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Richard's Kid Runs for New Connections

Richard’s Kid, two-time winner of the TVG Pacific Classic, was sold privately Saturday to a five-party group and shifted from the barn of trainer Bob Baffert to that of Doug O’Neill. The selling price was undisclosed for the 7-year-old horse by Lemon Drop Kid, a winner of 11 races and more than $1.9-million.

The new ownership group is led by Paul Sr., Paul Jr., and Christopher Boghossian’s Triple B Farms and also consists of Mark Verge of Westside Rentals, Dave Kenny, Steve Keh and Danny Kramer.

The owners have indicated that the horse will run in this year’s Pacific Classic next Sunday as planned.

Richard’s Kid had made his last 13 starts in the silks of Zabeel Racing International Corp, the nom de course of Sheikh Rashid al Maktoum, the eldest son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the owner and founder of racing giants Darley and Godolphin and the ruler of Dubai.

O’Neill began a 40-day suspension Sunday under a trainer responsibility regulation concerning a horse he ran at Del Mar in 2010. Thus, his 10-year assistant, Leandro Mora, will take charge of Richard’s Kid and the entire O’Neill stable until his return during the Santa Anita fall meeting.

Mora directed the arrival of the horse to the O’Neill barn at 7 p.m. Saturday evening.

“The plan,” said the 53-year-old Mora, “is to run him in the Pacific Classic, then look at our options concerning the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll have to see what happens with possibilities and there could be several ways to go with this horse. Then, if we can keep him sound and happy, we’d look at running in the Dubai World Cup.”

Richard’s Kid, a Maryland-bred, made five starts in Dubai in 2011 and 2012, including an 11th-place finish in the 2011 World Cup, a race that – with its $10-million purse – is the richest in the world. The stretchrunner did not distinguish himself in any of his Dubai outings, including a seventh-place finish in the 2010 Dubai World Cup.

“He was in different hands over there,” noted Mora Saturday evening. “We think he’ll respond well to the O’Neill program. He’s going to start on it tomorrow.”

Richard’s Kid won the 2009 Pacific Classic racing in the colors of Arnold Zetcher. His repeat in the mile and a quarter headliner in 2010 came for Zabeel Racing. Baffert was his trainer on both occasions and he was ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith each time. Rafael Bejarano, currently the leading rider at Del Mar, has ridden the horse in his three most recent starts since he returned from Dubai this spring, registering two stakes wins and a second in the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup.

Richard’s Kid was placed in Stall 1 at the O’Neill barn, the same stall that held the stable’s $5.2-million stakes star and 2006 Pacific Classic winner Lava Man.

One of his new owners, Dave Kenny, was on hand to greet the dark-coated horse on arrival.

“We’re really excited,” Kenny noted. “You don’t get many chances like this in this game. We think he’s got a lot of upside and we’re glad we were able to pull this off. We think he has several major stakes opportunities in front of him, then some real potential as a stud. There already have been some offers in that regard, so we’re feeling pretty good about this whole move.”

A source close to the arrangements behind the private deal indicated that the Boghossian group had outbid Australian interests in the purchase of the horse. The final price, the source indicated, was most likely a low seven-figure number.

Mora, who will be down as trainer of record when Richard’s Kid runs in next Sunday’s TVG Pacific Classic, indicated that the horse will be galloped up to the race with “perhaps a blow-out down the lane the day before he runs. We do that with some horses.”

Richard’s Kid was to be one of three likely starters for trainer Baffert in the 22nd TVG Pacific Classic. The conditioner now is likely to saddle two in Game On Dude and Jaycito. Game On Dude, who appears to be the likely favorite for the Classic, beat Richard’s Kid by a length and a half in the Hollywood Gold Cup July 7.

 

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