Richard's Kid sets a track record in the Cougar II
Bob Baffert has Richard's Kid back in top form since the 7-year-old returned to his barn earlier this year, and if his track record performance in the $100,000 Cougar II H. (G3) July 27 at Del Mar is any indication, he'll be tough to beat when he goes for a record third Pacific Classic (G1) on Aug. 29.
Richard's Kid owner Zabeel Racing moved the horse to Dubai in late 2010 and he subsequently went winless in five starts at Meydan before being sent back to the States this spring. Baffert started him twice at Hollywood Park, winning the Prove It S. and running second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup, where he lost to his stablemate Game On Dude.
This was the third time Richard's Kid had started in the 1 1/2-mile Cougar II, he finished third in 2010 and second in 2009. Things would be different this time for the 2-5 favorite, however. With Rafael Bejarano content to sit near the back for most of the marathon trip, Richard's Kid went three-wide into the stretch to go by the front-runner Worth Repeating at the furlong grounds and draw off to a 1 1/2-length margin at the wire. The final time of 2:29.22 broke the track record of 2:29.39 set by Bourbon Bay in the race last year.
Baffert said the $1 million Pacific Classic, which Richard's Kid won in 2009 and 2010, is next. After the race, he reflected on when he heard he was getting the horse back in the barn.
“It was almost like a bonus for me after I had my heart attack (days before the Dubai World Cup on March 31) when they told me I was getting Richard’s Kid back. I got saved (his own life) and I got Richard’s Kid, so something good came out of it.”
Bejarano, who has been aboard for all three starts during the comeback, was ready for the next race.
“He did this so easy. This was a (prep) for his next race – for the Pacific Classic. We didn’t want to do too much with him today. They had him just right for this; he was relaxed out there. Very impressive the way he won. He’s a good horse. And a track record, too. It’s good to ride a horse like this.”
Richard's Kid is now 11-3-7 in 35 starts, with earnings of $1,986,385. Baffert, who has a record 96 stakes wins at Del Mar, won the Cougar II for the first time.