Tough field of Derby hopefuls lead by Baffert’s Life Is Good in Saturday’s San Felipe GII

March 4, 2021

Key prep for Runhappy Santa Anita Derby

ARCADIA, Calif. —A winner of a Grade III stakes on Jan. 2, Bob Baffert’s lightly raced Life Is Good heads an outstanding field of seven sophomores going a mile and one sixteenth in Saturday’s Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. 

A key prep for the Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on April 3, the San Felipe, which was won last year by Baffert’s eventual Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Authentic, will be contested for the 83rd time, with Baffert bidding to win it for a record eighth time on Saturday.

Owned by CHC, Inc. and WinStar Farm, Life Is Good, a Kentucky-bred colt by Into Mischief out of the Distorted Humor mare Beach Walk, was making his second start in the Sham and was off as the 1-5 favorite.  Although he opened up a four length advantage at the top of the lane, he narrowly held sway by three quarters of a length over stablemate Medina Spirit, who helps provide Baffert with a solid one-two punch on Saturday. 

A 9 ½ length first-out maiden winner at 1-5 going 6 ½ furlongs on Nov. 22 at Del Mar, Life Is Good, a $525,000 Keeneland September Yearling, has been no secret and will likely go favored in his third start with regular rider Mike Smith up.

Baffert is also well-armed with Medina Spirit, who comes off a gutty neck win at even money in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at a mile and one sixteenth on Jan. 30.  A bargain $35,000 purchase at age two, Medina Spirit set a fast pace and was extra game in victory while prevailing over both Roman Centurian and highly regarded Hot Rod Charlie on the gallop out as well.  A fast finishing second, beaten three quarters of length by his stablemate Life Is Good in the Grade III Sham on Jan. 2, Medina Spirit has shown tremendous heart in his last two races.    

Owned by Zedan Racing, Stables, Inc., Medina Spirit is a Florida-bred colt by the Giant’s Causeway stallion Prontonico, out of Mongolian Changa, by Brilliant Speed.  A winner of two of his three starts, Medina Spirit will be ridden for the first time by eastern-based John Velazquez. 

Second, beaten a nose by Baffert’s Spielberg while still a maiden in the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 19, Doug O’Neill’s The Great One came back to blitz maidens by 14 lengths in a one mile maiden race here on Jan. 23.  A Louisiana-bred colt by O’Neill’s 2016 Florida and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, The Great One has the benefit of ample seasoning, as he’ll be making his sixth start and be going a route of ground for the fifth consecutive time.

A $185,000 purchase at age two, The Great One, who is out of the El Corredor mare Little Ms Protocol, is owned by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson’s ERJ Racing LLC, Train Wreck Al Racing Stables, Niall J. Brennan, Tom Fritz and William Strauss and is named for NHL hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

A big second, beaten a neck by Medina Spirit in the Grade III Lewis Stakes Jan. 30, Simon Callaghan’s Roman Centurian, who was an impressive maiden winner at the San Felipe distance two starts back on Jan. 3, rallied from well off the pace to come up a neck short in a three-horse Robert B. Lewis photo.  Tractable early, this son of Empire Maker gives every indication he’ll improve with added distance as he tries a mile and one sixteenth for the third consecutive time. 

Bred in Kentucky by Don Alberto Corporation, Roman Centurian is out of the Bernardini mare Spare Change.  Owned by Don Alberto and Qatar Racing Limited, he’ll be making his fourth start and be handled by regular rider Juan Hernandez.   

Although he’s only run once, Peter Eurton’s Dream Shake could not have been anymore impressive in breaking his 6 ½ furlong maiden by 4 ¾ lengths here on Feb. 7.  Despite the fact he was ridden by Joel Rosario, Dream Shake, a Kentucky-bred colt by Twirling Candy, was off at a whopping 20-1, but won like an odds-on favorite. 

Owned by Exline-Border Racing, LLC, SAF Racing and Richard Hausman, Dream Shake, who is out of the Street Cry mare Even Song, would appear to be taking a giant leap in his second start, but he retains the services of Rosario and therefore looms a serious threat with a 96 Beyer in-hand.

THE GRADE II SAN FELIPE, Race 6 of 11, Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT

1. Life Is Good—Mike Smith—122

2. Dream Shake—Joel Rosario–120

3. Medina Spirit—John Velazquez—122

4. None Above the Law—Flavien Prat–120

5. The Great One—Abel Cedillo—120

6. Govenor’s Party—Mario Gutierrez—120

7. Roman Centurian—Juan Hernandez–120

First post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon.  All of Santa Anita’s races can be viewed free of charge at and fans can wager via  For additional information, please visit or call (626) 574-RACE.

Press Release

Photo: Life Is Good (Benoit)

What a day for @jonathanstettin who had the Rainbow 6 twice! That’s why he’s the KING!

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