Richard’s Kid wins $1 million race by a neck
This year’s biggest race of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club season ended with an upset.
Richard’s Kid, sent off at odds of 24-1, shocked racing fans in the Grade I $1 million Pacific Classic on Sunday. Owned by Arnold Zetcher and piloted by Mike Smith, Richard’s Kid rallied entering the stretch to beat Einstein, the 4-1 third choice jockeyed by Julian Leparoux, by a neck.
After Einstein was Rail Trip, the 5-2 favorite, followed by Parading. Colonel John, a close second choice who was also 5-2, was fifth in the field of a dozen horses.
Richard’s Kid was trainer Bob Baffert’s second Pacific Classic success. Baffert won with General Challenge in 1999. This was also Smith’s second win in the Pacific Classic. He was victorious in 2002 atop 3-year-old Came Home.
Richard’s Kid’s earnings increased $600,000, to $759,370, with a guaranteed spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this November at Santa Anita.
In Monday’s featured race, another Baffert horse, Lookin at Lucky, ridden by two-time Eclipse Award-winner Garrett Gomez, rallied between horses in the upper stretch to win the Grade I $300,000 Del Mar Futurity event for 2-year-olds.
Before a Labor Day crowd of more than 11,300, Lookin at Lucky scored by a length over Make Music for Me, with Smiling Tiger third and Sterling Outlook fourth, to remain unbeaten in three starts.
Zensational won Sunday’s Pat O’Brien Stakes under rider Victor Espinoza, clinching a spot in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita in November.
Rendezvous upset 2-1 favorite Battle of Hastings in Sunday’s Grade II $350,000 Del Mar Derby after a third-place finish in the Oceanside Stakes on Opening Day and second in the La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 15.
With leading rider Joel Rosario in the saddle for his third triumph on Pacific Classic Day, Rendezvous, sent postward at a generous 22-1, proved narrowly best in a photo finish at the end of the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Extra entertainment for the final weekend at Del Mar started with a performance by Pete Yorn on Sept. 4 and the Bob Marley Roots, Rock, Reggae Festival with special guest Ziggy Marley on Sunday after the races. A Party in the Paddock was scheduled for Wednesday night to complete this season with live music by British ska sensation The English Beat.
“We’re tickled with the response our fans have given us so far at the meet,” Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President and General Manager Joe Harper said.
This year’s average attendance and handle on the track showed double-digit increases from last season.
Harper attributes this year’s success to the new five-day race schedule, Free & Easy Wednesdays and the addition of one extra race on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
According to the DMTC, attendance on Wednesdays has increased by 42 percent and the handle is up by 30 percent from last season.
As of last week, Del Mar’s total wagering numbers are nearly the same as last year’s, which the DMTC attributes to satellite betting and online wagering through TVG.com, Youbet.com, Xpressbet.com, Twinspires.com and the DMTC’s new betting platform, DelMarBets.com.
As of Sept. 5, 13 horses had to be euthanized as of Sept. 5, according to the North County Times.
- Track readies for marquee race
- Organizers hope special offers will draw race crowd
- Thoroughbred set conducts Pacific Classic business at L’Auberge
- Del Mar races open Wednesday
- It was a bittersweet start to race season
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