hejazi.
Fractions on the race were 23.14, 47.12, 1:11.08 and 1:35.67.
Grade II, $400,000, San Felipe Stakes Quotes
Ramon Vazquez, Practical Move, Winner: “This horse keeps getting better and better every day. 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 (aboard Mr. Z) for Mr. (D. Wayne) Lukas. I’m hoping for another chance here.”
Tim Yakteen, Practical Move, 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 two-year-old to a three-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 Leslie (Amestoy) 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 Derby.”
Leslie Amestoy, Co-Owner, Practical Move, Winner: “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.”
Jean Pierre Amestoy Co-Owner, Practical Move, Winner: “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.”
When Asked About Being On The Kentucky Derby Trail: “We are super excited, and we think he’s that kind. We are ready to go all the way.”