Exotics plays for the Kelso Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 23rd, 2021

A compact field of five will travel one mile on the Belmont Park dirt on Saturday in the $300,000 Kelso H. (G2). Once-beaten Grade 2 winner #2 Life Is Good will face his elders for the first time in the tilt, but the standout son of Into Mischief looks like he will be up to the task in the small cast.

Life Is Good kicked off his career with a 9 1/2-length romp last November, and followed that up with easy tallies in the Sham S. (G3) and San Felipe S. (G2) for Bob Baffert. He was subsequently transferred to the barn of Todd Pletcher, and he came off a long layoff to miss by a neck to Jackie’s Warrior in the Allen Jerkens Memorial S. (G1) at Saratoga.

The $525,000 yearling purchase was headed for the initial time in his latest venture, but the way he rallied back after losing the lead spoke volumes to me about his heart. He's put up a pair of half-mile drills in the interim, and any improvement from his latest run will make him a formidable foe on Saturday. Irad Ortiz Jr. will guide the colt for the initial time in the Kelso.

#3 Chance It is no slouch in his own right and will give the favorite a lot of trouble if he runs his best for trainer Saffie Joseph. The four-year-old son of Currency Swap is a multiple stakes winner who has performed well in two graded races in succession, including a sharp third in the Forego S. (G1) at Saratoga last time out.

The Florida-bred bay has been first or second in eight of his 10 career assignments, and he seems poised for a big effort after a sizzling half-mile on the oval on Sunday. The bay colt will likely track the favorite throughout the eight-furlong contest.

I will dabble with #1 Fort Peck for a minor award at a fair price. Robertino Diodoro's charge ran a huge one off the claim when dominating claiming foes at Saratoga, and the Fort Larned gelding came back with a rapid bullet morning move on the strip since that smart tally. The six-year-old will rally from well off the pace in this major class hike beneath Ramon Vazquez.

Kelso Wagers

  • $40 trifecta 2 with 3 with 1 ($40)
  • $10 trifecta 2 with 1 with 3 ($10)
  • $10 trifecta 3 with 2 with 1 ($10)