Irad Ortiz, Jr. celebrates winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile aboard Life Is Good
WinStar Farm and CHC Inc. Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Life Is Good put in another sharp job Saturday morning as it nears its next scheduled start in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) $3 million Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park.
The 4-year-old Into Mischief gelding ran five furlongs in 1:00.36 at Palm Beach Downs for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, who was third fastest at 14 horses. Pletcher continues to be impressed with how Life Is Good is heading towards the 1 1/8 mile Pegasus.
“Just another great job this morning. He looked great, finished really strong, galloped well. Looks good here this afternoon. We are very, very happy with him,” Pletcher said. “I got it in a minute and two-fifths, got it shaded 23 [seconds] the last quarter. He galloped seven-eights in 1:26 and two and looked awesome doing it.
Saturday was Life Is Good’s sixth job since his 5 ¾ length Breeders’ Cup triumph on Nov. 6, with the last five taking place in South Florida, where he has never raced and had never raced. never trained until mid-December.
Based in California at 2 and for the start of his 3 year, winning the Sham (G3) and the San Felipe (G2), Life Is Good joined Pletcher last summer and suffered his first career loss by a neckline at the H Allen Jerkens (G1). He’s beaten older horses in each of his last two starts, setting up for the Breeders’ Cup in the one-mile (G2) Kelso.
The Sham, at 1 1/16 miles, is the longest race yet for Life Is Good.
“I like the way he settled here. He trained really well, but also a bit more relaxed,” Pletcher said. “I think he likes the Palm Beach Downs environment. We kind of take him out when he’s the only horse on the racetrack, so he appreciates that.
“His works, he couldn’t work any better, but he was always such an exceptional work horse that I suppose anything other than exceptional would be of concern,” he added. “He seems to be just as good or better than he was before the Breeders’ Cup.”
Pletcher said Colonel Liam of Robert and Lawana Low came out of his five furlongs breeze in 1:00.23 on Friday at Palm Beach Downs, the fastest of 11 horses, as he prepares to defend his title in the $1 Million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1).
” Very happy. Looks like he’s going about it in good order,” he said. “Still a breeze, but all systems work.”
The other Pletcher horses on Pegasus Turf’s initial invitation list were Never Surprised and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners of Repole Stable and Largent of Twin Creeks Racing Stables. Never Surprised, winner of the Gulfstream Tropical Park Derby on December 26, remains on track after a Friday breeze of 51.40 seconds at Palm Beach Downs.
Largent ran fourth in the Tropical Turf (G3) on Jan. 8 at Gulfstream, his first start since finishing second by a neckline behind Colonel Liam in last winter’s Pegasus Turf.
“I need to speak to the connections. I don’t know if we can bounce back in three weeks,” Pletcher said. “I want to see how he does this week, but right now we’re just playing day to day.”
The Pegasus World Cup program will feature seven graduated stakes worth $5.2 million in prize money, including the inaugural $500,000 Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf Invitational (G3) where Pletcher plans to lead Sweet Melania , winner of multiple Lows graduated stakes. Sweet Melania ran a half mile in 50.43 seconds Friday at Palm Beach Downs.
Also on the work tab for Pletcher on Saturday was Donegal Racing’s Mo Donegal. 3-year-old son of champion Uncle Mo, winner of Dec. 4 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct, clocked five furlongs in 1:01.26, fourth fastest by 14 horsepower, and is headed to the $250,000 Holy Bull (G3) February 5 for his season debut.
“Mo Donegal worked this morning, five eighths, and went really well,” said Pletcher. “We’re on target for the Holy Bull.”
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