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ARCADIA, CA – Just like the tote hinted could happen, the heavily-favored Life Is Good made winning look easy in Saturday’s $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
Life Is Good broke from the rail under Mike Smith as the 1/2 top choice and settled comfortably through opening fractions of :23.63, :46.83, and 1:10.55.
Though he drifted out off the turn, and did so again in the stretch, Life Is Good drew off to win the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route by 8 lengths in 1:42.18.
“He’s learning to settle,” Smith said. “He’s maturing and getting smarter. Early on, he was so used to exploding from the pole or the gate. He’s learning how to run now which is the big key, and he’s learning how to get into a rhythm. The rhythm is going to be a bit fast because he is that good and he has an extremely high cruising speed. We are going to have to work on some little quirks. He starts looking at things because he is out there by himself, but I can’t take so much of a hold of him to give him company either, so it’s a catch-22.”
The winner’s Bob Baffert stablemate Medina Spirit stalked from second throughout and fought gamely to hold off Dream Shake for second by 2 1/4 lengths.
Roman Centurian, The Great One, None Above the Law, and Govenor’s Party completed the order of finish.
The San Felipe is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Life Is Good earned 50 points for the win, with Medina Spirit receiving 20 for second, Dream Shake 10 for third, and Roman Centurian 5 for fourth.
Life Is Good’s win followed similarly impressive victories here on debut and in the Sham Stakes (G3). The Into Mischief colt has now earned $274,200 for co-owners WinStar Farm and China Horse Club, who purchased him for $525,000 as a yearling.
“I like the way he got away from the gate, both of my horses got away cleanly, they were in a good spot,” Baffert said. “At the 1/4 pole, I could tell he was just still cruising, just doing it easy. I just feel fortunate that I have this horse in my barn. My horse that ran second (Medina Spirit), he’s a really nice horse and I felt bad I had to run him against him, but they need these races and I didn’t want to ship yet.”
Life Is Good returned $3 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show. Medina Spirit brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show. Dream Shake paid $3 to show.
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