Prayer for Relief

Prayer for Relief

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Romans: Prayer for Relief's Work 'Super'

BC Classic outsider, Cristina's Journey worked for trainer Oct. 25. at Santa Anita.

Since Dale Romans took over the training of Prayer for Relief  earlier this year, the 6-year-old horse has been competitive, but winless, in six tries, all in graded stakes company.

Despite Prayer for Relief having not visited the winner's circle since taking the $75,000 Tenacious Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots last December,  the Kentucky-based conditioner remains confident that the son of Jump Start Sparklin Lil, by Mr. Sparkles, is sitting on a big race. That's his reason for entering the Zayat Stables campaigner in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.

Previously trained by Bob Baffert and then Steve Asmussen, Prayer for Relief was a close fourth in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) win of champion Will Take Charge  in his first start for Romans April 12. Since then, he was second by a neck in the Pimlico Special (gr. III), eighth in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), third in the Suburban Handicap (gr. I), fourth in the Whitney (gr. I), and most recently third in the Woodward (gr. I).

"He deserves to run with the best," Romans said after Prayer for Relief worked a half-mile in :47 2/5 Oct. 25 at Santa Anita. "He's been running against the best horses in the country and in the biggest races on the East Coast, and he has been very competitive in every one of them. I think he's sitting on his biggest race of the year and if a couple of others of them falter a little bit, he could win this race.

"He worked super today," added Romans, who timed the horse in ":59 and change" for five furlongs. "He was just skipping over the ground. He did the things you want to see a horse do coming into a big race. Ever since he's here he's been flourishing. I think he's training right now better than I've ever seen him."

Bred in Kentucky by G. R. Aschinger, Prayer for Relief was purchased by Zayat for $80,000 from the Legacy Bloodstock, agent for War Horse Place, consignment to the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale.

With eight wins and 15 placings from 33 starts and earnings of more than $1.9 million, Prayer for Relief has six stakes wins, including the West Virginia Derby and Super Derby (both gr. II) to his credit. He has also finished second or third in nine other stakes.

Also working for Romans Oct. 25 was Cristina's Journey, who is being pointed toward the 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

"The work today was really good," Romans said after Cristina's Journey traveled five furlongs in 1:00. "She does everything right and has the right running style for this racetrack."

The daughter of Any Given SaturdayToss the Feather, by Dixie Union, races for GSN Racing. She has won both her career starts, including the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) Sept. 6 at Churchill Downs.