02/02/2013 3:08PM

Santa Anita: O'Neill hoping turf start will wake up Richard's Kid

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Doug O'Neill will switch Richard's Kid to turf for Saturday's San Marcos.

ARCADIA, Calif. – To revive the career of Richard’s Kid, trainer Doug O’Neill will try something next weekend with the 8-year-old multiple stakes winner that has not been done since the summer of 2009 – a start in a turf stakes.

Richard’s Kid is being pointed for Saturday’s $150,000 San Marcos Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita in an attempt to reverse a four-race losing streak. The losses coincide with the time that Paul Boghossian, Dave Kenney, Dan Kramer, Steve Keh, and Mark Verge have owned Richard’s Kid, having purchased him privately last August.

For them, Richard’s Kid was third in the Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes last summer and fall, and was later fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and a puzzling fourth in the Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 1.

“I thought we’d see a better performance,” O’Neill said of the Native Diver. “I think we can get him back to where he was not too long ago.”

Richard’s Kid has won 11 of 39 starts and $2,301,385, racing primarily in Maryland, California, and Dubai. For trainer Bob Baffert, Richard’s Kid won consecutive runnings of the Pacific Classic – in 2009 for owner Arnold Zetcher, and in 2010 for Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al-Maktoum of Dubai.

Sheikh Rashid raced Richard’s Kid without success in Dubai in 2011 and early in 2012 before sending the horse back to Baffert last spring. Richard’s Kid won 2 of 3 starts for Baffert last summer before the private sale was finalized.

The San Marcos Stakes will be Richard’s Kid’s first start on turf since a seventh in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar in 2009.

Richard’s Kid is a closer who could be suited to the longer distance of the San Marcos, O’Neill said.

“It just seems like the farther, the better,” O’Neill said. “With the turf, we have a better chance with his style. He ran well on synthetics at Del Mar which is turf-like. There are not a lot of options.”

Saturday, Richard’s Kid worked six furlongs in 1:12.40. O’Neill said a jockey assignment has not been finalized for the San Marcos, although Kevin Krigger was aboard for the workout.

Tiz a Minister to San Felipe

An upset win by Tiz a Minister in the $300,000 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes on Jan. 26 will lead to a start in the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes against open company on March 9, owner Stephen Young said last week.

Tiz a Minister won the one-mile California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for statebreds by 1 1/4 lengths, closing from last in a field of 10. The win has given Young and trainer Paul Aguirre an excuse to try a tougher group of 3-year-olds.

“I don’t know if he fits outside of Cal-breds,” Young said. “If he runs well, we can think of something else.

“In the San Felipe, we’ll have to take on the Baffert army and all the others.”

The San Felipe Stakes is run over 1 1/16 miles and is a key prep for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6. If Tiz a Minister runs a disappointing race in the San Felipe, a back-up plan is the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-old California-breds over 1 1/8 miles at Betfair Hollywood Park on April 27.

“We could be real tough in the Snow Chief,” Young said.

By Ministers Wild Cat, Tiz a Minister has won 2 of 9 starts and $246,780. He was claimed for $40,000 from a maiden race at Del Mar last summer.

“We just got lucky,” Young said.