Practical Move’s sire, Practical Joke, was a multiple Grade 1 winner around one turn, and his pure class enabled him to finish a creditable fifth in the 2017 Kentucky Derby (G1). With a stamina boost from the maternal half of his pedigree, Practical Move can fare better than his sire on the first Saturday in May.
Here are his 12 pedigree fun facts:
1. Chad Brown trained both parents and also co-bred Practical Move.
Practical Move has been based with Southern California horseman Tim Yakteen for his entire career, but his story begins with another trainer – Chad Brown. The four-time Eclipse Award winner trained both Practical Joke and his dam, the multiple stakes-placed Ack Naughty. When she retired, Brown teamed up with co-owner Sol Kumin to keep her as a broodmare. She was bred to erstwhile stablemate Practical Joke in her second season. Her colt was sold as a two-year-old, but Brown can still join the exclusive club of trainers who bred a Kentucky Derby runner.
2. Practical Joke won the Hopeful that Classic Empire lost at the start.
Practical Joke scored the first of his major wins in the 2016 Hopeful (G1). That renewal of the historic juvenile feature at Saratoga might be best remembered for the miscue by eventual champion Classic Empire. Slightly favored over Practical Joke, Classic Empire took a twirl out of the gate, unseated his rider, and was eliminated from the race. 

Ironically, their rivalry might extend to the 2023 Derby, through their sons. Classic Empire is the sire of Risen Star (G2) winner Angel of Empire.

3. The admirably consistent Practical Joke was out of the top three only twice.
Practical Joke, who earned a hard-fought victory in the Hopeful, turned in a similarly game effort to add the Champagne (G1) in a photo. Third in his rematch with Classic Empire in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), Practical Joke had his distance limitations confirmed on the Derby trail. But he ran well as the runner-up in both the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Blue Grass (G2) en route to his fifth in the Run for the Roses.
Thriving on the cutback to one turn, Practical Joke rebounded in the Dwyer (G3), and he later added the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) back at Saratoga. But he was foiled again around two turns when a close third in the Haskell (G1) and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). He concluded his career with a deep-closing third in the Cigar Mile (G1).
4. Practical Joke is by leading sire Into Mischief, from the male line of Storm Cat.
Into Mischief has emerged as the pre-eminent exponent of the Storm Cat sire line in North America today. He’s well-related on his dam’s side too. Out of Broodmare of the Year Leslie’s Lady, Into Mischief is a half-brother to Hall of Famer Beholder and promising young sire Mendelssohn.
A record-breaking leading sire, Into Mischief made history as the first stallion responsible for back-to-back Kentucky Derby winners in Authentic (2020) and Mandaloun (2021). He has several hopefuls in the mix this year, including Holy Bull (G3) victor Rocket Can, but perhaps his flashiest prospect, Extra Anejo, is still on his way back from injury. Practical Joke is off to a solid start at stud himself, with several Group 1 scorers in Chile and a stakes triple on March 4 – Practical Move in the San Felipe (G2), Kentucky Oaks (G1) candidate Shidabhuti in the Busher S., and Little Vic in the Tom Fool H. (G3).
5. Practical Joke is bred along similar lines to $4.5 million-earner Life Is Good.
Practical Joke’s dam, Halo Humor, is by the influential Distorted Humor. A son of champion Forty Niner, the 1988 Derby near-misser, Distorted Humor is the sire of 2003 Derby and Preakness (G1) hero Funny Cide. Distorted Humor is also the paternal grandsire of I’ll Have Another, who likewise won the first two jewels of the Triple Crown in 2012.
Another high-profile son of Into Mischief and a Distorted Humor mare is Life Is Good, a top contender for the 2021 Kentucky Derby until he was sidelined by injury. Life Is Good went on to win four Grade 1s, including the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and Pegasus World Cup (G1). 

6. Practical Move’s dam, Ack Naughty, raced exclusively on turf.

Ack Naughty won or placed in 12 of 15 career starts, all on turf. Although she competed mostly versus fellow New York-breds, she proved herself in open company as the runner-up in the 2016 Chelsey Flower S. and as a last-to-first allowance winner at Saratoga. Ack Naughty also collected minor awards in a pair of state-bred stakes, and she was a troubled fourth in the Yaddo H. to future Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) upsetter Bar of Gold.

7. Ack Naughty is a daughter of champion Afleet Alex, who came close to a Triple Crown sweep.

Ack Naughty is by Afleet Alex, who amazingly recovered from a near-disastrous clipping of heels turning for home to win the 2005 Preakness. He then crushed the Belmont (G1) by seven lengths in what turned out to be his final start. Arguably a tad unlucky not to sweep the Triple Crown, Afleet Alex was a close third in the Derby pace meltdown that set it up for the 50-1 Giacomo. His campaign helped to shine a spotlight on the pediatric cancer charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand. 

