ARCADIA, Calif. — Heavily favored Life Is Good survived a mild threat late from stablemate Medina Spirit and went on to a three-quarters of a length victory in the $100,000 Sham Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita.
The 3-year-old colt trained by Bob Baffert earned 10 qualifying points for the May 1 race at Churchill Downs. Baffert trained last year’s Sham winner Authentic, who later gave him a record-tying sixth Derby victory. Baffert now has a record seven wins in the Grade 3 Sham.
Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Life Is Good ran a mile in 1:36.63.
“It was his first time around two turns,” Smith said. “He didn’t know what he was doing going twice around, and he just got the lead and was looking out at the infield on the big screen. I was watching as well, so I saw the horse coming on the outside. I didn’t want to panic, I just showed it (the whip) to him a little bit.”
Life Is Good paid $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10 at 1-5 odds in the field of five.
Medina Spirit, also trained by Baffert, returned $3.60 and $2.20 at 9-1 odds. Parnelli, the 9-2 second choice, paid $2.10 to show.
“Mike did a great job, just sort of cruising out there and it was just the kind of race we were looking for,” Baffert said. “It is so exciting he passed the two-turn test.”
The victory, worth $60,000, increased Life Is Good’s career earnings to $94,200.