11/27/2010 2:37PM

Presious Passion will try McKnight again


MIAMI – The weights are out for next Saturday’s Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap, and among the trio of horses at the top of the list under 120 pounds is the multiple Grade 1 winner Presious Passion. But even though trainer Mary Hartmann briefly considered running him in the race, she has opted to take the more conservative and logical route and wait two more weeks for the Grade 3 W.L. McKnight Handicap on Dec. 18.

Presious Passion will be making his fourth appearance in the 1 1/2-mile McKnight. He won the race in 2007 and 2008 but lost a chance for a three-peat a year ago when he got involved in a suicidal speed duel. That was no fault of his own or jockey Elvis Trujillo but came about after the then-inexperienced apprentice Luis Saez sent his mount, Mr. Livingston, from the gate to the wire the first time around thinking the race was only five furlongs.

“It was unfortunate what happened last year, but that’s racing,” Hartmann said recalling the 2009 McKnight on Saturday.

Presious Passion has started just five times this year, his lone victory coming in his 2010 debut when he successfully defended his title in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park. That performance earned him a trip to Dubai for the rich Sheema Classic, but a soft turf course took Presious Passion out of his best game and resulted in a 16th-place finish.

“In retrospect, if I had to do it all over, I wouldn’t have gone if I’d known they were going to saturate the turf course to soften it up like they did,” said Hartmann. “That just wasn’t playing fairly.”

Presious Passion has failed to hit the board in three starts since returning from Dubai, his last try a ninth-place finish in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Sycamore on Oct. 21.

“I actually kept him on a private farm a friend of mine owns near Monmouth Park this past summer,” said Hartmann. “Right now he’s doing great. Physically he’s never looked as good. He’s never carried as much weight. I even toyed with the idea of running him in both races here, but in the end just decided to wait and go into the McKnight.”

Hartmann said Presious Passion is scheduled to have his first official workout since arriving in south Florida either Monday or Tuesday at Gulfstream Park.

Tropical Turf field still up in the air

Calder’s racing secretary, Mike Anifantis, said that off the three horses weighted at 120 pounds, only Never on Sunday is presently confirmed for the Tropical Turf.

“I haven’t heard yet from Ian Black regarding the status of Rahy’s Attorney,” said Anifantis.

Others Anifantis says he expects to start in the nine-furlong Tropical Turf include Baletti (117), Mambo Meister (117), Banrock (116), Bim Bam (116), Boots Ahead (115), Vanquisher (115), Midnight Mischief (114), Tannsersville (114), El Kingdom (113) and Souper Spectacular (113).