Practical Move wins San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita

On a busy and enormously interesting Saturday afternoon for Kentucky Derby hopefuls, there was a major development on the Triple Crown scene at Santa Anita. Practical Move surged dramatically into contention for America’s greatest race with a dominant victory in the G2 San Felipe, assuring himself of a place in the gate at Churchill Downs by earning the 50 RTKD points on offer to the winner.

San Felipe Stakes

G2, $400,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 3yo

Yakteen makes his Move

Seems like Tim Yakteen didn’t need the help. His barn expanded with the arrival of a number of former Bob Baffert trainees, but he had the right horse all along and proved it when Practical Move ran out an impressive winner of the San Felipe at Santa Anita on Saturday, much too strong for market leaders Geaux Rocket Ride and Skinner.


This victory earned Practical Move 50 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying scheme and assured him a place in the gate on the big day. He sits in second place on the RTKD leaderboard, had his odds slashed to 20-1 for the Derby future book, and potentially has a big future. Note also that he spotted most of the field 4lb.

San Felipe Stakes Race Video

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The 4-1 fourth-choice was sitting in the catbird seat all the way around, just behind the pace set by Hejazi, and when the front-runner swung wide on the home turn Practical Move surged powerfully to the lead on the rail, turning the screw all the way down the stretch in a dominant display of quality.


He hit the line two and a half lengths clear of the tenacious slight favorite Geaux Rocket Ride, who had stalked the pace throughout and hung in there well on just his second start, with another length and a quarter back to the rallying Skinner, who was plumb last at halfway. Hejazi had nothing left, finishing fourth.

KENTUCKY DERBY ODDS


“He gets better and better every day,” said winning jockey Ramon Vazquez. “I can do whatever I want with him, inside, outside – he lets me do my job and he does all the rest.”


Practical Move, a big, strong son of Practical Joke, was taking his record to three-for-six and has never been off the board. He came off an eye-catching score in the G2 Los Alamitos Futurity, and will surely move forward from this first start of the campaign.


“He’s developed really well from two to three and is a gifted, gifted horse,” said Yakteen, who must now embark on a juggling act to earn RTKD qualifying points for those former Baffert horses.


Priority, though, is now firmly with Practical Move, who is expected to have one more start before heading to Churchill Downs in May. That may well be the G1 Santa Anita Derby over a mile-eighth on April 8, which is also reportedly the target for Geaux Rocket Ride (40-1 for the Derby on the Jazz book) and Skinner (65-1).

2023 San Felipe Stakes Payout

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Practical Move$10.40$5.20$3.20
2. Geaux Rocket Ride$5.00$3.20
3. Skinner$2.80

WINNING TIME: 1m 42.01s

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