Life Is Good and Speaker’s Corner, two of the top-rated horses from the older male division, headline the Grade 2 $250,000 John A. Nerud Stakes, which will be run on Saturday at Belmont Park going seven furlongs.
In the most recent NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, Life Is Good is ranked third and Speaker’s Corner is tied for ninth. Both of them lost their most recent race after winning three in a row. Life Is Good was fourth in the Dubai World Cup (G1) most recently after winning the Pegasus World Cup (G1) and the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. Speaker’s Corner ran into Flightline in the Met Mile (G1) but won the Carter Handicap (G1) and the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2).
Here is a full-field analysis for the John A. Nerud, which was previously known as the Belmont Sprint Championship, with the odds from the Horse Racing Nation staff. The race is carded as the fourth of 10.
1. Life Is Good Into Mischief Todd Pletcher / Flavien Prat
The 10-furlong distance was too much for Life Is Good, and he finished fourth in field of 10 after setting the pace. Yet in two starts this year the son of Into Mischief has earned $2.3 million. Before going to Meydan, Life is Good was just a neck away from being unbeaten in his first seven starts. That loss to champion Jackie’s Warrior at Saratoga came following a five-month layoff. The seven-furlong distance of the Nerud could be ideal for Life Is Good’s return to the races. He was a heavy favorite in every race that had wagering during his career. Top choice.
2. Repo Rocks Tapiture Gregory DiPrima / Javier Castellano
3. Harvard Pioneerof the Nile Rodolphe Brisset / Kendrick Carmouche
4. War Tocsin Violence Uriah St. Lewis / Dexter Haddock
5. Speaker’s Corner Street Sense Bill Mott / Jose Ortiz
Life Is Good turns back in distance to race around one turn, where he is probably at his best even though he has those big wins in the Pegasus World Cup and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Speaker’s Corner could not compete with Flightline in the Met Mile, and maybe no horse will be able to do so. But he just might be facing a similar situation with Life Is Good, especially on the heels of a rigorous campaign that goes back to last summer.
Life Is Good has seven wins as a heavy favorite and is my top choice to do it again as a fresh horse in the John A. Nerud.