(Life Is Good / Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
OPTIONS OPEN FOR LIFE IS GOOD, SAN FELIPE POSSIBLE
Life Is Good continued on the path of 2020 Horse-of-the-Year-in-waiting Authentic when he won Saturday’s Grade III Sham Stakes, although the three-quarter length margin of victory wasn’t as large as his odds of 20 cents on the dollar might have warranted.
But Bob Baffert will take it.
All was well Sunday morning as the two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer pondered his next move with both Life Is Good and Sham runner-up Medina Spirit, which he also conditions.
“They both came back well so we’re pretty happy about both of them,” Baffert said as he embarks yet again on the Triple Crown trail.
“The San Felipe (on March 6) is a race we’re considering, but I might keep them separated. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. It’s a long way off, but they both ran really well.
“One might go out of town or they might stay here. I don’t know yet. It’s too far out. The important thing is they ran well and we thought they would and they ran fast.”
Life Is Good led throughout after breaking from the outside post position in a compact field of five. The bay Into Mischief colt set fractions of 23.56, 46.67, 1:10.66 and 1:23.24 under Mike Smith, who had a four-length lead entering the stretch and never touched him with the crop, although he did have to show it to him when Medina Spirit closed the gap as his touted stablemate drifted out in the final sixteenth.
“I always tell Mike to try and save something,” Baffert said. “Life Is Good wasn’t as tired as I thought he could have been. He needs to learn to relax a little bit better, but he will. He’ll mature, just like Authentic.
“When he won the Sham last year, he was sort of puzzling, zig-zagging all the way down the stretch, but they’re babies.
“Still, you can see their raw talent.”
SANENUS SET FOR GRADE II LA CANADA
Sanenus, a five-year-old Chilean-bred mare, seeks her first United States victory Saturday when she runs in the Grade II La Canada Stakes for fillies and mares four and up at 1 1/16 miles.
The daughter of Scat Daddy finished second after leading in the Grade III Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs last Nov. 21. It was her third race in this country for trainer Michael McCarthy.
“Stellar Sound also is a possibility for the race,” McCarthy said. “She worked really well here yesterday (five furlongs in 59.60, third fastest of 79 drills at the distance).”
La Buena Vida, another Chilean-bred mare, is nominated to both the La Canada and next Sunday’s $75,000 Kalookan Queen Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track and will make her U.S. debut in that race.
A five-year-old gray daughter of Gemologist, La Buena Vida (the good life) never ran in a race with less than 10 starters in eight starts in her native country. McCarthy feels that will be an advantage in the U.S.
“I think it would help, although she made need one race to take the rust out,” McCarthy said. Umberto Rispoli has the mount on the consistent mare, who has a 5-1-1 record from eight career starts.
BALTAS PROUD OF HIS HORSES DESPITE ONE WIN
Richard Baltas won the recent Del Mar training title but has run into a case of seconditis the first five days of Santa Anita’s winter/spring meet.
Still, the 59-year-old native of Gary, Indiana remains philosophical, preferring to see the glass as half full, and is a boon to the racing office.
He has entered 20 horses this meet, second only to the prolific Doug O’Neill, who has entered 24.
“I’m not finding the Winners’ Circle but the horses are running good,” said Baltas, who has one first, eight seconds and two thirds from 20 starts so far. “We’re third in earnings (with $312,600, behind only Bob Baffert’s $417,120 and Peter Miller’s $366,610).
“The horses are running well but it’s a tough game. You don’t find the Winners’ Circle every time. I’m proud of the horses; I’m just not getting the W’s, but that’s OK. The horses are making money and I’m proud of the way most of barn is running.
“I just haven’t been lucky.”
That will change. Bet on it.
FINISH LINES: With two wins yesterday, Juan Hernandez opened a 10-5 lead over runners-up Joel Rosario, Flavien Prat and Ricky Gonzalez in the race for leading rider . . . Multiple California-bred stakes winner Fashionably Fast worked five furlongs handily from the gate this morning in 1:00.60 for Dean Pederson, who plans to run the six-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit in the $150,000 California Cup Sprint on Jan. 16. There were 174 recorded works Sunday, 22 on the training track . . . Santa Anita will be dark this Monday through Thursday. Live racing resumes Friday, Jan. 8 with first post time 12:30 p.m.