12/13/2008 12:00AM

Presious Passion does it again in McKnight


MIAMI - Presious Passion combined his speed with his affinity for the Calder turf course to successfully defend his title in the $150,000 McKnight Handicap, leading throughout to register a two-length decision over Logic Way in the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 event.

Presious Passion was 67-1 when he captured the 2007 McKnight. He went postward a more modest 7-1 on Saturday, but even that price seemed generous considering the fact that the 5-year-old son of Royal Anthem was not only the defending champ but the lone member of the field with a Grade 1 win this season. Presious Passion captured Monmouth Park's Grade 1 United Nations in July.

With Elvis Trujillo aboard on Saturday, Presious Passion was able to control a relatively slow pace over a Calder turf course that appeared firm but was listed as "good" by track officials. Presious Passion repulsed a bid from Picou on the final turn, reopened a clear lead, and was not threatened thereafter. Logic Way outfinished Always First by three-quarters of a length for second. Summer Patriot, the 9-5 favorite, had no rally and finished fifth.

Owned by Patricia Generazio, Presious Passion covered the distance in 2:25.64 - 0.49 of a second faster than last year - and paid $17.20.

"His last two races I could attribute to the ground," said trainer Mary Hartmann, referring to two sixth-place finishes over yielding turf. "He is a Florida-bred and could run in the Sunshine Millions."

The Sunshine Millions Turf will be run at Santa Anita on Jan. 24.

Noe: Yesbyjimminy wins sixth straight

Yesbyjimminy continued his domination of the local sprint set when he rallied to a 2 3/4-length triumph over It's a Bird in the $100,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap. The victory was the sixth in a row for Yesbyjimminy and his fourth straight stakes success.

Yesbyjimminy took up his customary position just off the early pace, set by Flatter Me Blue and tracked closely by How's Your Halo, in the Grade 3 Kenny Noe. Racing three wide throughout, Yesbyjimminy ranged up to engage the leaders near the quarter pole, disposed of How's Your Halo at midstretch, and won going away. It's a Bird, who had also been entered in both the McKnight and the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Jr. Handicap later on the card, rallied extremely wide into the stretch and finished best of all to be second, a head in front of Hypocrite.

Yesbyjimminy was ridden by Elvis Trujillo. Paco Lopez had been aboard the homebred son of Yes It's True in each of his five previous wins, but track officials have barred him from riding here the remainder of the meet.

Yesbyjimminy ran seven furlongs in 1:23.71 over a fast track and paid $5.60.

"I can't say I remember having a horse win six in a row," said Eddie Plesa Jr., who trains Yesbyjimminy for the Trilogy Stables. "Certainly not at this level. It took him a couple of races to find his best stride and get his confidence back earlier this year after surgery."

Plesa said Yesbyjimminy could make his next start in the Sunshine Millions at Santa Anita on Jan. 24.

Hooper: Finallymadeit grabs graded win

Finallymadeit was nearly retired earlier this year following a series of subpar sprint performances. Now he's a graded stakes winner after leading throughout to post a 1 1/4-length victory over Dream Maestro in the $100,000 Hooper Handicap.

Finallymadeit's career turned around after trainer Javier Negrete stretched him back out around two turns on Aug. 3. The homebred son of Concerto, who is owned by the Rolbea Thoroughbred Racing LLC, responded by winning four of his last six starts, including the Band Is Passing Stakes and Carl G. Rose Handicap.

Finallymadeit ($16) is most effective when allowed to get loose on the lead, as he was under jockey Eduardo Nunez almost immediately after the start of the 1 1/8-mile Hooper. With the even-money Gottcha Gold in hot pursuit, Finallymadeit was able to set comfortable fractions, disposed of the favorite after seven furlongs, then had more than enough left to hold safe Dream Maestro through the stretch.

Dream Maestro benefited from a dream trip, hugging the rail much of the way, but he could not make up any appreciable ground on the winner through the final furlong. Actin Good finished another half-length back in third. Gottcha Gold faded badly through the stretch and was a well-beaten fourth.

"We considered retiring him after he didn't run well in a couple of sprints, but then he showed he wanted to go longer, and he's kept going," said Negrete, adding that his next target would be the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24.