SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher could have as many as three Grade 1, $1 million Whitney contenders with Life Is Good, Happy Saver and Americanrevolution all possible for the nine-furlong test for older horses on August 6 at Saratoga.
All three contenders are slated to breeze Saturday over the main track in preparation for the 95th renewal of the historic event, which offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Keeneland.
CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm’s Life Is Good has banked earnings in excess of $3.5 million through a record of 9-7-1-0, garnering a career-best 112 Beyer Speed Figure last out for his five-length romp in the seven-furlong Grade 2 John A. Nerud on July 2 at Belmont.
The 4-year-old Into Mischief colt closed out his sophomore season with a dominant win in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Del Mar and returned in January to post a frontrunning score in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park.
Wertheimer and Frere’s Kentucky homebred Happy Saver won the 2020 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup traveling 10 furlongs at Belmont and has completed the exacta in each of his last four starts, including a distant second to Flightline last out in the Grade 1 Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on June 11 over Big Sandy.
Pletcher said the 5-year-old Super Saver chestnut, who was also under consideration for the restricted Alydar on August 4, deserves a shot at a second Grade 1.
“He’s very consistent. He’s training as well as he always has,” Pletcher said. “We’ll breeze on Saturday and make a final decision. He’s a Grade 1 winner already and while the Alydar is a fine race, we feel he’s worthy of a giving a Grade 1 another try. He’s won from seven-eighths to a mile and a quarter and he shows up and gives you a good effort every time.”
CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm’s New York-bred Americanrevolution captured the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets in December at Aqueduct. The 4-year-old Constitution chestnut, bred by Fred W. Hertrich and John D. Fielding, finished a game second last out to possible Whitney rival Olympiad in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster on July 2 at Churchill Downs.
“We’ll strongly consider entering Americanrevolution as well. We’ll see how things go Saturday and talk it over with the team,” Pletcher said.
The regally-bred Capensis, by Tapit and out of multiple graded stakes-winner Tara’s Tango, will face winners for the first time in Race 10 on Saturday, a 1 1/16-mile Mellon turf allowance for 3-year-olds and up.
A $2 million purchase at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Capensis was a strong debut winner by five lengths going the same distance on July 2 at Belmont Park.
Pletcher said he had considered entering Capensis in the one-mile Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame on August 5, but will save the grey colt’s stakes debut for the Grade 3, $200,000 Saranac on September 3 should he perform well this weekend.
“I thought his debut was as impressive as you could hope for a first timer to be. He really showed a great turn of foot down the lane and won convincingly,” Pletcher said. “We strongly considered him for the Hall of Fame, but felt that if we could bridge the gap between his debut and the Saranac it might make a little more sense.”
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Life Is Good winning the John A. Nerud July 2, 2022. (Chelsea Durand)