December 25, 2009

Presious Passion Part II

Who’s that horse? This is a mile and a half marathon, and he’s opening up by ten, fifteen, twenty lengths! Has the rider lost his mind? There is no way he is going to have anything left for the stretch. Here they come, the pack is closing in, the lead is shrinking fast. They’re going to run right by him. Wait a minute, the horse is Presious Passion. They’re not going to get him. This horse has another gear and a deep reserve of heart. There he goes. Presious Passion wires them again!

Which race did this little vignette capture? Take your pick. Given good conditions and a stretch of green grass in front of him, Presious Passion is a front running demon. He is prone to breaking the collective will of his opponents, first with unheard of blazing speed and then with all the stretch courage of the king of the jungle. His most unusual style of winning major races was not always the case. It was only when he was finally paired with a partner not afraid to let the unique horse run his race, that Presious Passion metamorphosed into the star he is today.

Presious Passion built on the good start in 2006 to his turf career, as the gelded son of Royal Anthem continued to run some promising races as a four-year-old. Consistency was not quite yet his strong suit, but a solid second place finish in the quickly run mile of the Bob Harding Stakes at Monmouth Park and then a win in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger at The Meadowlands earned Presious Passion the tag as a dangerous turfer. As a four-year-old, he was a horse who did not always threaten, but was capable of popping up and taking home the money on any given day. This was all part of the progression of Presious Passion. At two, he was a non-winner. At three, he showed an affinity for grass, and became a stakes winner. Now at four, he was a graded stakes winner, but still far from a model of consistency.

So much so, that when he entered December’s W.L. McKnight Handicap, bettors let him go at a whopping 67-1. The few fans who did back him that day went home overjoyed, as he earned a grade 2 victory over a solid field. It was in many ways, another telltale signal of the Presious Passion to come. He relished the testing 12 furlongs and came within a whisker of a new course record. Running near the lead, he pulled clear in the stretch and was much the best. In the irons that day was the successful young Panamanian jockey, Elvis Trujillo. It was the first time that Trujillo and Presious Passion came together and it would prove to be a fortuitous partnership.

Like a fine wine Presious Passion is improving with age. He has now improved in each of his five seasons of racing. As he got better, his trainer Mary Hartmann began to isolate what course condition (firm) and what distances (long) her charge preferred. Buoyed by his big win in the McKnight of 2007, Presious Passion would go on to bigger and better things in his five-year-old season.

To be continued…

Photo Courtesy and Property of Sue Kawczynski


NetworkEmpowerment said...

I'm hoping he comes back next year to, that way maybe he can hook up with Gio on a firm course. If that's the case we'll be in for one amazing race.

joani said...

thanks for an enjoyable Christmas day "read". ZATT is one of my guilty pleasures! Merry Christmas, Zipse Family

Brian Zipse said...

Dani, Presious Passion is a gelding, so there is no reason to believe he will not be with us for years to come.

Joani, No reason to feel guilty! ;-)

Merry Christmas to both of you my friends!

NetworkEmpowerment said...

That is why I'm so hopeful that he'll return. He is so neat to watch, and as you said he seems to only improve with age. With him and Gio at the head of the division next year, the turf division should be represented pretty well, especially against those Euros.