10/10/2011 2:39PM

Remington: Prayer for Relief gets green light for Oklahoma Derby


Prayer for Relief breezed Monday at Santa Anita and later the same morning trainer Bob Baffert said the horse will target the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby. Prayer for Relief will be part of a coast-to-coast cast for Sunday’s 1 1/8-mile race at Remington Park, as a Monday flight that originated in New York and swept through Kentucky has brought in Infrattini, Malibu Glow, Meistersinger, Populist Politics, Redeemed, and Socialsaul.

The Oklahoma Derby is the richest race of the meet and will be supported by two other stakes, the $250,000 Remington Park Oaks and the $125,000 Remington Green. The races will be held on the track’s lone Sunday card, which will have a special afternoon post of 1:30 p.m. Central. Entries for the Oklahoma Derby will be taken on Thursday.

Prayer for Relief will be seeking his fifth consecutive win. His streak began in a Hollywood Park allowance in May, which was his first start at 3. The Zayat Stables-owned horse has since won the Grade 3 Iowa Derby, the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby, and the Grade 2 Super Derby. Prayer for Relief is scheduled to fly to town Tuesday.

“He just worked today,” Baffert said Monday. “He’s coming, and we’re bringing May Day Rose in for the Oaks.”

Prayer for Relief went five furlongs in 1:00.40 at Santa Anita. Baffert said the horse will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.

Populist Politics, third to Prayer for Relief in the Super Derby, will be ridden by Gerard Melancon, said trainer Tom Amoss. Others expected to take on Prayer for Relief include Alternation and Awesome Bet, who are based at Remington. Dreaminofthewin, who was third in the Iowa Derby in June, is another pointed for the Oklahoma Derby, according to his trainer, C.R. Trout. The large field could also include Wally Van, a winner of four stakes in his last four starts, all of the wins at either Arapahoe Park or Ruidoso Downs.

Socialsaul will be the first Remington starter for trainer Gary Contessa. John Grabowski, who was aboard the horse for his win in the $159,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes in July, has the mount in the Oklahoma Derby. The race Sunday will be the first outside of the New York-bred ranks for Socialsaul, whose statebred option back home was the $200,000 Empire Classic Handicap at Belmont Park on Oct. 22.

“I thought this would be a very interesting opportunity,” Contessa said of the Oklahoma Derby. “The owner was game, and we thought, ‘Why not?’ It’s straight 3-year-olds. Why not take a shot?’

“We could have stayed at home and run him in the big New York-bred classic, [but] Icabad Crane, Haynesfield, Johannesburg Smile, they’re all seasoned, older horses. We studied the horses that we think are coming to the Oklahoma Derby, and I think his [Ragozin] numbers fit. He’s run sixes and sevens regularly, as do most of the guys in this race.”

Socialsaul will attempt to be the second New York-bred in three years to win the Oklahoma Derby. Back in 2009, the New York-based Fiddlers Afleet shipped in and won the race. Socialsaul, who races for Samotowka Stables, is a son of Read the Footnotes.

Juanita to Remington Oaks

Juanita, who won the Grade 2 Indiana Oaks by more than four lengths in her last start Oct. 1, is being pointed for the Remington Oaks, her trainer, Mike Maker, said on Monday. He said she is scheduled to ship in from Kentucky on either Wednesday or Thursday.

May Day Rose, expected to arrive Tuesday from Santa Anita, has won two stakes in her last three starts, including the Grade 3 Railbird at Hollywood Park. Remington Oaks nominees Le Mi Geaux and Fast Tip, who are both stakes winners, have been working of late at Remington.

◗ Maker said Lonesome Street is possible for the Green. The 1 1/16-mile turf race is the target for Skip a Smile, a winner of three stakes in his last three starts for trainer Steve Asmussen.