Ain’t Life Grand Drills Through Final G1 Runhappy Travers Tune-up

August 20, 2022

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— RPM Thoroughbreds’ Iowa homebred Ain’t Life Grand breezed a bullet half-mile in 45.88 seconds Saturday over the Saratoga main track in preparation for the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers.

“I thought it was a very good work,” said trainer Kelly Von Hemel. “That track was playing a little bit faster today than what it has been so the time was a little quicker than we anticipated. But he did everything like we wanted and well within himself. He came back great and we’re very happy with it.”

Saturday’s work was a second local breeze for the son of leading third crop stallion Not This Time, who went a half-mile in 48.23 on August 13 over the main track. Based at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, Von Hemel said he shipped Ain’t Life Grand to Saratoga early by design. He is currently stabled in Barn 27 on the main track, which is occupied by trainer Dale Romans. 

“I think it sure helps a lot. He’s not a horse that’s difficult in that aspect but Dale Romans had said it would be beneficial to train on the track and getting a couple works over it would help our chances,” Von Hemel said. “Plus, coming from Iowa, flying wasn’t an option, so it was a long trip and we wanted to make sure he got here in time to acclimate, get over the long trip and make sure he was able to get over the track a couple of times.”

A winner of 5-of-8 starts, Ain’t Life Grand will enter the Runhappy Travers off a pair of stakes wins at Prairie Meadows. He defeated open stakes company in the Iowa Derby on July 9 ahead of a seven-length win against his Hawkeye State-bred counterparts in the Iowa Stallion on July 23.

Ain’t Life Grand will be Von Hemel’s first starter at Saratoga since subsequent influential broodmare Miss Macy Sue, the dam of Not This Time, finished fourth in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss in 2008.

Ain’t Life Grand is out of the unraced Medaglia d’Oro mare Cat d’Oro, who is out of Grade 1-winner Cat Moves.

NYRA Press Office

Photo: Ain’t Life Grand wins the Iowa Derby (Coady Photography)

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