Life Is Good, The Newest Addition at WinStar Farm

Todd Pletcher sends pupil Life Is Good off to his stud career at WinStar Farm | Christie DeBernardis


They could have entered him in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile or the Sprint, where he would have been a top choice in either spot, but the connections of Life Is Good (Into Mischief – Beach Walk, by Distorted Humor) opted to send their versatile 4-year-old to the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic.

While there was no beating Flightline (Tapit) that day, Life Is Good threw it down with his undefeated competitor, forcing Flightline to chase him through blazing early fractions of :22.55 and :45.47. The Classic marked only his third defeat, but Life Is Good was far better than good in his final career start.

“It was a tough decision to decide which was the right race for Life is Good on Breeders' Cup Day,” said his trainer Todd Pletcher. “We felt like with his body of work and his success leading into it, he deserved a chance for champion older horse and Horse of the Year. We let him do his thing with his running style, which is a high cruising speed, and he took it to Flightline. I think he went out in style.”

Campaigned by China Horse Club and WinStar Farm, Life Is Good was the winner of nine races from 12 career starts. A 'TDN Rising Star' on debut at two, the eye-catching bay remained in graded stakes company from there, earning eight graded victories over his career. His resume includes four Grade I wins, starting with a definitive score in last year's edition of the Big Ass Fans Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and then this year adding the Pegasus World Cup Invitational S., Whitney S. and Woodward S.

“What made Life Is Good so special is that he had that unique ability to go fast and carry that speed over a distance of ground,” Pletcher reflected. “From a trainer's perspective, he was very healthy, very sound and just loved his job. Every day he came out, he trained exceptionally and had a great attitude.”

Last year's edition of the GI H. Allen Jerkens Memorial S., where Life Is Good ran second by a neck to the season's eventual Champion Male Sprinter Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music), is a race that WinStar's Elliott Walden remembers as one of the colt's most impressive performances.

“That race, to me, was one of his best,” Walden said. “He was just beat coming off a 170-day layoff. I think when people remember Life Is Good as a racehorse, they will remember that he participated in all the big races. We were not afraid to run him at distances that maybe didn't suit him best, whether it was seven furlongs against Jackie's Warrior or a mile and a quarter against Flightline. He's one of the greats that we've had at WinStar.”

Life Is Good arrived at WinStar Farm the morning after the Breeders' Cup and received a warm welcome from his WinStar and China Horse Club connections. Todd Pletcher also stopped by to send off his pupil, who was known as 'Scooter' around the barn.

“He was such a huge part of our stable for almost the last two years that literally our schedule was built around his schedule,” Pletcher explained. “We're going to miss him a lot, but at the same time we're really pleased that he's able to retire to a farm like WinStar and get an opportunity to prove himself as a stallion. We look forward to seeing his babies.”

The son of Into Mischief was bred by Gary and Mary West Stable and sold for $525,000 as a yearling in 2019. His dam Beach Walk (Distorted Humor) is out of the multiple Grade I-placed Mineshaft mare Bonnie Blue Flag, whose family includes multiple Grade I winner Diamondrella (GB) (Rock of Gibraltar {Ire}), Group 3 victor Spectroscope (Medaglia d'Oro) and multiple graded stakes-placed runner Highest Honors (Tapit).

Life Is Good gets his fourth Grade I score in the Woodward S. | Sarah Andrew

“He's about 16'1, so he's a little bigger than Into Mischief,” Walden said. “He has a little bit more scope and range, but all the parts of a fast-looking horse. You can see when he moves how he just springs off with great, quick action that should translate to athletic foals. The Into Mischiefs have a real desire to run and Life Is Good showed that he wanted to compete at every level, every race and every work. Being by Into Mischief and also having Distorted Humor on the bottom, he gets a double dose of that competitiveness.”

Life Is Good's initial stud fee of $100,000 will be among the highest of this year's incoming crop, however Walden said that they have been conservative in their selection process as they begin filling the young sire's first book.

“We plan to breed him to about 160 mares,” Walden said. “We have a lot of requests each week, but we're not taking every mare. We're thinking about where each mare would fit into his whole group. We're making him worthy of a $100,000 stud fee, so we've turned down a lot of mares and are being very critical on that.”

He continued, “I think from a standpoint of what we've had here at Winstar, he would be at the very top as far as the great horses that we've had. Being by Into Mischief and with his physical presence and athleticism, we're super excited about his next career.”

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