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Life Is Good Makes Final BC Prep in Grade I Woodward at Aqueduct

Life Is Good makes his final Breeders’ Cup prep start Saturday afternoon, tangling with four overmatched foes in the half-million-dollar, Grade I Woodward Stakes Saturday at New York’s (Belmont at) Aqueduct. Life Is Good is the as-low-as-it-gets 1-9 morning-line favorite in horse racing odds to win his third straight race in what figures to amount to nothing more than a public workout. The 4-year-old son of Into Mischief has won six of his eight starts since transferring to trainer Todd Pletcher (originally trained by fellow Hall-of-Famer Bob Baffert).

The second ‘early’ choice is another Pletcher entity, Keepmeinmind (post No. 4, 6-1), ridden by Joel Rosario.

Life Is Good Makes Final BC Prep in Grade I Woodward at Aqueduct
Life Is Good Makes Final BC Prep in Grade I Woodward at Aqueduct

The undercard features three stakes that could also serve as a springboard to the Breeders’ Cup, Nov. 4th and 5th at Keeneland (Lexington, Ky). The Grade I, $500,000 Champagne Stakes (2-year-olds) is complemented by the Grade II, $200,000 Miss Grillo (2-year-old turf fillies) and the Grade III, $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint (3-year-olds and older).

All the stakes races are televised by NBC (4-6 p.m. ET), starting with the Woodward at 4:07 p.m. ET. The remnants of Hurricane Ian could render the South Ozone Park oval sloppy.

Let’s check the latest Horse Racing picks, stats, injury reports, and Horse Racing predictions. We’ve plenty of Horse Racing expert picks for you to consider.

Life Is Good’s Paid ‘Public Workout’

The Pick 5 sequence begins with the 1⅛-mile Woodward (3-year-olds and older). Life is Good, breaking inside his four rivals and ridden by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., is nothing more than a free square as he gets a tightener ahead of the Breeders’ Cup. Pletcher and the owners have yet to decide if Life is Good challenges Flightline in the Classic or a deeper field in the Dirt Mile.

We’re focused on preparing (Life Is Good) for the Woodward, and we’ll see how he does there before discussions on what’s next,” Pletcher told Horse Racing Nation. “We have a ton of respect for Flightline, but we also know how talented Life is Good is.”

It will be interesting to see if Ortiz ‘rides out’ Life is Good another furlong after the wire to simulate the distance of the Classic, perhaps to help Pletcher and Co. with their Cup decision. Life is Good has won both his starts at 1⅛ miles (both Grade I’s), that after a two-length victory in the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga this past August. The Whitney was run over a track rated ‘good,’ marking Life Is Good’s only experience on a less-than-fast surface.

The Undercard Toasts Verifying

Miss Grillo and the Belmont Turf Sprint could be moved to the main track if the grass courses were saturated. Entrants in these fields have virtually no experience with dirt. Greeley and Ben is an MTO (main track only) entrant in the Turf Sprint.

Be Your Best is the 6-5 favorite when betting online in Miss Grillo (Race 8, 4:39 p.m. ET). Be Your Best, trained by Horario De Paz and ridden by Jose Ortiz, is 2-for-2 after winning a listed stake on ‘good’ turf at Saratoga last month. She is starting outside her five foes. Jorge Abreu trains two of the entrants in Miss Grillo in Georgees Spirit (post position No. 1, 10-1) and Alluring Angel (post No. 4, 9-2). The pair is ridden by Manny Franco and Jose Lezcano, respectively. Each is a capable, off-the-pace lass, with Georgees Spirit experienced on ‘good’ turf and main track surfaces.

If the Belmont Turf Sprint (Race 9, 5:13 p.m. ET) switches surfaces, Greeley and Ben will be the odds-on favorite. If not, there are many directions to go. The Michael Trombetta-trained Arzak (post No. 2, 4-1) and Chewing Gum (post No. 11, 8-1), trained by Bill Mott, own a significant class advantage over the field. Ortiz Jr. and Lezcano have their respective assignments. Arzak will probably be closer to the pace while Chewing Gum has no choice but to chase after a poor draw. Perhaps a longshot would be Yes and Yes (post No. 5, 10-1), who has raced well on less-than-firm turf, winning twice at the distance. Dylan Davis rides for trainer David Donk.

Six speedy juveniles line up for the Champagne (Race 10, 5:45 p.m. ET). Verifying (post No. 3, 9-5) makes his second start for trainer Brad Cox. The $775,000 Justify colt, ridden by Rosario, scored a smashing maiden triumph at Saratoga this past August, earning a competitive speed figure in the process. Gulfport, trained by Steve Asmussen, comes off a second-place finish in Grade I Hopeful at Saratoga. Ortiz has the mount, breaking outside his five rivals. (Forte, who won by three lengths, is not entered). Chad Brown trains a longshot in the Flavien-Prat-ridden Blazing Sevens (post No. 5, 8-1), who was third in the Hopeful, beaten a dozen lengths. Brown has won three of the last six editions of the Champagne.

Those who are alive in the Pick 5 or Pick 4 gimmicks going to the 11th-race finale allowance event (post time 6:17 p.m. ET) probably have included Kant Hurry Love (post No. 3, 5-2) on many of those tickets. It’s the lightbulb angle-a horse winning again after taking a while to break its maiden-that is alive and well with Kant Hurry Love, who finally found first victory on her seventh try. Franco rides the early choice. The speed figure she earned that day, over a sloppy track, would beat this field. Linda Rice-trained Carbon (post No. 6, 5-1), who has improved her figures in each start, also comes off a maiden-breaking triumph… on her fifth try. Kendrick Carmouche has the assignment.

Check the racebook regarding Pick 5 and Pick 4 will pay to lead to this race.

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