07/24/2013 2:53PM

Del Mar: Richard's Kid needs win in Cougar II to earn another shot at Pacific Classic

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Tom Keyser
Richard's Kid will tryto snap a 10-race winless streak in the 1 1/2-mile Cougar II Handicap.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – The durable Richard’s Kid has not won in 10 starts, the longest losing streak of his 45-race career.

An 8-year-old, Richard’s Kid will forever be known as a two-time winner of the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in 2009 and 2010. Whether he merits a fourth career appearance in that race on Aug. 25 will be better known after Friday’s $100,000 Cougar II Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on the Polytrack surface at Del Mar.

Richard’s Kid’s last win was in the 2012 Cougar II, his final start for trainer Bob Baffert before being acquired by a partnership and transferred to trainer Doug O’Neill. Richard’s Kid has yet to win for O’Neill in 10 starts, a span that includes a third in the 2012 Pacific Classic and third-place finishes in three stakes this year.

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“He needs to get back to his old Del Mar ways to win,” O’Neill said. “I hope he can.”

Ricahrd’s Kid was third, beaten 13 1/2 lengths in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special in Maryland on May 17, his most recent start. In six starts at Del Mar, he has won three stakes and never been worse than third, earning $1,425,000 of his lifetime earnings of $2,362,284.

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

“We know he loves the distance. He loves the track,” O’Neill said. “He’s doing great, but I think I’ll win with every one I run.”

Richard’s Kid is part of a field 11 in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap, although the race is not expected to have that many starters. Trainer John Sadler has three entrants – Golden Itiz, Kettle Corn, and Majestic Moment – but said Wednesday that only Majestic Moment is a definite starter. Golden Itiz is likely to run in the $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs on Aug. 18. Kettle Corn could pass the Cougar II for Saturday’s $200,000 San Diego Handicap over 1 1/16 miles.

As of Wednesday, Sadler said he was unsure which race he would chose for Kettle Corn.

“I’ll enter him in the San Diego,” he said. “I want to look at the races and the numbers. In one race we’ll be favored. The other race we’ll be the third or fourth choice.”

Kettle Corn was beaten a length by Game On Dude in the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6, a performance that left Sadler encouraged that the 6-year-old horse can handle his first attempt at 1 1/2 miles.

“The way he ran the other day he can,” Sadler said. “He didn’t look like it before.”

The field includes two runners trained by Jerry Hollendorfer – Rousing Sermon, who was eighth in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, and Blueskiesnrainbows, who won the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park in July 2012.

Baffert starts Sky Kingdom, who won the Grade 3 Tokyo City Cup over 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita in March and was third in the Hollywood Gold Cup in his first start since April.

“He got a little tired in his last race,” Baffert said. “He hadn’t run in a long time.”