06/06/2012 1:34PM

Hollywood Park: Richard's Kid uses Prove It as stepping-stone to Hollywood Gold Cup

Benoit & Associates
Richard's Kid, who won the 2010 Pacific Classic at Del Mar, will begin his United States comeback in Friday's Prove It Stakes.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Richard’s Kid was at the top of the California older male division when he was sent to Dubai in the fall of 2010.

Getting back to that level of racing is the goal for the second half of 2012, a campaign that begins in the $70,000 Prove It Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Friday evening.

Owned by Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Maktoum’s Zabeel Racing International, Richard’s Kid rejoins trainer Bob Baffert’s stable for his latest American campaign. Richard’s Kid was trained in Dubai by Satish Seemar.

Baffert, who trained Richard’s Kid in 2009 and 2010, envisions the Prove It Stakes as a prep for the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 7, a race that is also a goal for the Baffert-trained Game On Dude, the winner of the Grade 2 Californian Stakes last weekend.

The Prove It Stakes drew a field of five, including Dynamic Host, the winner of the Grade 3 Tokyo City Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on the main track at Santa Anita in March. Balladry, an allowance race winner on April 29, drew the rail. Northern Indy won the Hasta La Vista Handicap over 1 7/8 miles on turf at Turf Paradise on May 6. Honour the Deputy will be a longshot.

The Prove It Stakes, run over 1 3/8 miles on the synthetic main track, will be Richard’s Kid’s first start since a fourth in the Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup undercard on March 31. That was the final race of an 0-for-5 Dubai campaign for Richard’s Kid, which included a 12th in last year’s Dubai World Cup and fifth- and sixth-place finishes in rounds of the Maktoum Challenge this year.

Friday’s race is his first in California since a win in the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes at Hollywood Park in the fall of 2010. Before that race he won the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Richard’s Kid arrived at Baffert’s stable in April. The trainer said it is time for Richard’s Kid to have a race and be ready for the Hollywood Gold Cup.

“I want to give him an out,” he said. “I want to get him caught up and this could get set him up for the Gold Cup.”

Baffert is not concerned about the distance of the Prove It Stakes. In 2010, Richard’s Kid was third in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap over 1 1/2 miles at Del Mar

“He looks like he’s doing well,” he said. “He’s a distance horse, not a speed horse anyway. I’d rather give him a race. He just runs the last three-eighths of a mile anyway.

“I gave Game on Dude a race and it worked out.”