Into Mischief's Life Is Good Wires Woodward

Life Is GoodSarah Andrew

'TDN Rising Star' Life Is Good (Into Mischief), backed like he couldn't lose the GI Woodward S. at Belmont at the Big A, was briefly challenged by longshot Law Professor (Constitution) before ultimately shutting the door on that foe and splashing home a 1 1/4-length winner Saturday. The winner's stablemate Keepmeinmind (Laoban) was third in the four-horse affair.

Perfect in three prior Stateside starts this season, with a lone blemish a fourth in the G1 Dubai World Cup in March, the China Horse Club and WinStar Farm representative was a rare 1-9 on the morning line and garnered $364,099 of the $409,486 wagered to win on the nine-furlong event.

Away on top and quickly in command, Life Is Good was kept well off the inside by Irad Ortiz, Jr. as he doled out splits of :24.40, :48.60 and 1:13.07 over the sloppy track. Ortiz peeked back heading for home to find Law Professor in hot pursuit, and he stepped on the gas and got out the whip for the stretch drive. Law Professor–a winner of the rained-off GII Santa Anita Mathis Mile S. last December and most recently the restricted Tapit S. at Kentucky Downs Sept. 1 in his first start for Rob Atras–continued to keep Life Is Good honest to midstretch, but the chalk called on his class and eventually edged away while kept to task by Ortiz.

“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,” Ortiz said. “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.”

With his only other defeat a neck second to formidable champion Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) in last year's GI H. Allen Jerkens Memorial S., Life Is Good concluded his sophomore season with a romp in the GI Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile S. at Del Mar in November and picked right up where he left off when handling Horse of the Year Knicks Go (Paynter) in that one's swan song in the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. in January. He faded to fourth behind Country Grammer (Tonalist) after setting the pace in the 10-furlong Dubai World Cup, but bounced back in Belmont's seven-furlong John A. Nerud S. July 2 before stretching back out to 1 1/8 miles to handle an accomplished bunch in Saratoga's GI Whitney S. Aug. 6.

“You could tell going into the first turn he had his ears straight up and was really relaxed,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “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 biggergoal in five weeks, so we tried to balance that out the best we could.”

Focus will now shift to Keeneland, where Life Is Good could take on unbeaten divisional leader Flightline (Tapit) in the Nov. 5 GI Breeders' Cup Classic–surely the route fans are rooting for–or defend his title in the Dirt Mile.

“The plan is to probably ship on Monday afternoon to Keeneland,” Pletcher noted.

It was an exacta of rooting interests for WinStar Farm, which also stands the runner-up's sire.

“Constitutions, you never take them lightly and Law Professor ran the race of his life,” said WinStar's Elliott Walden. “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.”

Saturday, Belmont The Big A
WOODWARD S.-GI, $465,000, Belmont The Big A, 10-1, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:49.57, sy.
1–LIFE IS GOOD, 126, c, 4, by Into Mischief
                1st Dam: Beach Walk, by Distorted Humor
                2nd Dam: Bonnie Blue Flag, by Mineshaft
                3rd Dam: Tap Your Feet, by Dixieland Band
'TDN Rising Star'. ($525,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-CHC Inc. &
WinStar Farm LLC; B-Gary & Mary West Stables Inc. (KY);
T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $275,000. Lifetime Record:
11-9-1-0, $4,361,700. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the
free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Law Professor, 122, g, 4, Constitution–Haunted Heroine, by
Ghostzapper. 1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. O-Twin Creeks Racing
Stables, LLC; B-Twin Creeks Farm (KY); T-Rob Atras. $100,000.
3–Keepmeinmind, 122, c, 4, Laoban–Inclination, by
Victory Gallop. O-Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith &
Spendthrift Farm LLC; B-Southern Equine Stables, LLC (KY);
T-Todd A. Pletcher. $60,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 10 1/4, 8 1/4. Odds: 0.05, 26.75, 13.70.
Also Ran: Informative. Scratched: Thomas Shelby.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs.

Pedigree Notes:

The second foal to race out of Beach Walk, a $435,000 KEESEP yearling who went 0-for-5 in her career, Life Is Good is one of 115 stakes victors, 54 graded stakes winners and 11 Grade I conquerors for Into Mischief. His second dam Bonnie Blue Flag was runner-up in the 2010 GI Test S. and is a half-sister to MGISW Diamondrella (GB) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}). Beach Walk has an unraced juvenile filly named Living Good (Blame), a yearling colt by Candy Ride (Arg) and a full-brother to Life Is Good foaled Mar. 31. She returned to Into Mischief for 2023.

 

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