May 18, 2022

Life Is Good runs away in Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

Life is Good with Irad Ortiz riding wins the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar Race Track (Photo by Horsephotos)

DEL MAR, Calif. — They may have well shown the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) for the 2021 edition at Del Mar.

The same scenario played out, even down to the saddle cloth.

Just like Knicks Go a year ago at Keeneland, Life Is Good shot to the lead, put up almost unbelievable fractions, and left an overmatched field in the dust.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Into Mischief colt sprinted through the first quarter in :22.88, then clicked off fractions of :44.94 and 1:08.76, with a one-length margin most of the way. It quickly became apparent no challenger would go with the 3-year-old in the stretch, as he widened is advantage to four lengths a furlong out and to 5 3/4 lengths at the wire.

“We were hoping for that — expecting that — based on the way that he’s been training, but it’s always great to see it actually happen,” Pletcher said. “He took it to them. Just too much horse.”

Ginobili was the closest the Life Is Good at the wire, in second, and 40-1 longshot Restrainedvengence completed the trifecta with a closing kick from last in the eight-horse field.

“We just ran into a better horse,” said Ginobili’s trainer, Richard Baltas. “We got a great trip, and it looked, around the turn, that we were making a move, and we’re going to win it, but Life Is Good kicked clear. I mean, I’m pretty happy. I’d be happier if we won it, but Ginobili ran a great race.”

Life Is Good finished off the mile in 1:32.12 under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

“I wasn’t worried about those other runners early in the race, because I knew he was so fast,” Ortiz said. “When we got to the quarter pole, he rebroke for me. What a nice horse to ride.”

Life Is Good is a neck away from being undefeated, after his loss to Jackie’s Warrior in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1), but the Dirt Mile was his first Grade 1 win for owners CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm, who moved the colt to Todd Pletcher, from Bob Baffert, earlier this year. He now has more than $1 million in earnings. He was bred by Gary and Mary West, in Kentucky, out of the Distorted Humor mare Beach Walk.