After winning his first two races by a combined margin of more than 23 lengths, Lifestyle has lost five in a row. It's not exactly a scenario one might expect from an experienced trainer but that's what Wesley Ward mapped out for Lifestyle, who will take on unbeaten Lost In The Fog in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
"With the exception of Lost In The Fog, I don't think I am," Ward said when asked if he was asking too much of the 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie. "My horse could be any kind. He had an extremely bad displacement problem (epiglottis) after his first two starts. He came back to the test barn after his third start on Belmont day when he was 2-5 and was almost dying. He couldn't catch his breath."
Ward is part-owner in Lifestyle with R&R King Stables.
"I tried one thing after another to find out what was best for him, from spacing his races out to changing equipment. As opposed to his first two races, now he knows about running and racing, but since he had the surgery, you can't believe the change. He used to shoot off when he galloped. Now he does it ever so easily and just cruises in his works.
"We could run him in an allowance race and he could win in 1:08, but you'd expect him to do that because he's so good. But why not take a shot in the Breeders' Cup where he might jump up and win easy? Or he might run sixth, but it's worth a shot."
Lifestyle, who worked three furlongs Friday in :38, has a 2-2-0 record from seven starts with earnings of $78,560. He has been favored in six of his races, three times at odds-on.
The bay drew post position No. 9 in a field of 11 in the Sprint and is 30-1 on the morning line..