03/16/2007 11:00PM

River's Prayer holds on in O'Brien


River's Prayer, overcoming severe early pace pressure, was able to hang on and score a front-running victory in the $133,750 Irish O'Brien Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong turf sprint for California-bred fillies and mares at Santa Anita.

River's Prayer defeated Bachelorette One by 1 1/4 lengths, with Gn. Group Meeting a nose farther back in third. La Tormenta, who tried to go with River's Prayer early, buckled from the swift pace and faded to finish last in the field of six.

River's Prayer and La Tormenta stormed down the hill in 20.55 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 42.63 seconds for a half-mile. By the time the field reached the top of the stretch, La Tormenta was done, but River's Prayer went on with it. Both Bachelorette One and Gn. Group Meeting ran on late, but River's Prayer kept on motoring to cover the distance in 1:12.66 on the firm course.

Clinton Potts rode River's Prayer for Paula Capestro, who trains and co-owns River's Prayer. The filly is now 2 for 2 on turf, with both wins coming on the hillside course.

"She's got such a monstrous stride," Potts said. "She covers a lot of ground. She's got a lot of heart."

River's Prayer, 4, won the Cal Cup Distaff Handicap on this course in October, but had run poorly in two subsequent starts in Grade 1 races. She has now won 5 times in 12 starts.