Richard’s Kid wins Pacific Classic
The Pacific Classic Stakes is a Grade 1 event that is hosted by the Del Mar Racecourse every year, and is for three year old horses and older. With a purse of $1 million, the Pacific Classic Stakes attract a number of great racehorses and their owners, and this year was no different. Even though there was a tough group of contenders in the starting gates on Sunday 6 September 2009, it was the long shot, Richard’s Kid, which took everyone by surprise and won the 2009 Pacific Classic Stakes.
Mike Smith, a legendary Hall of Fame jockey, was lobbying to ride Parading on Sunday, but as luck would have it, Parading was given to Rafael Bejarano, and Smith was given the opportunity to ride Richard’s Kid. With the Pacific Classic Stakes luring great horses such as Einstein and race favorite, Rail Trip, Smith knew he had his work cut out for him. Richard’s Kid, son of Lemon Drop Kid, was purchased by Arnold Zetcher, on recommendation from trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert offered Mike Smith Richard’s Kid to ride, warning him that he will be a long shot, but Smith was up for the challenge and joked with Baffert that if he did win on Richard’s Kid, the well known trainer would have to bow down to him.
By the time the field of contenders hit the mile mark, Richard’s Kid was in tenth position, and no-one could definitely decide who would take the victory. But Richard’s Kid slowly began to make his way towards the front runners and it wasn’t long before Richard’s Kid and Einstein were battling against each other for first position. Tension and excitement grew as both talented horses came down the final stretch and headed for the finish line. Richard’s Kid pulled out all the stops in the last moments of the Pacific Classic, to cross the finish line with a head in front of Einstein and with Rail Trip in third position.
The smile on Mike Smith’s face said it all as they entered the winner’s circle, while owner Arnold Zetcher came to terms with his surprise and disbelief that his horse had just won his first graded stakes race. And as promised, Bob Baffert entered the winner’s circle, got down on his knees, and delivered the bow that both Richard’s Kid and Mike Smith so richly deserved.