Jockey Elvis Trujillo will be back aboard Presious Passion, who was 20-1 when he won the 12-furlong Pan American last year. He will attract considerably more support in this edition, facing six rivals after a game half-length victory in the 11-furlong Mac Diarmida Stakes (G3) over the course on Feb. 21.
Presious Passion scored his biggest career victory last summer in the United Nations Handicap (G1) at Monmouth Park. Previous two-time winners of the Pan American were Fraise (1993-94), Buck’s Boy (1998, 2000) and Quest Star (2003-04).
Fab Oak Stable and Kona Stable’s Quasicobra and Harlequin Ranches and trainer Roger Attfield’s Spice Route are 5-year-old geldings who finished second and third, respectively, behind Presious Passion in the Mac Diarmida last out and appear to be the biggest threats again Saturday.
Jockey Alan Garcia rides Quasicobra, who ran a big race to finish second, a half-length behind Presious Passion in the Mac Diarmida in his first start since winning a 12-furlong allowance race at Churchill Downs on Nov. 20. Trained by Dale Romans, Quasicobra is a son of Wild Rush who appears to be hitting his best stride as he gets older.
Spice Route was the 2-1 favorite in the Mac Diarmida and ran a big race to finish third, beaten 1½ lengths with some trouble in the race. The English-bred chestnut by King’s Best has established his class in turf-marathon stakes, including a runner-up effort in the Canadian International (G1) at Woodbine last fall. Jockey James McAleney rides Spice Route.
Stronach Stable’s 4-year-old Canadian homebred Sligovitz could be a threat after a very good try finishing fifth in the Gulfstream Turf Stakes (G1) behind Kip Deville going 1 1/8 miles here on Feb. 1, his first start since winning an allowance on Polytrack at Woodbine in mid-November.
In his lone previous attempt at 12 furlongs for trainer Brian Lynch, Sligovitz finished second in the Breeders’ Stakes over the Woodbine course in August. Jockey John R. Velazquez takes a return call on the son of Sligo Bay.
Completing the field for the 48th edition of the Pan American are Stud Gadu Acost’s South Handyman, Joe Bravo; Eli Lomita’s Buddy’s Humor, Jose Lezcano; and Richard Bassett’s Nergal, Rene Douglas.