Afleet Alex had also been a top two-year-old, taking the Hopeful and Sanford (G2) and placing in both the Champagne and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The male-line descendant of Mr. Prospector sired a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner in Texas Red (2014), had a son emulate him in the Hopeful (Dublin in 2009), and got such major performers as Canadian champion Skywire and millionaire Iotapa. Sir Winston, the 2019 Belmont victor, is out of a mare by Afleet Alex.

8. Ack Naughty’s dam, Dash for Money, was trained by Brown’s mentor, Bobby Frankel.

Ack Naughty was produced by Dash for Money, a Stronach Stables homebred who finished third in the 2003 Railbird (G3) at old Hollywood Park. Of greater interest is the fact that she was trained by the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel, Brown’s mentor. Moreover, Brown worked with Dash for Money herself when they were based in Frankel’s Hollywood Park barn. 

Dash for Money produced two stakes winners, So Lonesome in the New York-bred ranks and No Spin, both successful on dirt and turf. 

9. Dash for Money is by General Meeting, who sired the favored entry in the 1999 Derby

General Meeting was a useful runner, as evidenced by his runner-up effort to Hall of Famer Best Pal in the 1990 Hollywood Futurity (G1) and his photo-finish victory in the Volante H. (G3) on the Santa Anita turf. But he became a top sire in California for his famed breeders, the late John and Betty Mabee’s Golden Eagle Farm.

By 1977 Triple Crown legend Seattle Slew and out of a mare by Alydar, Affirmed’s archrival through the 1978 classics, General Meeting sired the favored entry in the 1999 Kentucky Derby – Golden Eagle homebreds General Challenge and Excellent Meeting. The filly Excellent Meeting ran a heroic fifth, while General Challenge got a hefty bump at the start, steadied early, and never recovered in 11th. Both retired as multiple Grade 1-winning millionaires, but $2.8 million-earner General Challenge had the better post-Derby career with marquee wins in the Pacific Classic (G1) and Santa Anita H. (G1).

10. Dash for Money’s dam, Hot Lear, is the ancestress of champion Vino Rosso.

Dash for Money is out of Hot Lear, a multiple stakes scorer from just seven career starts on the Northern California circuit. Hot Lear is also the dam of the prolific producer Flaming Heart, who is responsible for Commissioner, the near-misser in the 2014 Belmont, and Laugh Track, a neck second in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Flaming Heart factors as the granddam of champion Vino Rosso, hero of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Hot Lear’s influence as a broodmare could be enhanced by her pedigree pattern of close inbreeding to Lt. Stevens. Both of her parents are out of Lt. Stevens mares. Hot Lear’s sire is high-class European miler Lear Fan, and her dam is Grade 3 vixen Medicine Woman. Lt. Stevens, notably the broodmare sire of Alysheba, himself boasts a genetic powder-keg: his full sisters are the phenomenal matrons Moccasin (who was voted Horse of the Year at two!) and Thong (ancestress of Nureyev, Sadler’s Wells et al.).

11. Medicine Woman is the “aunt” of Kentucky Derby third-placer Blumin Affair.

Medicine Woman captured the 1990 Brown and Williamson H. (G3), the forerunner of the race now known as the Derby City Distaff, and placed third in Keeneland’s Thoroughbred Club of America (G3) to Hall of Famer Safely Kept. By Dr. Blum, a son of brilliant Hall of Famer Dr. Fager, Medicine Woman produced a couple of stakes winners and also appears as the granddam of Grade 1-winning sprinter I’m the Tiger. 

Medicine Woman’s younger full sister, Medical Affair, wasn’t in the same class on the racetrack, but she became the dam of multiple Grade 1-placed Blumin Affair. Although Blumin Affair’s lone stakes win came by a nose in the 1995 San Diego H. (G3), he hit the board in a few majors. Second in the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and 1994 Arkansas Derby (G2), Blumin Affair was third in Go for Gin’s Kentucky Derby as well as the 1995 Pacific Classic.

12. This female line traces to a star European filly of 1863, and further back, to an Epsom Oaks winner.

Following the matrilineal thread much further back, Practical Move is a direct descendant of La Tosca, regarded as the champion two-year-old filly of 1890. Among her stakes victories is a score in the June S. over Correction, Domino’s celebrated full sister. In his magisterial Racing in America, 1866-1921, Walter Vosburgh describes La Tosca as “exquisitely beautiful…one of the most beautiful mares that ever carried silk.”

La Tosca descends from La Toucques, a filly who beat males in several prestigious races on the Continent. After landing the 1863 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) in her own division, she added the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby), the staying prize now known as the Prix Royal-Oak, and the Grosser Preis von Baden. La Toucques also placed in that season’s Grand Prix de Paris and Goodwood Cup.

La Toucques herself traces to an English classic winner. Her great-granddam, Industry, garnered the 1838 Oaks at Epsom.