Perhaps #1 Life Is Good will continue to develop along the same lines as former stablemate Authentic did en route to that one’s ascension to the top of his class last year. However, I have some reservations about this colt as he’s thrust into the toughest test of his career. He clearly possesses a great deal of speed, which he’s flashed in the early stages of both career starts. Yet it is still unclear if he possesses the necessary stamina to develop into a true router. His damside pedigree is certainly more geared towards sprinting, though Into Mischief is a highly versatile sire.
Yet my chief misgiving with Life Is Good revolves around his temperament. This horse can be extremely high strung during his races, and that was on display when he ran off in the early stages of the Sham. Some are choosing to believe that the intention was to win by only 3/4-length, but to my eye this horse was tiring in the late stages as Medina Spirit ate into his lead. Furthermore, while he has calmed down a bit in his morning training, that’s primarily due to the fact that Bob Baffert no longer works him in company, as the horse wasn’t able to handle that added stress. He clearly possesses a high level of ability, but I suspect vulnerabilities will be exposed as the distances increase.
I prefer his underrated Bob Baffert trained stablemate #3 Medina Spirit. This horse has done nothing wrong in his career, overachieving in each of his starts. That narrow loss to Life Is Good in the Sham was no fluke, and he proved that with a gritty performance to win the Robert B. Lewis last time. He had no business to continue battling down the stretch in a race where the pace completely fell apart after some swift and contested early fractions. He’s displayed stamina and heart, qualities that the favorite in this race is yet to exhibit.
There are other talented runners in this field, but they will all have to progress to upset the Baffert duo. #7 Roman Centurian figures to keep improving with added ground, but he doesn’t get that here and he was unable to defeat Medina Spirit with a perfect trip last time. #2 Dream Shake ran an extraordinary debut TimeformUS Speed Figure of 120, but he will have to successfully stretch out and step up in class, major hurdles for such a lightly raced horse.
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,2,5,7
Trifecta: 3 with 1,7 with 1,2,5,7