Richard's Kid Repeats in Pacific Classic

Richard's Kid and jockey Mike Smith made it two straight victories in Del Mar's signature race of the summer season with a narrow but authoritative triumph in the 20th running of the Grade I $1 million Pacific Classic Presented by TVG Saturday.


Outrun in the early stages of the mile and one-quarter contest, Richard's Kid circled his opposition on the stretch, drove to the lead in deep stretch and then held off 12-1 longshot Crowded House, who was piloted by Corey Nakatani.


Dakota Phone, winner of the San Diego Handicap earlier this season, closed well from last to be third, a half-length behind Crowded House and a length in front of fourth-place Battle of Hastings in the field of ten older Thoroughbreds. Fifth was the 5-2 favorite The Usual Q.T., and he was followed in order by Temple City, Isle of Giants, Hold Me Back, Unusual Suspect and Awesome Gem.


Richard's Kid, a five-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid owned by Zabeel International Racing Corp. and trained by Bob Baffert, accomplished the distance in 2:03.27 and returned $11.60, $5.60 and $3.80 while earning $600,000 to boost his bankroll past the $1.5 million mark, to $1,566,370. Additionally, since the Pacific Classic is a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In race, Richard's Kid clinched a spot in the Breedeers' Cup Classic November 6 at Churchill Downs.


Crowded House paid $10.60 and $6.40, while third-place Dakota Phone returned $4.80 to show. All starters carried 124 pounds in the weight-for-age race.


Richard's Kid is the third two-time winner of the Pacific Classic, joining Skimming and Tinners Way on that list of repeat victors. For his career, Richard's Kid has won eight of 26 starts.


In a supporting feature on the 11-race program, El Brujo and Joel Rosario led from start to finish to win the Grade I  $298, 000 Pat O'Brien Stakes by a half-length over Crown of Thorns, with 6-5 favored Smiling Tiger, hero of the Bing Crosby Stakes, third, 4 1/4 lengths farther back.


El Brujo, a son of Candy Ride, ran the seven furlongs in 1:21.70 and returned $9.60, $3.80 and $2.80 while earning $180,000 with his seventh win in 18 lifetime outings. Crown of Thorns, making his first start since being nosed out by Dancing in Silks in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last November, paid $3.40 and $2.40, while Smiling Tiger returned $2.20 to show.


El Brujo is owned by Arnold Zetcher who, a year ago, won the Pacific Classic with Richard's Kid, Subsequently, Richard's Kid was sold to the horse's present owner, Zabeel Racing International Corp. Baffert also trains El Brujo who qualified for this year's Breeders' Cup Sprint since the Pat O'Brien Stakes is a Win and You're In race.


Rosario, seeking his second straight Del Mar riding title, booted in five winners to wrest first place from archrival Rafael Bejarano who was blanked. Rosario, who also won the Del Mar Mile on Enriched, leads 42-41 with eight days remaining in the Del Mar meeting.


Saturday's attendance was 23,678.



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