06/16/2009 11:00PM

Presious Passion moving on to the U.N.


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Presious Passion showed heart and determination in winning the Monmouth Stakes on Saturday.

More importantly, the 6-year-old gelding showed trainer Mary Hartmann he is ready for a title defense in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes on the turf, July 4 at Monmouth Park.

Seemingly about to fade on the final turn after holding a commanding early lead, Presious Passion battled back to pull out a nose victory.

"He looked beat," Hartmann said. "He came out of it in good shape, ate up."

Presious Passion overcame a course softer than he prefers and a distance considerably shorter than the 1 3/8 miles in the U.N.

"It was all him," Hartmann said. "He just likes to run and he's got a big heart."

Hartmann does not plan to work Presious Passion between now and the U.N., unless the gelding sends a signal.

"If he starts acting like he wants to breeze, we will," Hartmann said. "He lets you know what he wants to do."

Chirac plans to skip Salvator Mile

Chirac took a big leap forward Saturday, winning the $70,000 Skip Away for his first stakes victory. It appears he will pause at this level.

The 4-year-old gelding trained by Jane Cibelli earned a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure while extending his winning streak to two.

The Skip Away is the prep for the Grade 3 Salvator Mile here on July 4. The Salvator looks like too much, too soon for Cibelli.

"That would be a reach," Cibelli said of the Salvator. "It all comes down to the time. The Salvator Mile is very tough. He just won an overnight stakes and then he'd be back in three weeks."

Cibelli will skip the Salvator, waiting instead for the $100,000 Majestic Light Stakes here Aug. 2 at 1 1/16 miles.

"If he wins that, then we can think about going graded," Cibelli said.

Get Serious may go back to turf

John Forbes and Pat McBurney share the training of Get Serious, and they are contemplating shifting the gelding back to the turf.

They debated running Get Serious in the Monmouth Stakes last Saturday, but the quality of the competition convinced them the Skip Away was a more realistic option, even though it meant a shift back to dirt.

Get Serious came close to erasing the Monmouth course record for one mile on the turf in his Elkwood Stakes victory May 23. He had run solid dirt races in the past, including a dominant victory in the slop in the Alysheba Stakes last November at the Meadowlands.

Get Serious couldn't duplicate that effort in the Skip Away. After bobbling at the break, he pressed the pace before fading to last in the five-horse field as the 2-1 favorite.

"He was just not the same horse on dirt as he was on turf," McBurney said. "The fractions were soft, and he was right there, so I think we'll stick to the turf."

Upcoming options include a New York-bred grass stakes at Belmont Park or Saratoga, or the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes here Aug. 2. Remaining at Monmouth might be the best option for the sometimes ornery horse.

"We always look at the New York races, but Get Serious is so hard-headed that he sometimes gets upset in the security barn," McBurney said. "With the Oceanport, we can just walk right over."

* Longtime jockey agent Kevin Lyons was hospitalized Tuesday and is undergoing tests at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, N.J. His past client roster includes Angel Cordero Jr., Chris Antley, Joe Bravo, Stewart Elliott, and Chris DeCarlo.