The fallout from Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s suspension from New York Racing Association tracks manifested itself again Thursday when WinStar Farm president and CEO Elliott Walden said he will send star 3-year-old Life is Good to Todd Pletcher once the horse is ready to return.
That return may come sooner than first anticipated. Horse Racing Nation reported that Life is Good worked out for the first time since injuring his ankle during a late March, six-furlong workout at Santa Anita Park. He covered three furlongs in 37 seconds at Keeneland for WinStar Farm trainer Destin Heath.
Walden told Horse Racing Nation via text that once Life is Good is sound, he’ll go to Pletcher’s New York barn. That allows the son of Into Mischief the run of NYRA tracks. Walden told Horse Racing Nation there is a possibility of Life is Good running in New York later this year.
Life is Good follows Country Grammer east
This is the second WinStar horse moving from Baffert to Pletcher this week, following Country Grammer’s cross-country move. That 4-year-old made that move after winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup for Baffert last month. With that move, Country Grammer will run for his third trainer. He started in Chad Brown’s barn before moving to Baffert in April.
That move came after WinStar bought Country Grammer for $110,000 at the 2021 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale. And this latest move came after Baffert was banned from racing in New York and Kentucky in the wake of Medina Spirit’s positive test for the anti-inflammatory betamethasone after his Kentucky Derby victory.
“With the ban on Bob in Kentucky and New York right now, our opportunities are limited,” Walden told Horse Racing Nation. “We will continue to evaluate the situation with Bob and appreciate everything he has done with Life is Good.”
Baffert put Life is Good atop the 3-year-old ladder
Baffert’s work with Life is Good was typical Baffert. The colt rolled to three wins in three starts, including wins in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes and the Grade 2 San Felipe. Life is Good was the Kentucky Derby futures favorite when he suffered an ankle chip during that late March workout.
He was 3/1 at MyBookie and Circa Sports, 7/2 at William Hill Nevada. He closed at 2/1 in the most recent Kentucky Derby Futures Wager pool, where he was the favorite on four KDFW pools.
WinStar co-owns Life is Good with China Horse Club. These are the same connections that owned 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify.