Sunday, March 22, 2020
HALLANDALE BEACH - Cara Oliver’s Hear My Prayer sprinted to the lead and kept on going, shaking off Foolish Humor early and turning away Compensate by 1 1/2 lengths to earn her first career stakes victory in the $75,000 Melody of Colors, giving jockey Paco Lopez his fifth of a record-equaling seven victories on Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park.
Lopez, a past Championship Meet riding champion who sits third in the current standings, previously won aboard Strike Magic ($21) in Race 1, Time to Two Step ($2.40) in Race 2, French Quarter ($3.60) in Race 5 and Quick Step Ed ($8.80) in Race 6, adding a sixth win aboard We Miss Susie ($6) in Race 10 and a seventh aboard National Honor ($11.80) in Race 12.
With his seventh win Lopez joined the company of Luis Saez (twice), Tyler Gaffalione and Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey. Saez achieved the feat on Jan. 24, 2018 and March 29, 2018. Gaffalione won seven on July 4, 2017, while Bailey was the first to accomplish it on March 11, 1996.
Trained by David Fisher, Hear My Prayer was a popular winner in the field of 11 3-year-old fillies, cutting back to five furlongs following her 2020 debut, in which she was sixth after setting the pace in the 7 ½-furlong Ginger Brew Jan. 4 at Gulfstream. She paid $4 after racing the distance in :55.89 seconds over a firm turf course.
Hear My Prayer was intent on the lead from post 4 and dueled through an opening quarter in :21.23 seconds with Foolish Humor at her right hip. Foolish Humor began to fade around the turn and Compensate picked up the chase down the center of the track after a half in :43.80, but was unable to reel in the winner.
Hear My Prayer improved to 3-0 when sprinting five furlongs on the grass, her other wins coming last fall at Gulfstream and Gulfstream West, each in front-running fashion. She was unable to sustain her lead in the Ginger Brew and wound up beaten 3 ¼ lengths.
Two races later, Smart Angle LLP’s Cajun Casanova rallied from far back to win the $75,000 Texas Glitter, a five-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds. Trained by Michael Pino, Cajun Casanova, who captured the five-furlong Hollywood Beach on turf last year at Gulfstream, was claimed for $50,000 out of an eight-length victory in a five-furlong off-the-turf optional claiming allowance Jan. 23. The son of Stonehedge Farm's Cajun Breeze set the pace before finishing second in a five-furlong optional claiming allowance on turf for his new connections on Feb. 17.
This time, Cajun Casanova ($9.40) and jockey Miguel Vasquez employed different tactics with success. He chased the pace in fourth as R Man Joe set solid fractions of :21.47 and :43.36 for the first half-mile, then swung wide entering the stretch and kicked in to win by a neck. R Man Joe held on for second under Emisael Jaramillo, 1 ½ lengths ahead of late-charging Guildsman and Saez. Cajun Casanova was clocked in :55.28 seconds.
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