Trainer Bob Baffert has won an incarnation of the Los Alamitos Futurity 13 times and he had three of the five horses in Saturday’s $200,000 Class 2 race at the Orange County track. So it makes sense that he bumps the number to 14, especially since he had strong favorite Arabian Lion in the running.
But despite what everyone expects, they’re still running the races and in the end Baffert’s former longtime assistant Tim Yakteen won the race when Practical Move pulled away in the stretch and won by 3 1/4 lengths.
The Los Alamitos Futurity, which started at Hollywood Park, was the springboard for many great horses, but on Saturday it went to a horse who was winless in four starts.
It was the last Kentucky Derby qualifying points race in Southern California in 2022, although the three Baffert horses were ineligible to win Derby points due to the trainer’s two-year ban from Churchill Downs due to the positive drug test of Medina Spirit, the provisional winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Medina Spirit was later disqualified, a contention in litigation.
On Thursday, Baffert’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against Churchill Downs to reverse the second year of his suspension on the company’s tracks. Unless there is a change, Baffert’s horses will not be eligible to win qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby. Faced with the same restrictions, Baffert transferred his Derby horses to Yakteen earlier this year so they could qualify for the world’s most recognized race.
On Saturday, Fort Bragg took the lead in the 1 1/16 with Arabian Lion, the 2-5 favorite, close by. But in the long corner it was clear that Arabian Lion had nothing and Practical Move took the lead at the top of the track and then finished strongly.
Practical Move, ridden by jockey Ramon Vazquez, paid $23.20 to win and $11.80 to place. There was no show betting, although Arabian Lion lost the money it could have been a small windfall for the circuit had show betting been allowed. Carmel Road was second followed by Fort Bragg, Tall Boy and Arabian Lion.
“I’m surprised because we came up against the king (Baffert), but I’m not surprised because my horse did really well,” said Yakteen. “The fact that everything worked out is simply fantastic. … This is very special because Bob is a good friend and we have a great relationship.
“I hate to bring him down, but in the end I defeated him [Saturday] like he usually overwhelms me. We will just give the horse a breather, regroup and go from there.”
The Southern California racing season begins December 26th when Santa Anita begins its six-month marathon season.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-12-17/practical-move-upset-win-los-alamitos-futurity Practical Move beats Bob Baffert trio to win Los Alamitos Futurity