Whitney Stakes (Grade 1)
THERE might be a shade of irony that, as the world appears to be headed for self-combustion and negative news comes from all front, one of the best horses in the world in called Life Is Good.
But terrifically good he is and he continued on his march when he added the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes to his haul, finding the nine furlongs well within his compass as he made it eight wins from 10 starts.
It looks like a two-horse race for end of year championship honours after Life Is Good motored to a two-length victory at Saratoga in front of a crowd of 39,478.
Life Is Good came into Saturday’s test ranked second behind the unbeaten Flightline in the latest National Thoroughbred Racing Association Top 10.
It’s difficult to assess how good the win on Saturday was as only four rivals faced him. One of them was Olympiad, a winner of four graded stakes races in a row but he bombed out, never mustering a challenge while finishing fourth. The winner’s Beyer Speed figure of 107 was not his career highest.
Life Is Good was always in control as Hot Rod Charlie and Happy Saver tried to offer challenges in the early straight. Irad Ortiz moved winner to drift across to the rail early in the straight, causing Happy Saver to be pulled back around him but it did not affect the result.
WinStar Farm’s Elliott Walden, questioned about Life Is Good as Horse of the Year for 2022 simply said: “He and Flightline have separated themselves.”
The son of Into Mischief, owned in partnership by Winstar and China Horse Club, has earned $4,086,700. “We’re very proud. He showed who he is. He’s a special horse,” Walden added.
A winner of both the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and this year’s Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes, Life Is Good’s next start is still to be decided, before a likely showdown with Flightline in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic.
It will offer Life Is Good a second crack at 10 furlongs after he finished fourth in his first try in the Dubai World Cup.
There was a little concern afterwards as the horse needed to be hosed down to prevent him suffering from the heat.
“Today we got the rain, the deep track, the heat, and humidity. All those things can be concerning, but he was able to overcome all of that and just show how brilliant he really is,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.
“To me, it is the premier older horse race in the country outside of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. So, it means a lot.”