Irad Ortiz on Life Is Good: 'He’s a special horse'

Irad Ortiz on Life Is Good: 'He’s a special horse'
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

Irad Ortiz Jr. will have one of the two best seats in the house at Gulfstream Park Saturday for the anxiously awaited showdown between Knicks Go and Life Is Good in the Grade 1, $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.

The defending three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey will be aboard Life Is Good, the dazzling front-running winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last time out, while Joel Rosario will be on defending champion Knicks Go, who concluded his 2021 campaign with a sizzling front-running triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

[Saturday plays: One clear single in Pegasus World Cup pick 4]

Life Is Good was in front at every call in his five career victories and led into deep stretch in his only loss in the seven-furlong H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga when grudgingly falling a neck short of holding off Jackie’s Warrior. Ortiz has been aboard the Todd Pletcher-trained son of Into Mischief in his last two starts – a 5 1/2-length victory in the mile Kelso (G2) around one turn at Belmont Park and a 5 3/4-length romp in the Dirt Mile around two turns at Del Mar.

“He feels different than most other horses. He’s just one of those kinds you don’t see every day,” Ortiz said. “He’s a special horse.”

While the pressure will be on Ortiz in the clash of speed in Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile headliner, Life Is Good is expected to make his assignment a bit easier.

“He’s easy to ride. You don’t have to do much. He’s fast and he just keeps going. You don’t have to do much with him,” Ortiz said. “That’s the good thing about good horses.”

Ortiz will be seeking his second win in the Pegasus World Cup, which he won aboard Mucho Gusto in 2020.

2022 Pegasus World Cup (G1)

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