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Winner: PRACTICAL MOVE (Sire: Practical Joke, Dam: Ack Naughty
Trainer: Tim Yakteen
Jockey: R A Vazquez
Owner: Amestoy / Beasley
Distance: 1 1/8 miles (Fast Track). Time: 1:48 3/5
Margin: Nose

 Wizard’s Track Bias: None
Wizard’s Pace Analysis: Fast
Wizard’s Strength of Race: 3.5 / 5
Wizard’s Reflection:

PRACTICAL MOVE made it 3 wins in a row with a game and perfect trip win earning him his first Grade 1 victory. He stalked in 3rd, tracking 54-1 pacesetter ONE IN VERMILLION, who was setting quick fractions. Approaching the stretch, Ramon Vazquez slipped through along the rail to take the lead, quickly navigating him into the 2-path turning for home. As soon as he opened some daylight in mid-stretch, Practical Move faced a stiff challenge from Japanese invader MANDARIN HERO and SKINNER who was widest of the 3. In a stirring finish, Practical Move was able to hold off Mandarin Hero by a nose and then continued to gallop out well past the wire. Practical Move has shown steady improvement for trainer Tim Yakteen who has trained this colt in all 7 starts. His good tactical speed will always have him in perfect striking position. He will face a far tougher task in the Kentucky Derby in a much larger field at a distance which will test his stamina. Nevertheless, he’s clearly a contender the first Saturday in May.

Mandarin Hero ran just as well as the winner, and possibly better, shipping to the US from Japan with a record of 4 wins and a neck defeat in 5 starts. He sat in mid-pack racing covered up between horses on the backstretch. Rider Kimura followed the winner’s move approaching the stretch with a sharp rail run. In mid-stretch, Kimura eased him off the rail to the 2-path taking dead aim on Practical Move. Mandarin Hero continued to cut into that rival’s margin and was beaten a nose on the wire. Another jump and he would have gotten the victory. Mandarin Hero may not have enough points to get into the Derby, but if not, the Preakness is a distinct possibility.

SKINNER finished a solid 3rd after making a bold wide middle move. In mid-stretch he was on near equal terms with Mandarin Hero but was unable to keep pace with the top 2 in the closing stages. Skinner has shown a tendency to break slow, but he has that strong middle-move which puts him into contention. This running style in not conducive going 1 ¼ miles in a big field if he was to make into the Derby field. If he’s able to break better and make 1 run later in the race, Skinner could land a piece at big odds if he does end up in Louisville the first Saturday in May.

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Last updated: February, 2024

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