Friday, July 04, 2008
Monmouth Park Barn Notes for Thursday, July 3, 2008
PRESIOUS PASSION CARRIES LOCAL HOPES IN SATURDAY’S UNITED NATIONS; INDY WIND STEPS UP IN SALVATOR MILE; 60-MINUTE SIX POOL $100,000
OCEANPORT, N.J. * Trainer Mary Hartmann will be participating in her first Grade 1 event when she saddles Presious Passion in Saturday’s $750,000 United Nations * Indy Wind tries again for graded stakes status in Saturday’s $300,000 Salvator Mile * Go Go Shoot has a tough task in Friday’s $150,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (G3) * Saturday’s 60- Minute Six has a $100,000 guaranteed pool.
Trainer Mary Hartmann has been sending out winners at Monmouth Park for more than 10 years now, but on Saturday she’ll do something she’s never done before when she tightens the girth on Presious Passion in the $750,000 United Nations Stakes.
“This is my first horse ever in a Grade 1 race,” Hartmann said, “and it’s really exciting.”
Even more exciting is the fact that Presious Passion, a 5-year old gelding by Royal Anthem, actually has a solid chance in the mile and three-eighths U.N. The Florida-bred, who runs in the colors of Patricia Generazio, won two graded turf stakes over the winter * the Grade 2 McKnight at Calder and the Grade 3 Pan American at Gulfstream * and last year won the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger at the Meadowlands. Presious Passion also has a good record at Monmouth, topped by a victory in the Jersey Derby of 2006.
“He’s my first graded stakes horse of any kind,” Hartmann said. “It just shows you never know where a good horse will come from.”
Presious Passion, who does his best work on the front end, will have Eddie Castro back aboard for the U.N. Castro was aboard when Presious Passion broke his maiden in February of 2006 * in a $62,500 claiming event at Gulfstream. The jockey also guided the horse to his Jersey Derby score.
This year’s 55th running of the United Nations has a special distinction, since it’s part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day at Monmouth. The winner of the U.N. earns an automatic starting berth in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.
“To tell the truth,” Hartmann said, “I haven’t looked that far down the road. I don’t even know if he’s nominated. I’m just thrilled that he’s coming into this race in great shape.”
Presious Passion last ran in the Battlefield Stakes here on June 15. That race came off the turf, and the gelding finished second over a very sloppy track.
“He needed to race,” Hartmann said of the decision to stay in the Battlefield. “If we wanted to make this race, he needed to run. I thought he did okay in the slop, especially since that was the first time he ever raced on an off track.
“And the best part is, he didn’t hurt himself. He came out of the race great and he’s trained well since.”
Presious Passion was rank in the Mac Diarmida Handicap at Gulfstream in March, and squandered a long lead when he ran out of steam on the turn. In the Pan American, however, he opened a 12-length lead early, but jockey Ariel Smith had his speed under control, and Presious Passion maintained a clear lead to the wire.
“He really doesn’t need to be in front,” Hartmann said, “and I don’t know how this race will set up. It will be up to the rider to judge the pace, and Castro knows the horse.
“He’s a very versatile horse, and that’s why I think he’ll run his race Saturday.”
‘REAL’ INDY WIND SETS SIGHTS ON SATURDAY’S SALVATOR MILE
Hardacre Farm’s Indy Wind burst on the Monmouth racing scene like a tornado in June of 2005, running two races that set the track buzzing with promise. Then an injury deflated the Indy balloon, and the son of A.P. Indy has been futilely chasing glory ever since.
The 6-year-old gets another chance at graded stakes glory in Saturday’s $300,000 Salvator Mile (G3), which carries a special distinction this year as a Breeders’ Cup Challenge event, meaning the winner gets an automatic berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.
“This is his final year of racing,” said owner-trainer Amy Tarrant, “and I want to give him every chance to get a graded win. After the Salvator, he’ll go in the Iselin (Grade 3 here on Aug. 16). I might even put him on the grass again in the fall.
“I’ve had some interest in him as a stallion prospect, and a graded stakes win is my goal for him this season.”
The thing that most encourages Tarrant is the fact that Indy Wind is coming into the Salvator off a smashing victory in the Frisk Me Now Stakes here on June 7. In that mile and 70-yard event, the horse looked like the Indy of old as he roared to the lead in midstretch, and then just kept on rolling to win by more than seven lengths.
“That looked like the old Indy, the real Indy,” Tarrant said. “He’s such a talented horse, and he’s coming up to this race feeling better than ever, knock on wood.”
Indy Wind has had a succession of minor problems that have added up to a career of just 19 starts in four seasons. When he’s on his game, he’s been a dominating presence, with eight wins.
“He missed his glory days, when he didn’t run as a 3-year-old,” Tarrant said, “but this could be his glory year.”
GO GO SHOOT HAS WORK CUT OUT IN JERSEY SHORE FRIDAY
Monmouth kicks off the Fourth of July holiday weekend on Friday with the $150,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (G3), and the six-furlong event will definitely be a fast affair.
The race has drawn a field of six, including Zayat Stable’s J Be K, who’s won both the Grade 3 Bay Shore and Grade 2 Woody Stephens in New York, and Indy Joe, who won the Rumson at Monmouth in his last start.
Trainer Jim Ryerson will send out Go Go Shoot, a Songandaprayer gelding bred and owned by Bobby Hurley’s Devil Eleven Stable. The 3-year-old roan was fourth behind J Be K in the Bay Shore and third behind Indy Joe in the Rumson, run on a muddy track.
“No excuses for him,” Ryerson said of the Rumson. “He likes an off track and he should have done better. He’s got to improve Friday to run with these guys. J Be K is a nice horse.”
Go Go Shoot goes from the rail with Jose Lezcano aboard.
$100,000 GUARANTEED POOL SET FOR 60-MINUTE SIX SATURDAY
The 60-Minute Six, a new pick six wager that combines races from Monmouth Park, Belmont Park, Philadelphia Park and Delaware Park will again have a $100,000 guaranteed pool this Saturday.
The 60-Minute Six combines a pair of races from two of the tracks with one each from the other two. The races will be chosen so all six will run within a one-hour span.
The 60-Minute Six will be offered every Saturday through Aug. 30, and has a $2 base wager. If no one successfully selects all six winners, 75 percent of the pool will carryover to the following Saturday’s 60-Minute Six.