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Prayed For Springs 23-1 Upset for Wolfson in Panama City

Sep 26, 2015

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Marty Wolfson has earned a well-deserved reputation for developing newly acquired fillies and mares into stakes winners, but Prayed For somehow slipped under the bettors’ radar Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Making her second start for Wolfson, the 4-year-old daughter of Dynaformer scored a 23-1 upset in the $75,000 Panama City, a mile-turf stakes for fillies and mares, making a devastating sweeping move on the far turn and drawing off to a 1 ¼-length victory.

“I've only had this filly six weeks, but I just wanted to try something different and bring her from behind, because her record shows that she stops a lot,” Wolfson said. “She was way back, and it turned out to be a great experiment.”

Ben Walden Jr.’s homebred filly ($49.20) showed speed in her debut for Wolfson before faltering over a sloppy main track in the off-the-turf Wasted Tears at Gulfstream Sept. 5 but demonstrated “She was very happy to be back on the turf. She didn't like the other surface,” Wolfson said. “I think the whole thing is: now she can come from behind. She was very rank when I first got her, but now she's relaxed. It might make her a better filly.”

Prayed For became a stakes winner Saturday under a well-timed ride by Jonathan Gonzales, settling far off the pace after Lemon Point was gunned from the gate to lead her seven rivals on a merry chase, building a six-length lead in mid-backstretch. The field had closed in on the tiring pacesetter and had bunched up on the far turn when Gonzales said, ‘Go,’ to Prayed For, and the Kentucky-bred filly responded with an eye-catching sweep around the field to take the lead leaving the turn into the homestretch. Claiming Victory, a 27-1 longshot, made a late bid under Matthew Rispoli in deep stretch but was no match for Prayed For. The Wolfson-trained, newly acquired In My Time, who was caught in traffic on the turn, finished third under Luca Panici, another 3 ¾ lengths back.

“The other filly [In My Time] I thought ran really good, considering she just shipped in Tuesday,” said Wolfson, who turned former $6,250 claimer Starship Truffles into a Grade 1 winner in 2013 and also developed Ask the Moon (2011)  and Jessica is Back (2010) into Grade 1 winners. “I really like that filly. She just needed a race, but she's nice, too.”

Prayed For ran a mile over a firm turf course in 1:36.33 while winning her fourth victory in nine start on turf. Urtheoneeyelove, the 9-5 favorite, was never a factor in a sixth-place finish.

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