07/27/2012 9:37PM

Del Mar: Richard’s Kid closes strong to win Cougar II Handicap

Benoit & Associates
Richard's Kid, with Rafael Bejarano up, scores an easy victory in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap on Friday at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Richard’s Kid had an ideal trial race for the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 26 in Friday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar, winning his second stakes of the year with minimal effort.

Richard’s Kid won the Pacific Classic in 2009 and 2010 and will be a leading contender in this year’s running.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano on Friday, Richard’s Kid ($2.80) closed from last in a field of six in the final three furlongs to win the race over 1 1/2 miles on the Polytrack main surface in track-record time of 2:29.22.

The previous record of 2:29.32 was set by Bourbon Bay in the 2011 Cougar II Handicap.

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Bejarano rode Richard’s Kid with confidence. He rated Richard’s Kid in fifth or sixth for the first mile, rallied wide on the final turn, and got an immediate response in early stretch.

“This race was to prepare him for the big race,” Bejarano said. “He looked so good today, and I had a lot of confidence.”

Worth Repeating, who was claimed for $62,500 in consecutive starts at Betfair Hollywood Park in May and June, finished second, followed by Balladry, Dynamic Host, Fly Lexis Fly, and Romp.

Richard’s Kid, 7, races for Zabeel Racing International and trainer Bob Baffert. A horse by Lemon Drop Kid, Richard’s Kid has won 11 of 35 starts and $1,986,385.

Jordan More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, Richard's Kid is the horse to beat in the Pacific Classic. Overall, he's not as good of a horse as Acclamation or Game on Dude, but Del Mar is his track and those other two could compromise each other on the front end. It's a pleasnt surprise for racing fans that Richard has returned this good from his time in the wildnerness in Dubai. It sucks Richard lost a year and half of productive racing over there, but at least they kept him healthy and fit. Baffert said that when he returned he was race ready, and thus was able to hit the ground running. As a fan living in California, it has been good to see a 7 year old Richard's Kid, 6 year old Acclamation, 6 year old Jeranimo, and 5 year old Game on Dude on top of the racing world out here this year. And the former 3 are horses, not geldings.