|Edited Santa Anita Release — A dazzling 9 ½ length maiden winner in his first start, Bob Baffert’s Life Is Good will no doubt be a short priced favorite as he stretches out to a flat mile and heads a field of five sophomores in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. |
Named in honor of the winner of the 1973 Santa Anita Derby, the Sham winner will receive 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with four to second, two to third and one Derby qualifying point to the fourth place finisher.
Off at 1-5 with Mike Smith up in a field of five going 6 ½ furlongs on Nov. 22 at Del Mar, Life Is Good earned a lofty 91 Beyer Speed figure in his maiden win, easily best of those competing in the Sham.
Purchased as a Keeneland September Yearling for $525,000, he made the lead easily through splits of 21.80, 44.80 and 1:09 flat en route to a smashing 9 ½ length score while getting the distance in 1:15.40.
Bred in Kentucky by Gary and Mary West, Life Is Good is by top stallion Into Mischief and is out of the Distorted Humor mare Beach Walk, who was winless in five starts. Owned by China Horse Club, Inc. and WinStar Farm, Life Is Good will be making his second start as he tries to provide Baffert, who won the 2020 Sham with eventual Kentucky Derby winner Authentic, with his record seventh Sham Stakes winner.
Baffert will also be represented by first-out maiden winner Medina Spirit, who sped to a three length score going 5 ½ furlongs at Los Alamitos on Dec. 11 while earning a 76 Beyer.
The John Shirreffs-conditioned Parnelli, a $500,000 Keeneland September Yearling, was attentive to the early pace en route to a huge 5 ¾ length maiden win as the 1-5 favorite going a flat mile at Del Mar on Nov. 28.
Owned by Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable, Parnelli, who is by Quality Road, out of the unraced Bernardini mare Sip Sip, will likely set a close second to Life Is Good in what will be his fifth start. Second in his first three assignments, the last two at one mile, Parnelli earned a 79 Beyer in breaking his maiden and will be ridden back by Drayden Van Dyke.
Shirreffs will also saddle Waspirant, who also broke his maiden at one mile, winning by three quarters of a lengths after stalking the pace on Aug. 29 at Del Mar with regular rider Umberto Rispoli. Subsequently a well beaten fourth in the Grade I American Pharoah going a mile and one sixteenth here Sept. 26, he’ll be making his fourth start and third consecutive try at two turns in the Sham.
Owned and bred by Pam and Martin Wygod, Waspirant is by Union Rags out of the Storm Cat mare Life is Sweet, who was a multiple Grade I stakes winning earner of more than $1.8 million.
A first-out maiden $32,000 claiming winner going 5 ½ furlongs here on Oct. 12, trainer Andrew Lerner’s Uncle Boogie came back to be a solid second in a first condition allowance going 5 ½ furlongs as the even money favorite at Del Mar Oct. 31.
Most recently second to runaway winner Red Flag in the Grade III Bob Hope Stakes at seven furlongs Nov. 15, Uncle Boogie, a Florida-bred colt by Ride On Curlin who was purchased for $38,000 at an Ocala Sales 2-year-old in training sale in July, retains the services of Flavien Prat will likely seek a stalking trip in his first try around two turns. Owned by Eric Homme, he’ll be making his fourth overall start.
THE GRADE III SHAM STAKES Race 8 of 9 Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT
Medina Spirit—Abel Cedillo—120
Parnelli—Drayden Van Dyke—120
Life Is Good—Mike Smith—120
First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. All of Santa Anita’s races are offered free of charge at santaanita.com/live and fans can watch and wager at 1st.com/Bet..