09/22/2009 11:00PM

Softer spot for Malibu Prayer


ELMONT, N.Y. - After taking on some of the monsters of the 3-year-old filly division, Malibu Prayer should enjoy the class relief she gets by running in Wednesday's $65,000 Cat Chat, a one-mile overnight stakes that serves as the feature on Belmont Park's nine-race card.

Malibu Prayer, a daughter of Malibu Moon owned and bred by Ed Evans, has finished second to the likes of Rachel Alexandra, Careless Jewel, and Just Jenda in her last three starts, all graded stakes. The only graded winner in this field is War Echo, who has not run since taking the Grade 3 Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds in February.

"She's held the very best of company here recently and has performed very well,'' said Todd Pletcher, trainer of Malibu Prayer. "We're looking forward to giving her some class relief and hoping to make her a stakes winner in the process.''

Malibu Prayer earned her way into graded stakes opportunities after winning a one-mile maiden race at Aqueduct by 13 lengths in April and a first-level allowance race going two turns at Philadelphia Park on June 2. She was hard-used in a speed duel with Flashing in the Mother Goose, which Rachel Alexandra won by 19 1/4 lengths. In the Delaware Oaks, Malibu Prayer chased Careless Jewel all the way around the track. Careless Jewel came back to win the Alabama.

Malibu Prayer set the pace in the Monmouth Oaks before succumbing to Just Jenda. Wednesday, Malibu Prayer is nicely drawn on the outside in the six-horse field.

"With her post position, we should have all options in front of us,'' Pletcher said. "We'll let Johnny [Velazquez] sort it out as they break.''

According to Scott Blasi, assistant trainer to Steve Asmussen, War Echo wrenched a knee coming out of her victory in the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds on Feb. 7.

"What was so disappointing about the race at Fair Grounds was she finally put everything together that we wanted her to put together,'' Blasi said. "She had run fast, looked like she was headed the right way. We're going to treat this as a race to get her back, but we think it fits well into her schedule as to where she is physically."

Acronym overcame a slow start to win her dirt debut on Sept. 4 at Saratoga. Pamona Ball, who won the Sharp Cat Stakes over Hollywood Park's synthetic surface last November, makes her dirt debut and first start since running sixth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet last Dec. 13.