Patiently handled by jockey Rafael Bejarano, Richard’s Kid, carrying highweight of 123 pounds as the overwhelming 2-5 favorite, loped along in fifth place during the early stages of the lengthy contest, was swung out for room turning into the stretch the final time and powered away easily to win by 1 ½ lengths.
Longshot Worth Repeating, 12-1 under Mike Smith, held on well to be second, 3 ¾ lengths ahead of Balladry, with Dynamic Host fourth in the field of six horses.
Fly Lexis Fly, a highly-regarded three-year-old sent to the gate the second choice at 5-2 under Garrett Gomez, raced prominently before faltering in the upper stretch to be fifth in his American debut.
Richard’s Kid, a son of Lemon Drop Kid conditioned by Bob Baffert, was second in the ’09 Cougar II behind Unusual Suspect and third to Temple City a year later. He came back after both defeats to win the Pacific Classic in his next start.
The brown horse had five races without success in the United Arab Emirates in 2011 and early this year before being returned to the Baffert barn. He won the Prove It at Betfair Hollywood Park June 12 and then was second to stablemate Game on Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup July 7.
Baffert said later that Richard’s Kid now will be pointed to the TVG Pacific Classic scheduled for Sunday, August 26 in an attempt to become the first horse to win the Grade I mile and one-quarter stakes three times.
Richard’s Kid rewarded his backers Friday with an across-the-board payoff of $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. There was a minus show pool of $39,169 on the winner.
Worth Repeating paid $6 and $3.80, while Balladry returned $4.40 to show.
The victory was Richard’s Kid’s eleventh in 35 starts and first money of $60,000 increased his lifetime earnings to the brink of the $2 million mark, at $1,986,385.