Alternation Seeks Redemption at Remington
But Zayat Stables' speedy Prayer for Relief will be making his first start for trainer Steve Asmussen in the 1 1/8-mile dirt event for older horses, and is good enough to present a challenge.
Alternation finished fifth in the June 16 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, ending a four-race win streak that included the Pimlico Special (gr. III), the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II), and the Razorback Handicap (gr. III). He went into the Foster unbeaten in 2012 for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel.
The 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor has turned in a steady four-work pattern at Remington since arriving mid-July, and had his final pre-race move over the surface Aug. 7 when he went five furlongs in a handy 1:02.61. He ran second by a head at Remington last year in the Oklahoma Derby, his only start at the Oklahoma City track. Jockey Louis Quinonez rides.
Prayer for Relief, who earned $1.1 million while under the care of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, also ran in last year's Oklahoma Derby and finished third. The 4-year-old son of Jump Start is winless since taking the Sept. 9 Super Derby (gr. II). This year his best effort was a runner-up finish in the May 5 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II), sandwiched between a trio of third-place finishes in the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) in January, the Strub Stakes (gr. II) in February, and the Californian Stakes (gr. II) June 2.
Along with the on-the-board finishes came a 12th-place effort in the March 3 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and the most recent effort, sixth in the July 28 San Diego Handicap (gr. II). But he was beaten just 1 3/4 lengths in the San Diego, his first start in two months, and earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure for the try. His last work came July 22 at Del Mar on the all-weather track, six furlongs in 1:11.40, best of 12 at the distance on the day.
Prayer for Relief's best efforts have been on dirt, with his other stakes scores coming in last year's Iowa Derby (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows and in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II) at Mountaineer Park.
While Prayer for Relief gets a break in the weights at 118 from the one hole under Mark Guidry, Alternation shares highweight of 124 pounds with two other runners—Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. II) runner-up Get in Da House, a multiple stakes winner who was third last time out in the June 30 Louisiana Legends Classic Stakes, and Stachys, who ran third on the turf at Canterbury Park in the July 21 John Bullitt Stakes after taking the $50,000 Brooks Fields Stakes at one mile on the dirt there June 17.
Get in Da House is trained by Wesley Hawley, who co-owns the 4-year-old Grand Appointment gelding with Robert Orth, while Stachys, a 5-year-old Candy Ride gelding, will be saddled by Michael Biehler for Al and Bill Ulwelling. Get in Da House makes his Remington debut from post three under Clifton Berry; Stachys ran third in the 2010 Oklahoma Derby in his only previous start there and will break from post two with Jamie Theriot aboard.
Dreaminofthewin, a 4-year-old gelded son of Successful Appeal who has not won since taking a 6 1/2-furlong allowance event last Sept. 21 at Remington, completes the field from post four under Lindey Wade for C.R. Trout, also his trainer. He comes off a sixth-place finish in a June 30 allowance going 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Lone Star Park; best finishes in graded company came last year with thirds in the Iowa Derby (gr. III) and Texas Mile Stakes (gr. III).
$200,000 Governor's Cup Stakes (Race 8, approximate post 9:46 p.m. EDT), 3YO & Up, 1 1/8 miles (dirt)
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