10/13/2011 3:21PM

Remington Park: Prayer for Relief will meet familiar rivals in Oklahoma Derby

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Prayer for Relief figures to be out front early in Sunday's Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

The gang’s all here. Well, almost.

The field for the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby on Sunday will include six of the nine horses who ran in last month’s Grade 2 Super Derby, including winner Prayer for Relief.

The reunion at Remington Park comes in the richest race of the meet. In all, a field of 12 was drawn Thursday for the Oklahoma Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race to be run on the lone Sunday card of the season. There will be a special afternoon post of 1:30 p.m. Central, and the program will include the $250,000 Remington Park Oaks and $125,000 Remington Green.

Prayer for Relief won the Super Derby by 2 1/2 lengths at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 10. Awesome Bet, who finished second, will be back to try him again in the Oklahoma Derby, as will third- and fourth-place finishers Populist Politics and Alternation and sixth- and eighth-place finishers Malibu Glow and Meistersinger.

Prayer for Relief wired the field at Louisiana Downs and figures to once again be prominent in the Oklahoma Derby. He drew post 4 and will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.

“He’s a fast horse,” said Bob Baffert, who trains Prayer for Relief for Zayat Stables. “He’s got to be up close.”

Alternation, winner of the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont in May, and Malibu Glow, who was fifth in the Grade 1 Travers in August, are making equipment changes for Sunday as they attempt to turn the tables on Prayer for Relief.

“We’re adding some blinkers,” said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Alternation. “I think they’ll just kind of keep him more up in the bridle and make him a little more responsive for the rider, hopefully.”

Jockey Luis Quinonez will be reunited with Alternation, a horse he had teamed with on a regular basis last winter before Alternation shipped to New York and was ridden by the Belmont Park-based Ramon Dominguez.

Malibu Glow, meanwhile, will be removing blinkers for trainer George Weaver. The horse won his maiden without the equipment this past May at Belmont. Eddie Castro was aboard and will be teaming with Malibu Glow for the first time since that race.

The complete field from the rail with riders is Malibu Glow, Castro; Infrattini, Corey Lanerie; Meistersinger, Sheldon Russell; Prayer for Relief, Bejarano; Alternation, Quinonez; Populist Politics, Gerard Melancon; Redeemed, Edgar Prado; Dreaminofthewin, Cliff Berry; Socialsaul, John Grabowski; Behold de Buy, Glen Murphy; Awesome Bet, Justin Shepherd; and Wally Van, Mike Ziegler.

The Oklahoma Derby will go as the 10th race on an 11-race card. It has an approximate post of 5:49 p.m. Central. The stakes action starts in the eighth, with Skip a Smile breaking from the rail in the Green at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The Baffert-trained May Day Rose will go one race later in the Oaks, where she will face nine others, including the Steve Asmussen-trained pair of Le Mi Geaux and Taptia.

Forecasters are calling for sunny skies and highs in the low 80s on Sunday.