Trainer Tim Yakteen already had Practical Move pointed for Saturday’s $400,000 San Felipe (G2), but with recent transfers from the Bob Baffert stable, Yakteen now has five of 11 three-year-olds entered in the Road to the Kentucky Derby prep at Santa Anita.
Upset winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) in his juvenile finale, Practical Move is unlikely to be favored in the San Felipe, which awards Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points of 50-20-15-10-5 to the respective top five finishers. The market is likely to lean toward a couple runners formerly with Baffert, whose current suspension from racing at Churchill Downs necessitated the recent transfer in order for those three-year-olds to accrue Derby eligibility points.
Hejazi, who chased stablemates like Speed Boat Beach and Cave Rock last season, earned a belated maiden win on Jan. 15, scorching 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14 and change. The son of Bernardini sold for $3.55 million as a juvenile last May. National Treasure, who’s placed in the American Pharoah (G1), Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), and Sham (G3) in his past three starts, is another that should receive solid backing.
Practical Move is joined by fellow Los Al Futurity alum Fort Bragg, who finished a distant third in that 1 1/16-mile test, while Mr Fisk enters off a maiden win over next-out winner Harlocap. Two back, Mr Fisk finished a close second in a maiden to Reincarnate, subsequent winner of the Sham and a troubled third in the Rebel (G2).
Among those looking to topple the Yakteen brigade are Geaux Rocket Ride, a brilliant 5 3/4-length winner for Richard Mandella in a six-furlong maiden on Jan. 29. Skinner showed relatively little in either the Del Mar Futurity (G1) or American Pharoah last fall, but was much improved when graduating by more than three lengths on Feb. 12 for John Shirreffs.
Testing his dirt ability in the San Felipe is Chase the Chaos, a closing winner of the El Camino Real Derby over the Tapeta track at Golden Gate Fields last month. Chase the Chaos earned an automatic bid to the Preakness (G1) with that victory.