It had been months since her last win, and her odds reflected it as Life is Sweet stepped onto the track for the Ladies Classic. The two favorites for the race were the lightly raced four year old Music note and the speed ball three year old Careless Jewel, or Rachel Alexandra's deputy. Even without the champion five year old Zenyatta running this was still one of the most anticipated races on the card.
Life Is Sweet had run into a number of tough starts after her three dominating wins at the beginning of the season, including a very tough third to the boys in the Hollywood Gold Cup. Before and after that race she would face her stablemate, Zenyatta, in two starts, once in the Lady's Secret and once in the Milady. After all these tough run ins it looked like Life is Sweet would enter the Ladies Classic with an empty tank.
Breaking from the gate Life is Sweet dropped back to dead last of the field, content to give the leaders at least ten lengths. Careless Jewel as expect went right to the front, and set a first quarter in 23.5 before taking a hold of the bit and running a suicidal 45 and change half mile! After another quarter mile it didn't take long for the field to close the cavernous lead the now fading Careless Jewel had opened up. Off the turn they came with Careless Jewel plummeting to the back of the field, but nobody was paying attention to her, all eyes were on Life is Sweet as she hooked widest of all around the turn, looking like her stablemate Zenyatta. She kicked it into high gear and as track announcer said "and Life is Sweet annihilates them!"
Life was certainly a beautiful thing at this point for trainer John Shirreffs, now our only question was would Zenyatta, who was racing in the 5 million dollar classic against the boys make it any sweeter?
The answer to that answer was an epithetic YES. Zenyatta had dropped dead last early on after a delayed start, due to the now scratched Quality Road. She would improve her position to second to last after a few hundred yards, but still was content to let the rest of the field run up to 11 lengths in front. As they entered the stretch Zenyatta had begun to pick off horse, coming up the inside before Mike Smith swung her wide. From there it was all over as all the big mare had to do was lengthen her stride and easily overtook leader Gio Ponti, becoming the first filly to ever win the Classic.
I refuse to make this into a debate yet, because even though this mare is not my favorite filly she is great and it is her turn to soak up some of the spotlight. She proved how great she was yesterday, and though it was not the best field that ever lined up in the Classic, and though some east coasters and the Euro may not have taken to the surface, the fact is she won, and she is the first to do so. I still stand firm in my belief that up till now that she has been facing a weaker Distaff division in California. I knew she was great and only waited for the connections to get up the guts and listen to the fans to put her against the males. When they did she proved what many already knew, she was great and now will go down as one of the best of all time.