Leading TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I) contender Richard's Kid was sold privately Aug. 18 and has been transferred from the barn of Bob Baffert to Leandro Mora and Doug O'Neill a week before the renewal of the $1 million race.
Paul Boghossian of Triple B Farms headed the purchase of the 7-year-old Richard's Kid, who won the Pacific Classic in 2009 and 2010, from Sheikh Rashid al Maktoum's Zabeel Racing International. The new owner's partners are Mark Verge's Westside Rentals, Dave Kenny, Danny Kramer, and Steve Keh. Terms were confidential.
The purchase, first reported by TVG, was confirmed by Verge, the CEO at Santa Anita Park.
"We're hoping to bring Mario (Gutierrez) out here to ride him," Verge said. Gutierrez, of course, achieved stardom riding I'll Have Another to two victories in this year's Triple Crown series for the O'Neill barn.
Leandro Mora takes over conditioning duties with Richard's Kid as O'Neill begins a 40-day suspension Aug. 19 for a violation of the total carbon dioxide threshold with a horse in his care that ran at Del Mar in 2010.
"Basically it's a bunch of buddies going in on this, but it was Paul that put up the money," Verge said in reference to Boghossian. "They never would have called me. It's way out of my league."
Verge said that if Richard's Kid manages to claim his third Pacific Classic title, "you'll have about 800 people in the winner's circle."
"It was an opportunity to be part of a great horse," he added.
"The plan," said the 53-year-old Mora, "is to run him in the Pacific Classic, then look at our options concerning the Breeders' Cup. We'll have to see what happens with possibilities and there could be several ways to go with this horse. Then, if we can keep him sound and happy, we'd look at running in the Dubai World Cup."
Richard's Kid is a lifetime winner of 11 of 35 starts with earnings of $1,986,360. He has thrived with Baffert since returning from Dubai this spring following an unsuccessful stint at Meydan Racecourse, where he ran out of the money in five starts in 2011 and earlier this year.
In three races since returning, Richard's Kid has a pair of stakes wins, including the Cougar II Handicap (gr. III) at Del Mar July 27, and a runner-up finish to the Baffert-trained Game On Dude in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I). Game on Dude is the probable favorite in this year's Pacific Classic.
Prior to his departure for the United Arab Emirates, Richard's Kid won the Goodwood Stakes (gr. I) for Baffert in addition to his Pacific Classic triumphs.
Baffert, who also plans to start Jaycito in the Pacific Classic, said he was surprised and disappointed at the development.
"It was handled very unprofessionally," said the Hall of Fame trainer. "But, it happens, so move on."
Verge admitted, "I feel bad for Bob. It was the only hiccup in this deal, the fact that we were taking him away from Bob. He did a phenomenal job with this horse."
Richard's Kid was bred in Maryland by Fitzhugh and is out of the Broad Brush mare Tough Broad.