06/24/2011 3:29PM

Monmouth Park: Presious Passion heading to farm

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Bob Coglianese
Presious Passion is being given a 30- to 60-day break at a farm.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Presious Passion no longer had the heart for training, so he is off to the farm to see if a vacation rekindles his enthusiasm for racing.

The star of Mary Hartmann’s barn will get a 30- to 60-day break, starting Monday.

The decision to lay up the 8-year-old gelding takes him out of consideration for the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes on July 2, a race the turf star captured in 2008 and 2009.

At his best, Presious Passion was a high-wire act, a front-runner who opened up massive early leads and defied the odds by holding off the closers.

He almost pulled that off in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf, barreling out to a 10-length lead before yielding to a determined Conduit by only a half-length.

Presious Passion last ran in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita in January, where he led early before fading to fifth.

Back at Monmouth, he had three workouts and seemed on target for a United Nations return. And then he lost interest.

“There is nothing physically the matter with him.” Hartmann said. “He needs to clear his head. He was coming up to the U.N., and then he didn’t want to train any more. He’s just not right. We’ll see if the farm does the trick.”

It will be a short journey. Presious Passion is headed to Wellspring Farm in nearby Colts Neck.

There is the possibility that Presious Passion will decide farm living agrees with him and that his racing days are over.

“He might not want to do it anymore,” Hartmann said. “Then he can retire. He’s got nothing left to prove.”

Presious Passion has run 50 times, with a record of 14-7-2 and earnings of $2,691,099.

The likely United Nations lineup, according to stakes coordinator Dan Dufford, includes defending champion Chinchon, the mare Belle Watling, Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Eldaafer, Sanagas, Sleepless Knight, Stacelita, and Teaks North, winner of the Monmouth Stakes.

No set plans for Breen’s top pair

Trainer Kelly Breen reports both Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice and Pegasus winner Pants On Fire are in good order following their recent wins.

Co-owner George Hall said after the Pegasus last weekend that the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, Monmouth’s premier event on July 31, is a prime objective. Whether one, or both, will target the Haskell remains to be determined.

“Both are doing good, both have been back to the track,” Breen said. “I’ll wait to hear from the Halls, and we’ll go over who is doing what. The next race, right now, looks so far away. We’ll wait to see how they're training and what races we’re going to point for.”

Most importantly for Pants On Fire, there was no repeat of the bleeding that compromised him in the Kentucky Derby.

“That was all fine,” Breen said.

Plans are more definitive for Nacho Saint, third last weekend in the Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town. He is heading for the Long Branch Stakes on July 9, Monmouth’s traditional Haskell prep.

“It’s hard to say if he didn’t like the track,” Breen said of Nacho Saint. “It was a little slick. The saddle towel came back covered in red clay. It was his first time on a bull ring, and he didn’t handle the turns as good as he needed to.”

Clark Lane had heat exhaustion

While Pants On Fire was winning the Pegasus, Clarke Lane was struggling at the back of the five-horse field. The recent addition to Justin Sallusto’s barn raced erratically and had to be pulled up.

“He washed out completely in the paddock, like somebody turned the faucet on him,” Sallusto said. “I believe he may have had a touch of heat exhaustion. He ran like a horse that was suffering from that. It could have been circumstances, the heat or whatever. We’ve done a couple of things to address it. So far, he’s responded, and we won’t have that problem again.”

It was a stunning development for Sallusto.

“He had worked as well for that race as any horse I’ve had in my life,” he said. “I was really very, very high on him.”

Ever Always retired after injury

Ever Always, who broke down in the Open Mind Stakes last weekend, has been retired, trainer Jason Servis said. She suffered her first career defeat in the race.

“It’s a big blow, but it’s part of the game,” Servis said.

Knee problems limited her to only five starts. The final injury was a torn tendon.

“She looked like she was coming back gangbusters,” Servis said.

◗ Apprentice jockey David Lopez lit up the toteboard with his first winner as I Did It His Way paid $113 in the fourth race Friday. Lopez is the son of longtime Monmouth rider Chuckie Lopez, who is closing in on his 4,000th career win.