10/07/2005 11:00PM

River's Prayer lands in much softer spot


ARCADIA, Calif. - An attempt at Grade 1 glory failed in August and September for when she finished third in the Del Mar Debutante and fifth in the Matron Stakes at Belmont Park.

After those losses, River's Prayer takes a major drop in class to start against statebred fillies in Monday's $75,000 Cover Gal Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

River's Prayer will be favored in the Cover Gal, run over seven furlongs for 2-year-olds.

Owned by Bearing Point Ventures and trainer Paula Capestro, River's Prayer will attempt to end a three-race losing streak that began with a second as the heavy favorite in the Landaluce Stakes over six furlongs at Hollywood Park in July.

River's Prayer won her first two starts, a maiden race and the Cinderella Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood during the spring.

Capestro dismisses the 24-length loss in the Matron, blaming a racetrack that she said River's Prayer could not handle. She expects River's Prayer to improve on her third-place finish to Wild Fit in the Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 27.

"I think she will be better than the August race," Capestro said. "If mentally she's fine, physically she should be better. We've had a couple of tough races."

Since the Matron Stakes, River's Prayer has not had a workout.

"I've put in plenty of stiff gallops. I thought this would be easier than going against open company in two weeks," she said, referring to the Anoakia Stakes on Oct. 23.

River's Prayer is the most accomplished of the eight fillies in the field, which includes two impressive maiden winners - Bless Idbyour Name and Princess Kinzie.

Bless Idbyour Name won her second start by two lengths, a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs on

Aug. 21. Trained by Kevin Lewis, Bless Idbyour Name worked quickly in September and earlier this month, including five furlongs in 59.20 seconds last Wednesday, the fastest of 37 published works at the distance.

Princess Kinzie beat statebred maiden fillies by four lengths on Sept. 4 at Del Mar in her second start. Trained by Marty Jones, Princess Kinzie will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela.

The only other filly who has run well in stakes is Aloha Mangos Kitty, who finished third in the Bustles and Bows Stakes at Fairplex Park on Sept. 15. Trained by Don Warren, she drew the outside post, which should help her stalking style. Alex Solis rides.