Two-time TVG Pacific Classic champion Richard’s Kid
is back in the barn of Bob Baffert and back on the same race schedule that led to the Classic victories in 2009-10.
Richard’s Kid drew the rail post and will face five rivals Friday in the Grade II, $100,000 Cougar II Handicap.
Richard’s Kid finished second to Unusual Suspect in the 2009 Cougar II before posting a $50.80 upset win in the Pacific Classic under Mike Smith for owner Arnold Zetcher. In 2010, a third-place finish in the Cougar II preceded an $11.60 score in the Classic under Smith for new owner Zabeel International Racing Corp.
The 2010 Classic was the last Del Mar appearance for Richard’s Kid. The 7-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid spent all of 2011 based in the United Arab Emirates. In the most recent of two 2012 starts, both at Hollywood Park, Richard’s Kid was second to stablemate Game On Dude in the $500,000, Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup on July 7.
The Cougar II, at 1 ½ miles on the Polytrack main course, is a quarter-mile longer than the Pacific Classic. Richard’s Kid won the June 12 Prove It stakes, at 1 3/8 miles on the Hollywood Park synthetic track, after going 0-for-5 in Dubai at distances from a mile to 1 ¼ miles.
“That’s a different kind of synthetic track over there and I don’t think he likes it,” Baffert said. “He really likes this track and I think he’s better now than any time since we’ve had him.”