‘Gifted’ Practical Move strolls in San Felipe Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. — Tim Yakteen got the best of his former boss, Bob Baffert, with Practical Move’s 2½-length victory in the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.

At Florida’s Gulfstream, Forte easily won the $400,000 Fountain of Youth as the 1-2 favorite in his 3-year-old debut. The early Kentucky Derby favorite ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.12.

Forte earned 50 points toward qualifying for the Derby’s 20-horse field. He had not raced since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland in November, which helped him earn juvenile champion honors last year.

At New York’s Aqueduct, Raise Cain won the $300,000 Gotham and paid $49 to win on a busy day of Kentucky Derby preps around the country. He also earned 50 Derby qualifying points.

At Santa Anita, Yakteen was busy saddling three other colts that were recently transferred from Baffert’s barn to him. The trio of Hejazi, Fort Bragg and Mr Fisk finished fourth, fifth and sixth. The transfer was required in order for them to earn Derby qualifying points. Baffert is serving a two-year ban by Churchill Downs Inc., which will keep him out of the Derby for the second straight year.

National Treasure, another of Baffert’s colts taken over by Yakteen, was scratched because of a bruised right front foot. He is likely to race again later this month.

But it was Practical Move, a colt Yakteen has developed himself, that stole the show.

“He’s developed really well from a 2-year-old old to a 3-year-old,” said Yakteen, who was an assistant to Baffert years ago. “Just a gifted, gifted individual.”

Practical Move ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.01 under Ramon Vazquez. He paid $10.40, $5.20 and $3.20. The colt earned 50 points toward Kentucky Derby qualifying.

“This horse keeps getting better and better every day,” Vazquez said.

Geaux Rocket Ride, the 5-2 favorite, returned $5 and $3.20. Skinner was another 1¼ lengths back in third and paid $2.80 to show.

Practical Move was bred by prominent trainer Chad Brown and was purchased for $230,000 by Leslie and Jean Pierre Amestoy, along with another partner. The Amestoys, who have had most of their success with quarter horses in New Mexico, don’t mind that Yakteen will possibly be overseeing Baffert’s colts in the Kentucky Derby.

The couple noted they’ve beaten Baffert-trained horses three times, including Practical Move’s win in the Los Alamitos Futurity in December.

“We’re good,” Leslie Amestoy said, smiling.

Her husband added, “I like my horse.