It is early in the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep season, but some of the big boy trainers are coming out to play Saturday, January 2 in the Sham at Santa Anita.
There are only five horses in the one-mile test over the main track at Santa Anita, but two come from the Bob Baffert barn and two are trained by John Shirreffs.
The race is the 8th on the card and is scheduled for a 4 p.m. post time.
Life is Good is the top Baffert runner and has the services of Mike Smith as the pilot.
The horse has run one race and very impressive 9-plus length win November 22 in straight maiden company, earning a 91-Beyer in the process.
Smith took the initial mount, and now is back up for his first stakes race. All signs point to a big effort.
Medina Spirit is the other Baffert runner and has Abel Cedillo along for the ride. The horse also won his debut, taking a straight maiden race, this one at Los Alamitos, earning a 76 figure for the win.
Shirreffs steps to the plate with Parnelli and Waspirant.
Parnelli has four starts, with three straight seconds, before getting thee win November 28 at Del Mar. Drayden Van Dyke, who has ridden the horse in all four starts, is back for No. 5.
The $500,000 horse lost by a neck in the second and third start, before breaking by over 5-lengths.
Waspirant is ridden by Umberto Rispoli, who has been up for the three previous starts which has produced a win and two fourth place finishes.
The fifth horse in the race is Uncle Boogie. The horse is trained by Andrew Lerner and will be ridden by Flavian Prat and might be the horse to beat.
Three career starts have produced a win followed two second place finishes. The last race was a big second in the Grade III Bob Hope. It was a seventh-length loss, but the horse had a poor start before rallying late.
The Hope was 7-furlongs and stretching out to a mile here will be interesting to see.
By Dennis Miller