11/07/2009 12:00AM

Life Is Sweet proved as fine as Shirreffs thought

Barbara D. Livingston
Life Is Sweet wraps up a last-to-first Ladies' Classic victory as her jockey, Garrett Gomez, exults.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The blankets presented to the winning horses of the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic of both 2008 and 2009 hung over the outer railing at the Santa Anita barn being occupied by trainer John Shirreffs on Saturday morning, testament to the victories last year by Zenyatta and Friday by Life Is Sweet in the feature race of Day 1 of the two-day Breeders' Cup.

The victory by Life Is Sweet, Shirreffs said, was satisfying, because it gave notice to a filly who has raced in Zenyatta's shadow all year, but who Shirreffs believes is top-class in her own right.

"It's a great achievement for Life Is Sweet, because she's a really nice filly," Shirreffs said Saturday morning. "Winning a Breeders' Cup race is such a thrill."

Life Is Sweet rallied from last in the field of eight to win the Ladies' Classic going away. Life Is Sweet ($18.20) was given a patient ride by jockey Garrett Gomez, who refused to get caught up in the wicked fractions set by front-runner Careless Jewel, the 9-5 favorite. Life Is Sweet swooped past the field while widest coming off the turn, and drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Mushka finished second, one length in front of third-place Music Note.

"Everybody got caught up chasing the gray filly," said Rainbow View's trainer John Gosden, referring to Careless Jewel. "One guy didn't."

Careless Jewel faded to last - beaten by 18 1/2 lengths - after setting fractions of 23.50 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 45.78 for a half-mile, and 1:09.74 for six furlongs.

"She locked on to the bridle and went as far as she could as fast as she could," said her jockey, Robert Landry.

Life Is Sweet completed 1 1/8 miles on Pro-Ride in 1:48.58.

"She's a very good filly, and I'm glad everybody got to see that," Shirreffs said. Life Is Sweet, 4, was bred and is owned by Marty and Pam Wygod. The Wygods also bred and owned Life Is Sweet's full sister Sweet Catomine, who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2004 at Lone Star Park. Both are by Storm Cat and are out of the Kris S. mare Sweet Life.

Life Is Sweet was winning for the sixth time in 15 starts. She has been particularly effective at Santa Anita. She is 4 for 5 here, her only loss coming when she ran fourth to Zenyatta in last month's Lady's Secret Stakes.

Shirreffs said no decision had been made on whether Life Is Sweet would race next year, but he thought it was a strong possibility. He said she would not race again this year. Shirreffs said Life Is Sweet's future was discussed at dinner on Friday night with the Wygods, "but we had sake, so anything that was said would make no sense this morning."

At a postrace press conference Friday, Marty Wygod said, "If she's totally sound, we would seriously think about racing her another year."