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.
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.
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.
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."
said he will remove the blinkers from his charge for the Special after
sending his horses directly to Pimlico from Churchill Downs after the
"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."
Maryland riding star Rosie Napravnik, who rode Richard’s Kid in his
first start on November 8, 2007 at Laurel Park, has the assignment.
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.
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.”
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