02/08/2010 12:00AM

Richard's Kid finishes like a rocket

Benoit & Associates
Richard's Kid and Garrett Gomez (right) make a furious closing rush to win Sunday's San Antonio at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The elements that seemed to work against Richard's Kid in Sunday's $150,000 at Santa Anita - a slow pace and a position at the back of the field with three furlongs remaining - made his narrow victory after a remarkable stretch rally even more breathtaking.

Winning for the first time since the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar last September, Richard's Kid closed 8 1/2 lengths in the final three furlongs to win by a head over 34-1 Dakota Phone.

Richard's Kid ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.05.

Sent off favored under jockey Garrett Gomez, Richard's Kid ($5.20) was making his first start since a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic here in November. Trainer Bob Baffert said the Grade 2 San Antonio was Richard's Kid prep to the $10 million Dubai World Cup in the Middle East on March 27.

Richard's Kid was bought by Sheikh Rashid's Zabeel Racing of Dubai last month specifically for the Dubai World Cup.

Richard's Kid's late kick could have easily fallen short in the San Antonio. Mast Track set a slow pace of 24.26 and 48.94 seconds, with Richard's Kid last of 11 to the turn.

Gomez kept Richard's Kid on the inside and began urging the 5-year-old in early stretch. Even a normally confident Gomez was not sure that Richard's Kid was capable of reaching the front.

"He started to quicken at the eighth pole and I thought we'd get there," Gomez said. "He leveled off a little bit and I thought he wouldn't get there. I switched sticks and got into him a couple of times left-handed."

Gomez said that when he went past Mike Smith on Mast Track, Richard's Kid displayed "a surge and he finished it off. It wasn't his distance and the way it set up wasn't for him. The way we overcame it was to save ground."

Dakota Phone, a minor stakes winner at Golden Gate Fields in 2008, finished a head in front of Philatelist, a British import who was making his first start in a graded stakes in nearly two years.

Mast Track, the winner of the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood Park in December, faded to finish sixth in the field of 11.

Richard's Kid, by Lemon Drop Kid, has won 7 of 22 starts and $891,370.