Kentucky Derby Maiden Watch: Life Is Good dazzles in Del Mar debut

November 24th, 2020

A weekly series analyzing recent maiden winners poised to join the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Life Is Good:

Leading sire Into Mischief is enjoying a banner year. With progeny earnings approaching a record $20 million, and with his Kentucky Derby-winning son Authentic likely bound for Horse of the Year honors, it’s safe to say the 15-year-old stallion is hogging all the headlines.

The latest sensation sired by Into Mischief, Life Is Good, is a $525,000 yearling purchase conditioned by six-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert. Racing for the partnership of CHC INC. and WinStar Farm, Life Is Good was favored at 1-5 to win his debut dashing 6 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar last Sunday, and the bay colt didn’t disappoint.

With Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the saddle, Life Is Good broke like a rocket, opened up a daylight lead through fractions of :21.80 and :44.84, and then widened without urging down the lane to dominate by 9 1/2 lengths. His snappy final time of 1:15.50 translated to a sharp 100 Brisnet Speed rating, stamping Life Is Good as an exciting name to follow on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Savile Row:

Life Is Good isn’t the only eye-catching debut winner Baffert has unleashed in recent weeks. Savile Row had to work a bit harder to post a maiden victory sprinting 6 furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 8, but the speedy colt nevertheless made a promising first impression.

Guided to victory by Abel Cedillo, Saville Row engaged in a duel for early supremacy, vying for command through splits of :22.60 and :46.72. His well-regarded pace rival ultimately weakened to finish last, but Savile Row kept going, holding off a late runner to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:11.36.

Savile Row finished fast over a slow track, sprinting the final two furlongs in :12.27 and :12.37, and his final time produced a respectable 90 Brisnet Speed rating. A son of Quality Road out of a Malibu Moon mare, Savile Row has the breeding to stretch out over at least a mile, so a foray on the Road to the Kentucky Derby seems inevitable.