It took exactly 75-½ seconds for Life Is Good to live up to his name, throw his hoof into the Kentucky Derby futures picture, and become the latest horse rocketing up William Hill Nevada’s Kentucky Derby Futures Board.
After the Into Mischief progeny destroyed an over-classed quartet of maidens by 9-½ lengths Sunday afternoon at Del Mar, he debuted at 12/1 on William Hill’s latest Derby Futures board. That makes Life Is Good the second favorite behind 8/1 unbeaten dynamo, Essential Quality.
It also gives Bob Baffert his latest Derby Flavor of the Month. As if having six-time Derby winner Baffert conditioning yet another Derby contender isn’t enough of an edge, Life Is Good brings more to the table.
There’s his super sire, Into Mischief, who became North America’s leading sire in single-season progeny earnings when Life Is Good brought home a $34,500 purse. There’s Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who basically came along for the ride Sunday, as 1/5 favorite Life Is Good clocked a blistering 21.8-second quarter-mile and a 44.84 half mile. He covered the 6-½ furlongs in 1:15.5 en route to a 107 Equibase Speed Figure.
Life Is Good Defines ‘Well-Connected’
There are also his owners, WinStar Farm and China Horse Club, who owned Triple Crown winner Justify. And, in case you need more pedigree/connection firepower, Life Is Good was bred by Gary and Mary West, the former owners of Maximum Security, Game Winner, and New Year’s Day.
Elsewhere on William Hill’s 133-horse futures list, Highly Motivated moved from 45/1 to 30/1, taking over third-favorite status. Another Baffert colt, Classier, edged up to 35/1 from 40/1. He shares that spot with last week’s featured debutante, Red Flag. Two weeks ago, you could have had Classier for 125/1 after he finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Former favorite Jackie’s Warrior and Caddo River are 40/1.
The big movers into the double-digit or better club were Olympiad, who climbed to 50/1 from 75/1, and Vittorio who sits at 60/1 after being 90/1 last week. Since Vittorio hasn’t run since late August and Olympiad since early September, this is a byproduct of money coming in on both of them.
2021 Kentucky Derby Top Contenders
|Life Is Good*||12/1|
|Classier, Red Flag||35/1|
|Caddo River, Jackie’s Warrior||40/1|
|Dr. Schivel, Hot Rod Charlie, Olympiad||50/1|
|Jaxon Traveler, Vittorio||60/1|
|Cazadero, Get Her Number, Huntsinger, Keepmeinmind, Midnight Bourbon, Mutasaabeq, Spielberg, Stayin’ Out Late||75/1|
|Santa Cruiser, Team Merchants||90/1|
* = Board Debut
Source: William Hill Nevada
William Hill added eight more horses to the board this week and now offers 23 horses at 90/1 or better. Savile Row (85/1 from 100/1) and Team Merchants (90/1 from 125/1) joined the club.
As he has all month, Valiant Thor brings up the rear at 350/1.
William Hill Nevada’s Derby Futures are available only in Nevada, but Churchill Downs opens its 2021 Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool this weekend. Churchill Downs will accept bets only from noon Thursday to 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.