Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Practical Move

March 5th, 2023

Practical Move joined the Road to the Kentucky Derby with an upset victory in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) at Los Alamitos, sneaking up the inside to prevail by 3 1/4 lengths as a 10-1 longshot. He repeated the feat at 4-1 in the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita, saving ground to score by 2 1/2 lengths, and used similar tactics to just outlast Japanese raider Mandarin Hero in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby (G1).

These victories have established Practical Move as a contender for the 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1), but does he have the pedigree to thrive racing 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May? That’s a good question.

Practical Move Pedigree
Into Mischief
Practical Joke
Halo Humor
Practical Move
Afleet Alex
Ack Naughty
Dash for Money

It wasn't surprising to see Practical Move mature from an early age and win the Los Alamitos Futurity at age two. His pedigree is stacked with win-early influences. Sire Practical Joke won the Hopeful (G1) and Champagne (G1) before placing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at age two, while dam Ack Naughty ran second in the Chelsea Flower S. as a juvenile and dam sire Afleet Alex won the Hopeful and finished second in the Champagne and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

But as evidenced by Practical Move's decisive score in the San Felipe, there’s no reason to think he can’t enjoy success beyond his juvenile season. Practical Joke’s sophomore campaign produced a win in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) and placed efforts in the Haskell (G1) and Cigar Mile H. (G1), while Ack Naughty placed in multiple stakes at age five and Afleet Alex was voted champion three-year-old male after dominating the Preakness (G1) and Belmont (G1).

The Derby concerns instead come from a stamina standpoint. Practical Joke was a sprinter/miler who couldn’t quite carry his speed 1 1/8 miles, though he did finish a respectable fifth in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. At stud, Practical Joke is definitely passing on more speed than stamina; his progeny win at an average distance of just 6.4 furlongs, with Sanford (G3) and Bay Shore (G3) winner Wit and Frizette (G1) heroine Chocolate Gelato among the best so far. He does, however, have a top-level 1 1/4-mile winner in Chile in the form of Clasico Alberto Solari Magnasco (G1) heroine Berberisca.

At this point, Practical Joke seems somewhat unlikely to sire a Kentucky Derby winner, though he’s only had two crops of foals hit the races and pegging him as a speed sire might be premature. After all, Practical Joke is a son of Into Mischief, who has sired Kentucky Derby winners Authentic and Mandaloun even though Into Mischief himself was a sprinter/miler who primarily passes on speed at stud.

Aiding the Derby cause of Practical Move specifically is the bottom half of his pedigree. Ack Naughty achieved all her of her victories racing one mile or farther and placed in a stakes racing 1 1/8 miles. That isn’t surprising since the progeny of Afleet Alex have won at an average distance of 7.4 furlongs, with Travers (G1) winner Afleet Express and Breeders’ Cup Marathon (G2) hero Afleet Again among the best of his long-winded runners. Also noteworthy, Afleet Alex is the dam sire of Belmont winner Sir Winston.

The takeaway? Practical Move might not be the most stoutly bred Kentucky Derby contender, but perhaps the stamina of Afleet Alex can balance the speed of Practical Joke and lead to success racing 1 1/4 miles.