08/18/2013 9:05AM

Remington Park: Prayer for Relief by a head in Governor's Cup


Prayer for Relief edged a resurgent Worldly by a head to win the $175,000 Governor’s Cup at Remington Park in Oklahoma City on Saturday night, earning a $15,000 bonus from the track’s parent company, Global Gaming.

Prayer for Relief was the lone horse eligible for the bonus by virtue of his participation in three designated races run between Remington and its sister track, Lone Star Park near Dallas. It is to be split equally by his owner, Zayat Stables, and trainer, Steve Asmussen.

The Governor’s Cup was the first stakes of the Remington meet that opened for its 25th anniversary season Friday. A field of five started after the scratch of Brethren.

Prayer for Relief was the 2-5 favorite off his win in the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows, while Alternation, in his first start since April, was the second choice and finished fourth after setting the pace. Last year, Alternation won the Governor’s Cup by a nose over Prayer for Relief.

In the rematch, Prayer for Relief ($2.60) stumbled at the start as Alternation moved to the lead with Worldly and set a pressured pace of 23.96 seconds for the opening quarter, 48.09 for the half-mile, and 1:12.38 for six furlongs.

Prayer for Relief, who went four wide into the first turn, raced in third along the inside down the backstretch. He moved off the fence on the final turn, launched a four-wide bid into the stretch, then took after Stachys, who made a break for it when the field straightened for home. Prayer for Relief closed well to catch Stachys and Worldly while covering the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.42.

“[Worldly] tried to come back, but my horse heard him, and he fought,” said Ricardo Santana Jr., who rode Prayer for Relief.

Prayer for Relief earned $105,000 for the win. The race was the final leg of the Global Gaming Triple bonus, which Prayer for Relief earned after also running in the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile in April and the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap in May, races in which he finished second. The bonus was introduced last year, when it was won by Get in Da House.

Prayer for Relief’s win Saturday was his seventh from 22 starts. He has career earnings of $1,524,725. He is a 5-year-old by Jump Start and was bred in Kentucky by G.R. Aschinger.

Stachys finished third in the Governor’s Cup, 1 1/4 lengths behind Worldly. Alternation was another 2 1/2 lengths back in fourth. It was seven more lengths back to Liberty Bound in fifth.