It’s Practical Move Narrowly in Santa Anita Derby

Even-money favorite PRACTICAL MOVE (c, 3, Practical Joke–Ack Naughty, by Afleet Alex) solidified his role as California’s best GI Kentucky Derby hope as he parlayed a ground-saving trip into a narrow victory in Saturday’s GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby over fast-charging Japanese raider Mandarin Hero (Jpn) (Shanghai Bobby). Seeking his third-straight victory off of clear-cut successes in both the Dec. 17 GII Los Alamitos Futurity and Mar. 4 GII San Felipe S., Practical Move was unhurried early and worked his way down to the fence and into a joint third around the first bend. He tugged his way up a wide-open rail and into second after a :46.30 half, and was patiently handled at that point by Ramon Vazquez as Skinner (Curlin) launched a sweeping move and Mandarin Hero caught the eye in behind Practical Move. Having left a sliver of daylight to his inside while cornering, Practical Move and Vazquez angled back down to the rail in upper stretch, forcing Mandarin Hero to the two path with Skinner keeping him hemmed in slightly. Mandarin Hero kept grinding away as Practical Move called out for the line, finding it just in time in 1:48.69. Sales history: $90,000 RNA yrl ’21 KEESEP; $230,000 2yo ’22 OBSAPR. O-Amestoy, Leslie A., Amestoy, Jr., Pierre Jean and Beasley, Roger K. B-Chad Brown & Head of Plains Partners (Ky). T-Tim Yakteen.

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