09/22/2010 5:48PM

Presious Passion fourth in comeback race

Trainer Mary Hartmann is unsure what's next for Presious Passion, shown after winning the 2009 United Nations, after he finished fourth of six in an optional claimer on Wednesday at Delaware Park.

Presious Passion’s comeback race against token opposition didn’t exactly inspire confidence that the 7-year-old is ready to resume facing top-shelf competition.

Running for the first time since June in an optional claiming race on Wednesday at Delaware Park, Presious Passion finished fourth, beaten nearly 2 1/2 lengths as the 4-5 favorite.

His performance didn’t really answer many questions for trainer Mary Hartmann, who was on hand to watch the 1 1/16-mile race.

"It looks like he needed this race and the breeze," Hartmann said. "We are not sure where we will go next. We are just going to take this one in and go from there."

Presious Passion, who has won 14 of 47 starts and $2.6 million, had made just three previous starts this season. On Feb. 28, he won by 1 1/4 lengths in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park. He followed by running last in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in the United Arab Emirates on March 27. Then, he ran seventh in the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes on June 12 before being sent to a farm in Colts Neck, N.J. for an extended freshening.

Last year, Presious Passion collected 4 wins and 3 seconds in 9 starts, including victories in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch at Santa Anita and the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth, plus a second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November.

Mikoshi, ridden by Fernando Jara for trainer Michael Matz, won Wednesday’s race by a neck and returned $6.60 as the second choice in the field of six. Hugo, with Anna Napravnik, finished second, a nose in front of Silver Eagle. The final time over a firm turf course was 1:40.86, not far from the track record of 1:40.51 set in 2005.