02/19/2010 12:00AM

Presious Passion gets down to work


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Presious Passion spent his usual 30 to 40 minutes just standing out near the six-furlong gap on Thursday morning with his regular exercise rider Fernando Espinosa aboard, just as he has since returning to his training regimen following a brief hiatus several weeks ago.

But it was obvious Presious Passion's regular routine of open-galloping 1 1/2 miles just before the renovation break each morning was going to be changed on Thursday. A look at the white blinkers he was wearing gave a certain indication that trainer Mary Hartmann intended to give her Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up and multiple Grade 1 winner a rare but much-needed workout, his first since finishing fifth as the 4-5 favorite in Calder's Grade 2 W. L. McKnight Handicap on Dec. 26.

Presious Passion needed a little prodding to finally get moving, but once he did wasted little time dropping down on the rail, breaking off at the five-furlong pole and working a stiff mile in 1:40.06. Presious Passion covered the first half-mile in 50.21 seconds and the second in a quicker 49.85, but was under heavy pressure to keep up that pace around the clubhouse turn and into the backstretch at the end of the drill.

"That's pretty much normal for him," Hartman, said on Friday morning. "When he's out there by himself he tends to lose focus a little, and you have to ask him to work."

Hartmann said Presious Passion remains on target to make his 2010 debut here next Sunday in defense of his title in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at 1 3/8 miles.

"He's been invited to the Dubai Sheema Classic, and we're using the Mac Diarmida as a prep for the race," said Hartman. "But he's going to have to go out and make a good showing next week if he's going to go to Dubai."

Court Vision battling foot issues

Court Vision, who was placed first in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on the disqualification of Take the Points two weeks ago, is unlikely to make next month's Grade 1 Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita because of a freshly bruised right front foot, trainer Rick Dutrow said Friday morning. Court Vision had a bar shoe on that hoof when training Friday morning.

"It's brand-new," Dutrow said. "We had been discussing going out for the Kilroe Mile. We'll have to see now."

Tampa Bay Derby for Odysseus

Odysseus, who was a romping winner of an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs on Wednesday, could return to that track for the Tampa Bay Derby on March 13, according to his trainer, Tom Albertrani.

Odysseus was coming off a maiden win here on Jan. 14 in his second start.

"That was the reason we went there, to try and get a race over the track and hope it was an easy race," Albertrani said at the Palm Meadows training center.

"He also was able to get some two-turn experience. Right now, we're leaning toward the Tampa Bay Derby."

The Tampa Bay Derby is also among the races under consideration for Day of Destiny, trained by Chad Brown. Day of Destiny overcame trouble to defeat maidens going seven furlongs on Feb. 6.

"I'm either going to run him in a one-mile allowance or the Tampa Bay Derby," Brown said. "He ran big last time. He ran twice in three weeks, so I'd like to give him five weeks until his next race."

Another horse who is headed to the Tampa Bay Derby is Tuvia's Force, who finished third in a one-mile allowance race here on Feb. 6 in his first start since a maiden victory last October at Delaware.

"I think we're going to take a shot in the Tampa Bay Derby," said Nick Zito, who trains Tuvia's Force.

Albertus Maximus on road back

It was been a long, hard slog to get Albertus Maximus back to the races. Initially injured one year ago when he went to the Dubai World Cup for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, Albertus Maximus was back in training last fall, then had to be stopped on.

"We gave him a little time off because of a little issue," McLaughlin said earlier this week at Palm Meadows. "He went to Kentucky, but he's coming back in this weekend. We're going to get him ready for Saratoga."

Albertus Maximus was purchased privately following his victory in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Last year, he won the Donn Handicap here before going to Dubai.

Careless Jewel works toward return

Careless Jewel, last year's Alabama Stakes winner, has not raced since she stopped badly in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic. But she worked last weekend at Palm Meadows, and should come around quickly, trainer Josie Carroll said.

"She could run at Keeneland, maybe sooner," Carroll said.

Back to the gate for Afleet Express

Afleet Express has run good races in both his starts, but the starting gate has been a trouble spot. So his trainer, Jimmy Jerkens, worked him a half-mile from the gate at Palm Meadows this week in hopes Afleet Express can take the next step forward in his next start.

Afleet Express won first time out at Aqueduct in December, then was second to unbeaten General Maximus in a first-level allowance here on Jan. 30. He is by Afleet Alex, the winner of the 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman