ARCADIA, CA – China Horse Club and WinStar Farm’s Life Is Good made good on his 1/5 favoritism with a breezing score in Saturday’s $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Life Is Good and jockey Mike Smith outkicked fellow Bob Baffert trainee Medina Spirit for the lead, then strolled uncontested through opening fractions of :23.56, :46.67, and 1:10.66.
Medina Spirit closed the gap late in the stretch, but the confidently-handled Life Is Good was never truly tested before crossing 3/4 of a length the best, completing the 1-mile fast dirt route in 1:36.63.
“It was his first time around two turns,” Smith said. “He got away just a little slow, but he got up and of course he’s naturally just so quick, he was just up underneath himself. Just as we were heading toward home, he was doing things all by himself so easy out there. He didn’t know what he was doing going twice around, and he just got the lead and was looking out at the infield on the big screen. He could see himself and he got to looking, but I was watching as well, so I saw the horse coming on the outside. I didn’t want to panic, I just showed (the crop) to him a little bit. What I liked really was after the race, when I stood up and the horse got next to me, he jumped back in the bridle and I mean I had to pull him up.”
Parnelli, Waspirant, and Uncle Boogie (who was pinched back at the start and never recovered) completed the order of finish.
The Sham is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Life Is Good earned 10 points for the win, with Medina Spirit receiving 4 for second, Parnelli 2 for third, and Waspirant 1 for fourth.
Life Is Good’s win followed a sizzling debut score going 6 furlongs over the local dirt on November 22. Purchased for $525,000 as a yearling, the Into Mischief colt has now bankrolled $94,200 in a start to a career that mimics last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Authentic.
“He’s just very, very talented,” Smith said. “We don’t know yet how talented. We haven’t gotten close yet.”
Life Is Good returned $2.40 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Medina Spirit brought back $3.60 to place and $2.10 to show, while Parnelli paid $2.10 to show.