(Life Is Good flies home the winner in the G2 San Felipe Stakes / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
MIKE SMITH, LIFE IS GOOD, WINNER: “He’s learning to settle. 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.
“When the big screen is lit up, they can see it. He was actually looking at it walking to the gate, and he kept seeing the horses on the screen. I kept thinking he might do it again, and he did! That’s what he is looking at. In the mornings he goes by the screen like it’s nothing because it’s not on. He was locked in 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.
“This horse is like that Muhammad Ali song. He floats like a butterfly, and stings like a bee.”
“I think he showed that he could get the distance, when a horse can get a mile and sixteenth the way he did today, it gives you every indication they could go an eighth of a mile further.
“(CHC inc.) keeps blessing me, letting me ride their horses for them. For me, I’m just happy to be part of the team. Winstar and China Horse Club have been extremely good to me. They have given me a Hall Of Fame career just on its own and we are blessed to have this horse. I think this is the kind of horse that belongs in those kinds of races and can pull something like that off. We will just have to wait and see.”
JOHN VELAZQUEZ, MEDINA SPIRIT, RUNNER-UP: “My horse broke well and settled right behind the winner. I wanted to be two or three behind. When it came time to run, I was hoping that he (Life Is Good) would come back to me, but he never did. That horse (Life Is Good) ran a great race. I still think my horse absolutely has room for more improvement, so we’ll see.”
BOB BAFFERT, LIFE IS GOOD, WINNER: “I like the way he got away from the gate, both of my horses got away cleanly, they were in a good spot. 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. But Mike he 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 could be a super horse, we’ll find out today’, but at the quarter 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 so I’m just happy for the China Horse Club. It’s nice to come out here, it feels a little festive today watching these good horses run.”
NOTES: The winning owners are CHC Inc and WinStar Farm LLC. The winner to receive 50 Kentucky Derby points, 20 to second, 10 to third and five to fourth.