Practical Move gives trainer Tim Yakteen a win in the San Felipe Stakes
It made perfect sense that Tim Yakteen would find himself in the winner’s circle after Saturday’s running of the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes, a major prep race leading to the Kentucky Derby, at Santa Anita Park.
After all, he had five starters in the race by virtue of inheriting four horses from fellow trainer Bob Baffert, so those horses would be eligible to win Derby qualifying points while Baffert is banned at Churchill Downs. What few thought, though, is the winner would be the lone entrant that Yakteen has trained since the 3-year-old started racing last year.
Practical Move virtually assured himself a spot in Kentucky after gaining 50 qualifying points with his 2½-length win. He now has 60 points after also winning the Los Alamitos Futurity in December.
Yakteen wouldn’t say if it was more satisfying to win with a horse he’s had for eight months rather than one week.
Trainer Ed Moger sends Chase the Chaos to post in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes, hoping to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, and Stilleto Boy in the Big ’Cap.
“Winning is winning; there is nothing more satisfying,” he said.
The San Felipe started with Hejazi taking the lead in front of race favorite Geaux Rocket Ride. They ran down the backstretch that way with Practical Move content in fourth. Practical Move started his move around the far turn and hit the top of the stretch with a lead of 1½ lengths.
Practical Move paid $10.40, $5.20 and $3.20. Geaux Rocket Ride was second, followed by Skinner, Hejazi, Fort Bragg, Mr Fisk, Chase The Chaos, Genius Jimmy and Bluegrass Go Go. Yakteen also trained Hejazi, Fort Bragg and Mr Fisk. His fifth horse, the morning-line favorite National Treasure, was scratched because of a bruise on his left front hoof. Yakteen said he’ll return to the Derby trail “hopefully this month.”
“This horse keeps getting better and better every day,” winning jockey Ramon Vazquez said of Practical Move. “He can go inside or outside. He is comfortable wherever. He lets me do my job and he does the rest. … I have always dreamed of winning the Kentucky Derby. I had a previous chance in 2015 [riding Mr. Z] for Mr. [Wayne] Lukas. I’m hoping for another chance here.”
Owners Jean Pierre and Leslie Amestoy, who primarily race quarter horses, bought the colt for $230,000 last April. He was sent to Yakteen and made his debut at the Del Mar.
“We’ve been running against Baffert all summer,” Jean Pierre Amestoy said. “It was three against one and two against one, but this horse finally beat them on a disqualification [of Fort Bragg in October at Santa Anita.] And we beat him at Los Alamitos and we beat him here again. We’re good. I like my horse. I like my chances.”
Even though Practical Move has enough points to make the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field, Amestoy plans to run him again.
Arabian Knight, the odds favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, is among horses Bob Baffert moved to Tim Yakteen so they can earn Derby qualifying points.
“The plan would be we’ll probably start him again,” Yakteen said. “I think we’ll have one more stop.”
Yakteen would not commit to where, as he has to balance the idea of not running Practical Move against some of his other Derby hopefuls and hurting their chances.
“Let’s just leave the canvas blank and I’ll color it in a little bit later,” Yakteen said.
There were two other major Kentucky Derby prep races Saturday. Forte, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, looked dominant in winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Florida’s Gulfstream Park by 4½ lengths. Raise Cain also looked strong while winning the Gotham Stakes at New York’s Aqueduct by 7½ lengths.
All three Saturday preps were run at 1-1/16 miles or less. In the next round of prep races, which includes the Santa Anita Derby, the winner and runner-up get 100 and 50 points, respectively. Most of those races are run at 1-1/8 miles.
The Kentucky Derby will be the first time a horse runs 1¼ miles.
Baffert is serving a two-year suspension by Churchill Downs after his horse Medina Spirit tested positive for a medication that’s banned on race day following his victory in the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
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