Sunday, July 5, 2009

Presious Passion Smashes Course Record in UN

Presious Passion scored a repeat victory in the $750,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO), smashing the course record in the process July 4 at Monmouth Park.

The 6-year-old son of Royal Anthem ran the 1 3/8 miles on the firm turf in 2:10.97, wiping out the previous mark of 2:12.89 set by English Channel in the 2007 UN. The world record for the distance is 2:10.20 set by With Approval at Belmont Park in 1990.

With a holiday crowd of 15,210 watching, Presious Passion, a dedicated front-runner, was sent to the front immediately by jockey Elvis Trujillo and opened a huge lead that reached more than 20 lengths at one point in the first half mile. He raced the opening half in :45 1/5 and the three-quarters in 1:09 4/5, and still held a 10-length margin after a mile in 1:34 3/5.

The winner, sent off second choice, paid $7.40, $3.80 and $3 across the board and topped the $89.80 exacta. The German-bred Lauro, off at 12-1, paid $11 to place and $7.20 to show, and Brass Hat, 14-1, returned $8.20 to show. Court Vision, the 9-5 favorite, finished sixth. Better Talk Now was scratched.

“I think it was a super performance,” trainer Mary Hartmann said. “Elvis rides him great. He’s really grown up and matured. Obviously I was worried when I saw the first fractions, but when he’s able to get clear up front he just relaxes nicely."

With the win, Presious Passion earned an automatic berth in the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series.

“This year I’m hoping to go to the Breeders’ Cup (Nov. 7) with him. If all goes well and he stays healthy, it’s very likely.”

Trujillo said, “This is the way this horse likes to run. He wants to go to the lead, and I’ll let him go as fast as he wants. There is no fighting this horse.

“I knew we were going pretty fast,” the jockey said, “but I didn’t see anybody coming after us when I took a look at the top of the stretch. In deep stretch, when the horses started to get closer, he just dug in more. He loves to win.”

Presious Passion earned a prize of $450,000 for owner Patricia Generazio, hiking his career total to $1,842,018 gleaned from 12 victories in 38 career starts.

Spice Route finished fourth, followed by Banrock, Court Vision, Strike a Deal and Wesley.

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