The 5-year-old son of Royal Anthem also earned an automatic starting berth in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf in October at Santa Anita because the U.N. was a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event.
Presious Passion, who had won a Grade 2 and a Grade 3 stakes in Florida over the winter, took the track from the start of the mile and three-eighths U.N. Jockey Eddie Castro rated him smoothly through the first mile and Presious Passion was ready when the challenge came in the stretch as he turned back Strike a Deal to win by a neck.
“He wasn’t all-out,” Hartmann said. “He came back a little tired, but he ate up and was right back to himself.”
Owners Frank and Pat Generazio were not on hand to see the race at Monmouth. They cite holiday traffic, but Hartmann thinks otherwise.
“They’re superstitious,” Hartmann said. “They came to the track for the Sunshine Millions (at Gulfstream Park in January). Presious Passion acted up badly in the paddock, and then he ran really poorly. After that Frank said, ‘He runs better when I’m not there.’”
Hartmann said she and the Generazios have yet to sit down and work out a path to the Breeders’ Cup on Oct. 25. The last graded turf event of the season beyond one mile at Monmouth is the Oceanport Stakes (G3) on Aug. 3. New York races include the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga on Aug. 16, and the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont on Sept. 27.