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Practical Move won the 2023 Santa Anita Derby (G1) at Santa Anita Park, a major 100-point prep race for the Kentucky Derby (G1), after holding off Mandarin Hero & Skinner in a thrilling photo finish. Is the Tim Yakteen trainee the top Derby contender following his 4th straight victory? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
2023 Kentucky Derby
RAMON VAZQUEZ, PRACTICAL MOVE, WINNER: “I made the move a little early because I saw (Hector) Berrios look at me from the inside. I knew he wanted to put me inside a little bit tight, so I just moved my horse to the outside take a new position., made him relax a little bit and when I asked him the last quarter he responded really well. The other horse (Mandarin Hero) is a nice horse too and ran really well. I’m feeling amazing. When you ride a good horse like that, that’s your dream always to go to the Kentucky Derby.
KAZUSHI KIMURA, MANDARIN HERO (JPN), SECOND: “I thought we got him (Practical Move) at the wire. I was on this horse since he got here and he was very comfortable. Today he was a totally different horse. He was very aggressive in company. It looks like we’ll be headed to the Kentucky Derby. I’ve never been in the race, so I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.”
TIM YAKTEEN, PRACTICAL MOVE, WINNER: “It’s a great feeling to go back-to-back in this race. The rush you get—that’s why you get in the game! You’re calling wire when you’re on the lead, and you’re looking for more when you’re closing ground.”
XBTV’S MILLIE BALL, WIFE OF TIM YAKTEEN, TRAINER OF THE WINNER AND FOURTH PLACE FINISHERS: “I was sick to my stomach, honestly, I’ve never felt like that during a horse race before, but I just wanted everything to go well for the barn. Both horses ran good. It really is hard to believe that we’re in this position. When you think about the years that Tim’s been in the game and the education he’s had. The people he’s worked underneath, the Charlie Whittingham’s the Bob Baffert’s…It’s, I’m a little surprised Tim’s had the foundation to be put in that position and then know what to do when he’s in this position…For it to all come true, you’ve gotta have so much luck. You’ve got to have the owners behind you and you have got to have the horse and this horse is incredible, incredible! If he can get a mile and a quarter, he’ll win the Derby!”
TERUNOBU FUJITA, MANDARIN HERO, SECOND: “We’re going to the Kentucky Derby!” “I’m so proud of him. I thought he would not handle the early pace, but he did. I believed he would have a good acceleration in the final stretch as usual. And he did it. Kazushi Kimura gave a really good ride. He made him accelerate at the final stretch. I thought he was going to win. I’m just so excited right now.”
JEAN PIERRE AMESTOY, JR. PART OWNER, PRACTICAL MOVE, WINNER: “We were a little worried that he didn’t get through early enough, but he finally made it through. He opened up a little bit, but those are good horses. They came up to him in the end but he was tough enough. Got his head in front and won the race. I think we are confident. I think we will catch the distance and he’s proven he’s a fighter, he’s a winner, so we’re going to go to Kentucky with our heads high and hope to bring the trophy back to this side of the country.”
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