05/15/2013 3:01PM

Pimlico: Last Gunfighter meets Richard's Kid in Pimlico Special


BALTIMORE – The Grade 3, $300,000 Pimlico Special on Friday appears to be a tale of two horses. Last Gunfighter has been in the zone since last fall and seeks his sixth straight win. Richard’s Kid, meanwhile, is attempting to recapture some of his former glory as a multiple Grade 1 winner and a $2.3 million earner.

The Pimlico Special is part of a Black-Eyed Susan Day card that features seven stakes, the Jockey Challenge, and the Lady Legends, an allowance race showcasing such riding stalwarts as Patricia Cooksey and Barbara Jo Rubin. There is a special first post of noon Eastern.

The Pimilco Special, run over the same 1 3/16-mile distance as the Grade 1, $1 million Preakness here Saturday, also forms a new double with the second leg of the Triple Crown. The bet has a $1 minimum and must be placed prior to the Pimlico Special, which will go as the 12th of 13th races, with a post of 5:52 p.m. The Pimlico Special also is the final leg of a $250,000-guaranteed pick four.

Last Gunfighter has been unbeatable since moving to the New York circuit. He won his maiden at Belmont Park in October, then took a first-level allowance at Aqueduct in November. Last Gunfighter proceeded to knock out three straight stakes wins at Aqueduct, including the Grade 3 Excelsior in his last start March 23, a race for which he earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 100.

“He overcame a lot of traffic to win,” said Chad Brown, who trains Last Gunfighter for his breeder, John G. Gunther.

Last Gunfighter’s rise has much to do with his development, Brown said. The 4-year-old son of First Samurai was a late foal, born in May. Last Gunfighter started his career at Fair Grounds and, after four starts, made his way to New York, where he has been perfect for Brown while racing at distances of a mile up to 1 1/8 miles in the Excelsior.

“I think [his form] is just due to the horse maturing at the right time,” Brown said. “He’s a happy, healthy horse that seems to be maturing mentally and physically at the right time. He also seems to be progressing in distance very well. Every time we stretch him out, he’s responded. It’s been a slow process, gradually stretching him out, and he’s handled it well.”

Last Gunfighter drew the outside post in a field of seven under Javier Castellano.

“He seems like he’s happiest stalking and following horses for most of the race,” Brown said. “He’s a big horse, and when he finds his stride, he really levels off and finishes his races well.”

Richard’s Kid is a seasoned pro, with 11 wins from 44 starts, including Grade 1 scores in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in 2009 and 2010. He will be racing with blinkers off Friday following an eighth-place finish in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs on May 3.

“We’ll see if it helps him out a little bit,” trainer Doug O’Neill said of the equipment change.

Rosie Napravnik has the mount on Richard’s Kid, whom she last rode in April, when they finished third in the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland. O’Neill also noted that Napravnik, who earlier in her career was based at Pimlico, has even more history with Richard’s Kid.

“He’s a Maryland-bred, and ironically enough, in his debut, which I believe came at Laurel, he was ridden by Rosie Napravnik,” O’Neill said. “We’re going back to the Rosie card.”

The field also includes Eighttofasttocatch, winner of the $91,000 Henry Clark at Pimlico last month with a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 105. Forest Boyce has the mount for trainer Timothy Keefe.

Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Congrats to LG and all the connections. Richard's Kid 3rd place will probably keep him in upcoming races. As long as RK is healthy, let him play.
Jack Twee More than 1 year ago
number of horses in the last 5 races...7/7/14/6/7. terrible.
Mario Vargas More than 1 year ago
Retire "The Kid" now! Once he left the Baffert shedrow he's never been the same. The trip to Meydan last year added more insult to injury.
Jewel Green More than 1 year ago
B how right what a great classic race this used to be I don't know what its become?
Jewel Green More than 1 year ago
Richards Kid has shown nothing to indicate a big effort or any resemblance of form. As we can all see this isn't your Daddy's Special its the weakest field ever to assemble for this race.
Jewel Green More than 1 year ago
Bob, Seems from the heart this game/gambling will and has destroyed families and lives but only if you let it. It can also bring a lifetime of passion and joy.
KeithT More than 1 year ago
Compulsive gambling is a disease and those who suffer cannot "Just not let it." They need help, lotsa help. I know from personal experience. Yes, the horses are beautiful and I learned that when I stopped betting on them. However, my disease is mine, and those who don't suffer should certainly enjoy gambling if they have a little extra for entertainment. I envy those who can. But for now, I enjoy the glory of watching the ponies throw it down.
Steve More than 1 year ago
Baffert is the one that had the key to this horse
Robert More than 1 year ago
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!!! Please find Richard's Kid a nice home, he has earned that!!!
Bob More than 1 year ago
TVG & HRTV has introduced and also destroyed families, households and relationships. This game can make you penniless and on the road to losing your house. You can literally now sit in your living room and destroy yourself. Have fun , be the Triple crown and breeders cup but don't let it win you over
MT_Black More than 1 year ago
Wish Pimlico racing was better seems like people disregard Maryland racing before and after this weekend, which is no surprise b/c racing there takes a back seat to the better racing across the east coast. East coast racing cities are the best for summer racing, but the competition seems so watered down. Industry needs a star and better marketing to masses. People love human interest stories or in this case animal interest. Racing has to be better job revealing why non wagering public should be interested in this industry. Its tough, but its not dead, people have a very short attention span for Horse Racing, about a month and a half if a horse wins 2nd leg of TC. I will always be a fan, but i struggle to explain to people why it is worth while entertainment. I really feel that w/o TVG HRTV racing would be all but dead. As it is H.R. is a ghost town until may-beginning of june