Life Is Good Cruises To Victory In Woodward - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Life Is Good Cruises To Victory In Woodward

Life Is Good, with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, romps gate to wire in the G1 Woodward

Using his trademark front-running style, favorite Life Is Good set a comfortable pace throughout the $500,000 Woodward (G1) then shook off a challenge from Law Professor in early stretch and cruised to victory Saturday at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. for trainer Todd Pletcher, Life Is Good was sharp from the gate and coasted through the lane to win by 1 1/4 lengths while covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.57 on a sloppy (sealed) track. He returned $2.10

Law Professor, who tracked from third before bidding for the lead nearling the home turn, hung on for second, 10 1/4 lenghts in front of third-place finisher Keepinmind. Informative, who stalked from second early on, finished last in the four-horse field.

Life Is Good set moderate fractions of :24.40, :48:60, and 1:13.07 for six furlongs. The mile went in 1:37.24 with Law Professor posing a brief threat to his outside, but he could not catch the winner.

A 4-year-old Into Mischief colt, Life Is Good came into Saturday's race off a gate-to-wire, two-length triumph in the Whitney (G1) going the same distance August 6 at Saratoga Race Course.

Pletcher said Life Is Good likely ship Monday afternoon to Keeneland, site of the $6-million Longines Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 5.

Campaigned by WinStar Farm and CHC Inc., Life Is Good posted his fourth win at the highest level, including last year's Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) at Del Mar and the 2022 Pegasus World Cup (G1) over Horse o the Year Knicks Go in his season debut, and eighth overall graded stakes victory while improving his career line to 9-1-0 from 11 starts.

Bred in Kentucky by Mary and Gary West Stable Inc., Life Is Good was sold out of the Paramount Sales consignment for $525,0000 to China Horse Club and Maverick Racing at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. His dam is the Distorted Humor mare Beach Walk, who has a yearling Candy Ride colt as well as a full brother to Life Is Good born this year.

G1 Woodward Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Life Is Good (No. 1, $2.10*): “You could tell going into the first turn he had his ears straight up and was really relaxed. That was good, but it also maybe plays against his strength a little bit to be that turned off. Part of his brilliance is being able to go fast and keep going. It was the logical tactics for today, but I don't think it's his preferred running style. His real weapon is his high-cruising speed and the ability to keep going.

“I was confident that he would respond when asked, but it was his first time over a sealed off track, and this track has not been playing real fast since the meet began. Any time you're a prohibitive favorite like that, you're concerned about those things.

“This was one of those, where there was only one satisfactory outcome and that's to win. We wanted to make sure we did that, while also keeping in mind that we have a bigger goal in five weeks so we tried to balance that out the best we could.

On third-place Keepmeinmind: “Tough scenario for him, he's obviously a horse that will enjoy a little more pace.”

Irad Ortiz Jr., winning jockey aboard Life Is Good (No. 1): “He's quick out of there. There was not too much speed in the race and the first part of the race, there was a lot of water – we got a lot of rain. I wanted to get off the rail and was able to do it. He broke fast, and he stayed there [on the lead] the whole time.

“The track didn't help too much – it's not that fast. He relaxed and I didn't have use him [too much]. He just was quiet, he was relaxed and we waited and he gave me everything he had from the quarter pole to the wire. If I asked him a little earlier, he could go faster and keep going.

“The way he relaxed today, he can do anything. That's the good thing about him. He's getting older and his mind is doing much better. I asked him pretty good from the quarter-pole to the wire, but he responded well.”

Elliott Walden, CEO and racing manager of winning co-owner WinStar Farm of Life Is Good (No. 1): “Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] said maybe he was a little too turned off today. He was so keen in the Whitney, he wanted to make sure to keep him relaxed. Handling the mud is a relief more than anything.

“Constitutions, you never take them lightly and Law Professor ran the race of his life. It was a great race by him. Constitutions love the mud, so I figured he'd give him a good run. He drew away from him comfortably. We wanted to win, but we didn't want to put on a show. It's on to the next one.

“Irad was intent on getting him to relax. He was looking at the slop a little bit. The thing about him is even though he runs close to the pace or on the lead, he's very versatile. Today, they went 48 and change. In the Whitney, they went 46 and change. It doesn't matter what the fractions are, he's an incredible horse.”

Rob Atras, trainer of runner-up Law Professor (No. 2): “I'm very happy. This is the way he's been training and we thought he was just as good if not better on the dirt. I know it was sloppy, but we were expecting a big performance. We knew what we were up against in running against Life Is Good. He probably ran just as good or better than we thought.

“I knew the fractions were a little soft, but it was definitely a thrill on the turn. We've seen Life Is Good get a little bit late going a mile and an eighth or further. He obviously had enough horse to hold us off. Just to run with a horse like that is exciting.

“[The Grade 2 Fayette on October 29 at Keeneland] is only 29 days so we'll see how he comes out of it. We wanted to get a race in between and not have to ship, so that's the plan.”

Jose Ortiz, jockey aboard runner-up Law Professor (No. 2): “It was perfect. We had a great trip and he broke well. Life Is Good went to the lead as expected and I sat behind most of the time. I was ready to punch by the three-eighths pole and I was traveling really nicely. He handled the track very good today and Rob [Atras] did an amazing job. He was ready and he put in a huge effort. I'm very happy with him moving forward.

“Heading to the quarter-pole, I thought I had a big shot to win it. But then Life Is Good hit another gear.”

Winning margin: 1 1/4 lengths

Final time (1 1/8 miles): 1:49.57

Fractions: 24.40, 48.60, 1:13.07, 1:37.24

Full order of finish: 1-2-4-5

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