10/12/2009 12:00AM

Presious Passion leads Hirsch every step

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Benoit & Associates
Presious Passion comes off the final turn en route to his fourth stakes win of the year in the Grade 1 Hirsch.

ARCADIA, Calif. - It was not as flashy as the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap back in July, but the objective was achieved with Presious Passion in Sunday's $300,000 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita.

The quirky 6-year-old gelding led throughout the Grade 1 race to record his fourth stakes win of the year and move closer to a start in the Breeders' Cup Turf here on Nov. 7.

In the U.N., Presious Passion led by as many as 20 lengths and hung on to win by two lengths. In the Hirsch Championship, he led by as many as six and won by 2 1-2 lengths over Medici Code.

Even though the margin dwindled in the final half-mile, trainer Mary Hartmann was not concerned in the final half-mile.

"It definitely looked like the tank wasn't empty," Hartmann said.

Ridden by regular rider Elvis Trujillo, Presious Passion ($4.60) set an early pace of 24.30 and 47.55 seconds. The victory was his first start since an eighth-place finish in the Arlington Million in August.

"This sets him up well for the Breeders' Cup," Hartmann said.

Medici Code, who has now placed in three turf marathons this year, finished three-quarters of a length in front of Spring House, who was seeking his fourth turf marathon graded stakes win of the year in California. Spring House was last of eight on the backstretch and closed well through the stretch.

Presious Passion ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 1:59.13, a distance that is on the lower range of his ideal trip, Hartmann said.

"I like him better over a mile and three-eighths or a mile and a half," she said. "I think he's better than ever."

Owned by Patricia Generazio, Presious Passion, a 6-year-old gelding, has won 13 of 41 starts and $2,032,018.