11/28/2012 5:52PM

Hollywood Park: Richard's Kid has Dubai World Cup as his goal

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Benoit & Associates
Richard's Kid will try to snap a three-race losing streak that began after this victory in the Cougar II at Del Mar.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The short-term goal for Richard’s Kid is a win in Saturday’s $250,000 Native Diver Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The long-term hope is that the 7-year-old can have enough success Saturday and early in the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting to justify a trip to the Middle East for the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March.

“I think Dubai is the main goal in front of us,” trainer Doug O’Neill said Wednesday.

The Grade 3 Native Diver will be enough of a test. Richard’s Kid, fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, faces Nonios and Game On Dude, who were sixth and seventh in that race, as well as defending Native Diver champion Kettle Corn and the longshot Make Music for Me.

Richard’s Kid, who races for a partnership led by Paul Boghossian’s Triple B Farm, can end a three-race losing streak that began after his win in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar in July. At the time, Richard’s Kid was owned by Zabeel International of Dubai and trained by Bob Baffert. Richard’s Kid was sold in mid-August, shortly before he finished third in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

In the BC Classic, Richard’s Kid closed from last in a field of 12 to finish eight lengths behind winner Fort Larned. O’Neill was encouraged by Richard’s Kid’s finish on a track that was not friendly to closers.

“I thought he ran great,” O’Neill said. “For him to make up ground was impressive.”

Garrett Gomez was aboard Richard’s Kid in the BC Classic, but will ride Kettle Corn on Saturday. Rafael Bejarano rides Richard’s Kid on Saturday for the first time since the Cougar II Handicap.

The Native Diver will be Richard’s Kid’s first start at Hollywood since a second to Game On Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup in July.

“His energy level is high,” O’Neill said. “He should be very live in there.”

In 2011, the Native Diver was worth $100,000. This year, the purse has been enhanced by the Oak Tree Racing Association, which operated autumn race meetings at Santa Anita from 1969 to 2009 and at Hollywood Park in 2010.

Oak Tree also has contributed to the purse of the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap for fillies and mares on Dec. 8, which will be worth $200,000, an increase of $50,000 from 2011.