Entering horses to race in the Garden State is familiar territory for trainer Mary Hartmann.
On a perennial basis her barn is among the leaders in sending more horses to the post at Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands than any other outfit. But this afternoon she found herself on new ground, entering a horse in the Breeders' Cup, a lifetime goal for many conditioners and a dream come true for Hartmann, a fixture on the New Jersey racing scene for several decades.
Fast forward one year and insert the same scenario - Presious Passion leads every step in the Grade 1 United Nations. This year, however, a trip to the west coast was more than warranted for Presious Passion, who's earned over $2 million in his career.
In addition to his U.N. victory in July of this year, Presious Passion has scored graded stakes wins in the MacDiarmida (G2) and Clement Hirsch (G1), the latter over the same Santa Anita course that this year's Breeders' Cup will be contested.
Presious Passion's only off the board finish this season came in the Arlington Million, when rains downgraded the turf condition to good, a surface that has proven to the extreme disliking of the 6-year-old gelding.
From 41 lifetime outings, Presious Passion has a record of 13-6-2, three of those wins coming at the mile and a half distance he'll travel in Saturday's Turf Classic. This year marks his fifth season of racing. He debuted on Meadowlands turf on Nov. 12, 2005, finishing fifth, beaten three lengths for it all. In March of the following year he broke his maiden, that in a $62,500 claiming event at Gulfstream. He has not run for a tag since.
A total of 19 horses raced in New Jersey on their way to this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will span Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7. In addition to Presious Passion, they are:
* Awesome Gem (3rd in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic)
* Bickersons (Monmouth maiden winner in 2009)
* Canadian Ballet (winner of the 2008 P. G. Johnson Stakes at the Big M)
* Cannonball (3rd in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf)
* Court Vision (ran in the 2009 United Nations)
* Furthest Land (ran in an allowance at Monmouth in 2008)
* Gio Ponti (ran in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf)
* Interactif (Monmouth maiden winner in 2009)
* Join in the Dance (ran in the 2008 NATC Futurity)
* Life is Sweet (ran in the 2007 Epitome Stakes at Monmouth)
* Mambo Meister (ran in the 2009 Red Bank)
* Nite Light (maiden winner and stakes placed at Monmouth)
* Piscetelli (Monmouth maiden winner in 2009)
* Pyro (runner-up in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Juvenile)
* Rutherienne (winner of the 2007 Boiling Springs)
* Silver Timber (multiple stakes starts at Monmouth and Meadowlands)
* Sir Dave (3rd in 2008 Princeton Stakes at the Big M)
* Summer Bird (runner-up in the 2009 Haskell)
WATCH THE BREEDERS' CUP IN STYLE AT MEADOWLANDS RACETRACK
Spend Breeders' Cup Saturday in Pegasus or Terraces restaurants and savor the finest fare Meadowlands Racetrack has to offer.
For just $48 per person enjoy an all-day gourmet breakfast and lunch buffet in Pegasus on November 7. (Price includes racetrack admission and simulcast program). Terraces features ala carte specials including Brioche French Toast and Braised Lamb Shank. Call 201-TheBigM for reservations. For menus, go to MeadowlandsRacetrack.com.
Advance full card wagering on the entire Breeders' Cup card from Santa Anita begins when gates open at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 6. Day One of the Breeders' Cup simulcast features the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon, $1 Million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, $1 Million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, $2 Million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, $2 Million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf and $2 Million Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic. The first Breeders' Cup race is slated for 3:35 p.m.
Gates open 10:30 a.m. for Day Two on Saturday, November 7, with the first Cup race slated to go off at 1:45 p.m. The eight featured events are: $1 Million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, $1 Million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, $2 Million TVG Breeders' Cup Mile, $2 Million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile, $1 Million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, $2 Million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint, $3 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf and $5 Million Breeders' Cup Classic.