07/27/2013 3:23PM

Del Mar notes: Cougar II win puts Richard's Kid back in Pacific Classic

Benoit & Associates
Richard's Kid, with Joe Talamo aboard, ends a 10-race losing streak by scoring a half-length victory in the Cougar II Handicap.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Richard’s Kid will attempt to become the first three-time winner of the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 25 after ending a year-long losing streak with a win in Friday’s $100,500 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar.

Richard’s Kid won the 2009 and 2010 runnings of the Pacific Classic, and was third in the 2012 running.

Saturday, trainer Doug O’Neill said that Richard’s Kid emerged from a thrilling win in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap in good condition.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Richard’s Kid ($10.80) closed from sixth in a field of seven to win by a half-length over even-money favorite Sky Kingdom. Richard’s Kid ran 1 1/2 miles on the Polytrack surface in 2:30.93.

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The victory ended a 10-race losing streak since the 2012 Cougar II Handicap, which was Richard’s Kid’s final start for trainer Bob Baffert. Richard’s Kid was acquired privately by his current owners and sent to O’Neill in the days before the 2012 Pacific Classic.

In his next nine starts, Richard’s Kid’s best results were third-place finishes in four stakes. He was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita last November. O’Neill said on Saturday that he was discouraged by the losing streak, considering what he had seen from Richard’s Kid during training.

“He’s such a professional every morning to see him run sub-par races was very frustrating,” O’Neill said.

Owned by Dave Kenney, Paul Boghossian, Mark Verge, Dan Kramer, and Steve Keh, Richard’s Kid has won 12 of 46 starts and $2,422,284.

Richard’s Kid is one of three two-time winners of the Pacific Classic along with Tinners Way (1994-95) and Skimming (2000-01).

[DEL MAR 2013: Complete meet coverage, schedule, race replays]

Oscar Party possible for Oaks

Oscar Party, purchased for $510,000 at paddock sale at Del Mar on July 21, is under consideration for the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 17, new trainer Jim Cassidy said on Friday.

Deron Pearson of Valencia, Calif., owns Oscar Party, who topped the paddock sale. The 3-year-old filly has won 2 of 7 starts and $103,777. Previously trained by Wayne Catalano, Oscar Party was third in the Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 15, in her most recent start.

Cassidy said he plans to give Oscar Party a few workouts in coming weeks before finalizing plans.

“We’d like to see where we are with her,” Cassidy said.

Byrama sharpens for Clement Hirsch

Byrama, the winner of the Grade  1 Vanity Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 15, worked five furlongs in 59.80 seconds on Saturday, her final major exercise before the $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes on Aug. 3.

Third in the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap over seven furlongs at Betfair Hollywood Park in her most recent start, Byrama is trained by Simon Callaghan. The Vanity over 1  1/8 miles is the longest race of Byrama’s career. The Grade 1 Clement Hirsch is run over 1 1/16 miles.

The Clement Hirsch is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering a fees-paid berth for the BC Distaff at Santa Anita in November.

“That was her first work since [the A Gleam],” Callaghan said. “She gets over the track brilliantly.”

The Hirsch is expected to have a field of at least eight, including defending champion Include Me Out. Other probable starters are Lady of Fifty, More Chocolate, Quiet Oasis, Sister Kate, Sisterhood, and Via Villaggio.

More Chocolate was second in the Vanity.

Dick More than 1 year ago
He is a different horse at DEL Mar, still time to retire him after this meet.
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
I guess you can include him. The west coast handicap division is pretty soft. But Richards Kid has the same problem as the rest of the bunch-no speed...