Richard's Kid, looking for an unprecedented third victory in the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I), left trainer Doug O'Neill smiling after a six-furlong jaunt in 1:13 3/5 over the Polytrack with Joe Talamo aboard Aug. 16.
"That was nice," O'Neill said following Richard's Kid's final major preparatory work for the 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic Aug. 25. "I'll be curious to see what Joe says, but after going the first eighth of a mile in 13 (seconds) to finish up the way he did just validates again his love of this racetrack and his love of Del Mar."
O'Neill said he was just looking for a maintenance work from the 8-year-old horse by Lemon Drop Kid , but got a little more than he expected. Working solo for Talamo, the big dark bay went the first eighth of a mile in 13 seconds before proceeding through splits of :25. 3/5, :38 1/5, and 1:02 1/5. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26 flat and a mile in 1:39 1/5.
Richard's Kid captured the Pacific Classic in 2009 and 2010 when trained by Bob Baffert and was third in last year's 22nd running of the event for O'Neill, who conditions him for Triple B Farms and partners. Richard's Kid won the 1 1/2-mile Cougar II Handicap July 26 at Del Mar, a race that was a steppingstone to his previous Classic starts.
In his first work since the Cougar II, Richard's Kid clocked five furlongs in :59 4/5 Aug. 7.
O'Neill said Richard's Kid would have an easy day on Saturday and then a series of gallops leading up to the race.
"He gallops strong every day, and after his win in the Cougar II, he's fit and ready," O'Neill said.
The Pacific Classic is a "Win & You're In" event guaranteeing admission into this year's $5 million Breeders' Cup Clasic (gr. I) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park.
Riachrd's Kid has recorded 12 wins from 46 lifetime starts with earnings of $2,422,259.
In other Pacific Classic news, 4-year-old filly Byrama, winner of the Vanity Handicap (gr. I) June 15 at Betfair Hollywood Park, is "more likely than not" going to run in the race, trainer Simon Callaghan said.
"We're going to breeze her on Sunday and it will depend on how she works and comes out of it," he said. "We're thinking about taking a shot. She likes the track and she's been training well."
Byrama was most recently third, two lengths behind Lady of Fifty, in Del Mar's 1 1/16-mile Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 3.
"She gets the (five pound) sex allowance in the weights and I don't think (gender) makes much difference once they get to a certain age," Callaghan said.
Byrama, under modified weight-for-age race conditions, would carry 119 pounds to 124 for older males.