Santa Anita Derby and Practical Move 2023 Prep Race Recap

Kentucky Derby prep race recap of the 2023 Santa Anita Derby and winner Practical Move.
Kentucky Derby prep race recap of the 2023 Santa Anita Derby and winner Practical Move. / Benoit Photo / Associated Press

The Championship Series races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby featured eight major prep races that awarded 100 points to the winner and a spot in the starting gate for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.

The Santa Anita Derby on April 8 was won by Practical Move (1-1), as the even-money favorite held off Japanese runner Mandarin Hero by a nose and Skinner by a half-length. Ramon Vazquez rode Practical Move for the third straight time and will be making his second trip to the Kentucky Derby this time for trainer Tim Yakteen.

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Practical Move Kentucky Derby Contender

Practical Move will be one of the main win contenders in the 2023 Kentucky Derby, according to FanDuel Racing odds. He won both the Santa Anita Derby and the March 4 San Felipe Stakes with Skinner finishing third in that race but at lower odds than Practical Move.

The top three finishers from a fast renewal of the Santa Anita Derby all came home strongly with final 3/8 mile times below 37.5 seconds. Practical Move came home in 37.2 seconds, and his winning time of 1:48.69 ranks as the fastest 1 1/8 mile clocking of the 2023 Championship Series races.

Nine of the last 11 Kentucky Derby winners and 19 of the last 25 finished the final three furlongs of their final prep race in under 38 seconds.

The Santa Anita Derby has been run nearly every year since 1935 at Santa Anita Park near Los Angeles in Arcadia, CA. In the history of the race, 11 horses have won both the Santa Anita Derby and the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby in the same year. The most recent winners of both races include I’ll Have Another (2012), California Chrome (2014) and Triple Crown winner Justify (2018).

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