March 8 (UPI) — Life Is Good was the life of the weekend Kentucky Derby prep party, dominating the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, while long shots won two other qualifiers for the May 1 Run for the Roses.
Idol and Hit the Road won Grade I affairs at Santa Anita, showing promise of becoming forces in the Classic and Turf Mile divisions. Micheline, who lives in a backstretch tent, won a classy edition of the Hillsborough Stakes on the Tampa Bay Downs turf.
Super Saturday in Dubai opened the door to World Cup night for some of the horses who have toiled through seven weeks of the Carnival. We have that and other worldwide action is a separate story so let’s get right down to the Derby action.
Life Is Good, indeed — especially for the connections of the colt of that name who remained undefeated with an all-the-way, 8-lengths victory in Saturday’s $300,000 Grade II San Felipe at Santa Anita.
The Into Mischief colt, trained by six-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, was never threatened as he ran his record to 3-for-3. While he wandered a little through the stretch, jockey Mike Smith said he was just gawking at himself on the infield video board — nothing to be concerned about.
Life Is Good is campaigned by the China Horse Club and WinStar Farm — the same team that sent out Justify to win the 2018 Triple Crown, also with Baffert training and Smith riding.
He finished the 1 1/6 miles of the San Felipe on a fast track in 1:42.18. Baffert’s No. 2 horse in the race, Medina Spirit, finished second, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Dream Shake.
“He’s just so talented,” Smith said. “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.”
Baffert said he hated to run Medina Spirit against Life Is Good but wasn’t ready to ship either one. And he seemed well pleased with the winner’s performance.