Life Is Good is just too good for the field in the San Felipe going gate-to-wire winning by 8 lengths

March 7, 2021

ARCADIA, Calif. —Over a racetrack that has not been producing sizzling times, Bob Baffert’s Life Is Good, in only his third career start, rendered six rivals insignificant as he fairly waltzed to a massive eight-length win in Saturday’s Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, further affirming his status as the West’s dominant Kentucky Derby hopeful.  Ridden by Mike Smith, Life Is Good led gate to wire and despite the fact he drifted out very wide through the lane, stopped the clock for a mile and one sixteenth in a rapid 1:42.18.

Breaking from the rail, Life Is Good was instantly in command, with Smith sitting still as he enjoyed a 2 ½ length lead seven furlongs from home.  Down the backside, Life Is Good was totally unpressured and was four lengths clear mid-way around the far turn.  From there, it seemed it was just a matter of how far he’d win by as he maintained an insurmountable advantage.

While providing Baffert with his record eighth San Felipe win, Life Is Good, a colt by Into Mischief, out of the Distorted Humor mare Beach Walk, picked up 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, giving him 60 total and thus assuring himself a berth in the Run for the Roses on May 1 while also firmly establishing himself the heavy favorite for the Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

“I think he showed that he could get the distance, when a horse can get a mile and a sixteenth the way he did today, it gives you every indication they could go an eighth of a mile further,” said Smith. 

When asked about the fact Life Is Good drifted out to about the 10-path in deep stretch, Smith attributed it to Santa Anita’s Infield Big Screen.

“When the Big Screen is lit up, they can see it,” said Smith.  “In the mornings, he goes by the screen like it’s nothing because it’s not on.  He was locked on it down the lane today.  He’s just so talented.  I had a strong hold on him down to the wire, just holding onto him, making sure that he stayed straight.”

A gate to wire winner of the Grade III Sham Stakes going one mile on Jan. 2, Life Is Good was off at 1-2 and paid $3.00, $2.20 and $2.10.

“I like the way he got away from the gate, both of my horses (including runner-up Medina Spirit) got away cleanly, they were in a good spot,” said Baffert, who will now go about angling on winning his record 10th Santa Anita Derby.  “Down the backside, that’s where this horse can get a little tough and I was hoping we’d get a little 47 and change (half mile).  But Mike just sat on him, he was doing it so easily, I saw 46 and four, I said, ‘Well, I think I could live with that.’  I always thought he would be a super horse…but at the quarter pole, I could tell he was just still cruising, just doing it easy.”

Owned by CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm, Life Is Good, who is unbeaten in three starts, picked up $180,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $274,200.

A close second to Life Is Good in the Sham, Medina Spirit never threatened his stablemate, but shook off a challenge from Dream Shake in the final three sixteenths to be second by 2 ¼ lengths.  Off at 3-1 with John Velazquez, Medina Spirit paid $2.80 and $2.20.

Dream Shake, who came off an impressive first-time maiden win sprinting, was third best, finishing 3 ¼ lengths better than Roman Centurian.  Off at 8-1 with Joel Rosario, Dream Shake paid $3.00 to show. 

Fractions on the race, all set by the winner, were 23.63, 46.83, 1:10.55 and 1:35.46.

In addition to the 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points awarded to the winner, the second, third and fourth place finishers will receive 20, 10 and five.

San Felipe Replay

Santa Anita Press Release

Photo: Life Is Good, (Benoit)

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