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John A. Nerud Stakes: Life Is Good Will Face the Grade 1 Winner Speaker’s Corner

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated October 14, 2022
13 min read

John A. Nerud Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 John A. Nerud Stakes at Belmont Park!

PP Horse TwinSpires Odds Jockey Trainer
F Prat T Pletcher
J Castellano G DiPrima
3 HARVARD 20/1
K Carmouche R Brisset
D Haddock U St Lewis
J Ortiz W Mott

John A. Nerud Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($30 in total)

$20 Exacta – Life Is Good over Speaker’s Corner = $20

$10 Trifecta – Life Is Good over Speaker’s Corner over Harvard = $10

Top Pick: Life Is Good (3/5)

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John A Nerud Stakes Prat

A winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Pegasus World Cup in his last two American starts, Life Is Good will face the Grade 1 winner Speaker’s Corner in Saturday’s Grade 2 John A. Nerud Stakes at Belmont Park.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Life Is Good finished fourth last out in the $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 26 at Meydan. Before that, the  4-year-old son of Into Mischief won 7-of-8 starts, including five impressive graded stakes scores.

Before the trip overseas, he began the 2022 season with a big wire-to-wire win over the 2021 Horse of the Year Knicks Go in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.

His challenge on Saturday will come from Speaker’s Corner. A 4-year-old son of Street Sense colt, the Godolphin homebred has won 3-of-4 starts in 2021.

He began the year with wins at Gulfstream Park in the Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper in January and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile in March, before rolling home an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct.

Most recently, he tasted defeat for the first time this year when beaten by the #1 ranked horse in the land, Flightline, in the Grade 1 Met Mile four weeks ago at Belmont Park.

After the top two, the rest of the field, which consists of Repo Rocks, Harvard, and War Tocsin, look to be completely overmatched in the 7-furlong feature.

John A. Nerud Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Life Is Good

After a disappointing effort when fourth in the $12 million Dubai World Cup, one of America’s best horses is set to return on Saturday at Belmont. It’s not always easy to be at your best in your first start after a trip overseas, but this son of Into Mischief is a unique talent.

Working well for his return, this Todd Pletcher-trained star was born with impressive speed. The kind of speed that should do very well in his first start after more than three months away. It’s possible he could be vulnerable after the trip to Dubai, but it’s more likely this is another place to show his talent.

In Speaker’s Corner, he’s faced with a very fast horse to contend with on Saturday, but even that rival likely can not stay with him early. This should be another win on his way to bigger and better things. He is the top pick.

Speaker’s Corner

It’s no shame to lose to Flightline like he did in the Grade 1 Met Mile, but it would have been nice to see this talented son of Street Sense put up a little more fight than he did. Coming back four weeks later to face Life Is Good this time is another very difficult spot.

On Saturday, it will be up to jockey Jose Ortiz to decide whether or not he wants to run with Life Is Good right out of the starting gate. Go or stalk, he will probably have his hands full with the speed and talent of the favorite.

An impressive Grade 1 winner two starts back at this distance, he must be respected, but I think the race will likely come down to how ready Life Is Good is in his return. If he is as sharp as usual, this three-time graded stakes winner looks destined to be in second all the way around.

Repo Rocks

With an allowance win and a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Runhappy Stakes earlier in the meet at Belmont Park, this son of Tapiture comes in with the best recent results of any of the Nerud longshots. Unfortunately, that is still not saying much.

Like the two heavyweights in here, he likes to do his best running on or near the early pace. That does not set up well for his chances when the real running begins.

Unable to handle stakes competition before, I have no idea how he is going to handle Life Is Good and Speakers’ Corner on Saturday.

War Tocsin

A winner of only 1-of-18 the last two seasons, this Violence gelding often shows some speed before fading in the stretch. His best result in a long time came when he set the pace and held on for second in the grade 3 General George going 7 furlongs at Laurel Park four starts back.

Considering the class of the other speed in this race, he seems doomed to be beaten off early and completely discouraged well before the finish. Despite all his stakes experience, I find him impossible to recommend here.


This one will be making his first start since being gelded. Well-bred and still pretty lightly raced, perhaps the alteration will help him improve and live up to some of his potentials. Still, this is not the spot to expect an upset win.

As the likely trailer in the early going, the Rudolphe Brisset-trained runner might have the best chance to clunk up for third after the other longshots in the field get tired from chasing the top two early.



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How to Watch the John A. Nerud Stakes

John A. Nerud Stakes Race Information
What John A. Nerud Stakes (Grade 2)
Location Belmont Park
Time Saturday, July 2 — 2:34 pm Eastern time
How to Watch Fox Sports
Purse $250,000

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Brian Zipse

287 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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