06/12/2008 11:00PM

Presious Passion preps for U.N.


Monmouth Park celebrates Father's Day with an 11-race card headlined by a pair of stakes, the $70,000 Battlefield at 1 1/8 miles on the turf and the $60,000 Bernie Dowd Handicap for New Jersey-breds at a mile and 70 yards.

The Battlefield is the final grass prep at Monmouth prior to the meet's premier turf stakes, the Grade 1, $750,000 United Nations at 1 3/8 miles on July 5.

One Battlefield runner likely heading in that direction is Presious Passion.

Winner of the 2006 Jersey Derby, Presious Passion turned into a very successful turf marathoner over the winter, winning a pair of 1 1/2-mile handicaps in Florida at long odds - the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight at Calder and the Grade 3 Pan American at Gulfstream Park.

The Battlefield will be Presious Passion's first race since the Pan American on April 5. At 1 1/8 miles, the Battlefield might be less ground than the 5-year-old Presious Passion now prefers.

Ballonenostrikes is back for another try. He finished in a dead heat for third in last year's Battlefield.

Trueamericanspirit and Cuba, two veteran New Jersey- breds revived by claims earlier this year, square off in the Dowd.

Trainer Bobby Dibona claimed Cuba, 7, for $18,000 at Gulfstream in February. The horse responded with three wins in the four starts since the barn change, including a win over optional claimers locally on the opening weekend.

"He won easily," said DiBona. "He did it on three shoes. After the race, the starter came over to me and handed me a shoe, saying the horse lost it at the gate."

Scott Volk took the 8-year-old Trueamericanspirit for $10,000 at Aqueduct in March. Rested until the start of Monmouth's meet, he won his debut for the new barn for a $25,000 tag, followed by a rallying fourth for $30,000 on May 29.

"The old boy is getting better every day," Volk said. "He had a little bit of rough trip last time, getting boxed in on the rail. It has been a wonderful claim. The horse hit rock bottom and now he's working his way back up again. He's doing good and we're hoping for a great race from him."