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Richard's Kid at Home in Pimlico Special

When the field for Friday's $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) appeared to come up short, trainer Doug O'Neill considered two options: to enter both Richard's Kid and Handsome Mike or place the latter in a different spot.

Some late additions to the Special enlarged the lineup to seven and made the decision for O’Neill. Only Richard's Kid will vie for the $180,000 top share in the Special. It is an appropriate homecoming spot for Richard's Kid, a Maryland-bred by Lemon Drop Kid out of Tough Broad originally under the tutelage of trainer Dickie Small.
 
After a victory in the John B. Campbell Handicap at Laurel in 2009 and two more races, the grandson of Broad Brush moved on to the barn of Bob Baffert and became a three-time winner of Grade 1 stakes in California.
 
Another ownership change brought the horse, now 8 years old, to O'Neill, who burst into national prominence last year as the trainer of Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champion I'll Have Another.
 
After eight starts under O'Neill, Richard's Kid, who has lifetime earnings of $2,332, 259, has yet to reach the winner's circle.
 
"I really think he's been a lucky trip or two away," said O'Neill, " He could have had a big Breeders' Cup Classic (finished fifth) and it's been a little bit challenging to find good spots for him."
 
O'Neill said he will remove the blinkers from his charge for the Special after sending his horses directly to Pimlico from Churchill Downs after the Derby.
 
"All of them have settled in well," he said. "Richard's Kid is quite a professional. It would be quite an honor if he goes off as the favorite."

 

Former Maryland riding star Rosie Napravnik, who rode Richard’s Kid in his first start on November 8, 2007 at Laurel Park, has the assignment.

The morning line odds list him as the third choice at 7-to-2 behind Last Gunfighter (7-5) and local favorite Eighttofasttocatch (9-5), who is coming into the race off an impressive gate-to-wire score in the Henry Clark Stakes here last month where the Tim Keefe trainee earned a career-best 105 Beyer Speed figure.

 

“He came out of the race in fantastic order and is training phenomenally,” said Keefe. “He has put two of his best races together back-to-back. Coley (Pimlico stakes coordinator Coley Blind) told me the race was coming up lighter than they would have liked so I went to Arnold (Heft, husband of owner Sylvia Heft) and he encouraged me to do the best for the horse so I told him I would enter and take a look at it. I see no reason not to give it another shot.”


As for Handsome Mike, he will go instead in the Grade 3, $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) on Preakness Day, almost a half-mile shorter than the 1 3/16 mile Special.
 
"He's a horse who can run just about any distance," said O'Neill.
 
PIMLICO SPECIAL LINEUP
 
  Horse                        Trainer            Jockey                        Odds
 Avenida Paseo             J. Corrales        K. McManigell   30-1
 Indian Dance               L. Murray          L. Garcia           15-1
 Brimstone Island          W. Campbell     X. Perez            12-1
 Eighttofasttocatch       T. Keefe            F. Boyce           9-5
 Richard's Kid                D. O'Neill          R. Napravnik     7-2
 Concealed Identity       L. Gaudet          A. Serpa           15-1
 Last Gunfighter            C. Brown          J. Castellano     7-5

 

 

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