10/25/2012 3:15PM

Breeders' Cup Classic: Richard's Kid stays on course


ARCADIA, Calif. – Doug O’Neill had his priorities Thursday. First up was to work a number of his horses at Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup, including Richard’s Kid and Handsome Mike, both of whom will run in the $5 million Classic on Nov. 3.

Next was to get out of here and head up to San Francisco to watch his beloved Tigers in Game 2 of the World Series against the Giants.

It was to be a boys’ day out, with O’Neill; his brother, Dennis; their sons; a family friend; and the man who put the trip together, owner Paul Reddam, who grew up just across the border from Detroit in Ontario, Canada. That makes Reddam and O’Neill, a native of Michigan, kindred spirits.

“I’ve never been to a World Series game,” O’Neill said. “Typical Reddam. He arranged for a plane to take us up there this afternoon and to come back right after the game. I can’t wait. What a year. Between the Triple Crown, seeing the Stanley Cup finals, throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game, and now this.”

Add, to that, he hopes, the Breeders’ Cup. Richard’s Kid stayed on course for the 1 1/4-mile Classic with a six-furlong drill on a gorgeous morning Thursday. With exercise rider Jonny Garcia aboard, he worked inside of barnmate Cinco de Mario and was always going the easier of the two. Daily Racing Form timed him in 1:15.76.

“I loved the way he went,” O’Neill said. “He went really, really well.”

O’Neill said this will be the final timed workout for Richard’s Kid, but, like most of O’Neill’s horses, he is asked to do a lot between works. Mornings at Santa Anita are punctuated by O’Neill runners breezing through the stretch at the end of their gallops.

“He puts in good exercise every day,” O’Neill said. “It’s not a matter of needing any more timed workouts. He laces up his sneakers, goes to the gym, and gets in a good workout every day.”

Garrett Gomez has the mount in the Classic.

Richard’s Kid was third behind Game On Dude in the Awesome Again here Sept. 29. That was his second start since a private sale that moved him to O’Neill’s barn. O’Neill was on suspension when Richard’s Kid ran the first time after the sale, and assistant Leandro Mora saddled him for a third-place finish behind Dullahan in Del Mar’s Pacific Classic.

Earlier Thursday morning, Handsome Mike worked in a team drill with the 2-year-old Know More and seemed to have trouble keeping up with the younger runner. Daily Racing Form clocked him going five furlongs in 1:02.52, with Garcia aboard.

Handsome Mike, winner of the Pennsylvania Derby in his last start, also was pre-entered earlier this week in the Dirt Mile, but O’Neill said, without hesitation, “he’s going to run in the Classic.”

“The longer the better for him,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill said Mario Gutierrez would have the mount on Handsome Mike. That reunites O’Neill, Gutierrez, and Reddam, who teamed to win the Derby and Preakness earlier this year with I’ll Have Another.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch