01/01/2010 12:00AM

Sunshine Millions next for Presious Passion


Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up Presious Passion returned to the track Friday for the first time since his fifth-place finish the previous Saturday in Calder's Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap. As usual, Presious Passion was full of himself during training hours while looking none the worse for wear from his experience in the McKnight.

"Just put a line through that last one," said trainer Mary Hartmann. "I know he got pushed along early by another horse over at Calder, but I don't think that's what messed him up. I think the turf was just softer than I originally thought it was and that's just not his favorite surface. He's doing fine, and if all goes well he'll come back in the Sunshine Millions Turf here later this month."

The biggest name on the workout tab here Friday was that of Buddy's Saint, who celebrated his birthday by working an easy half-mile in 50.40 seconds for trainer Bruce Levine. Buddy's Saint, among the top 3-year-old prospects on the grounds this winter, is not expected to make his local debut until the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 20.

Aid pours in to backstretch workers

Although there are few visible signs left of the flooding that devastated half the barn area at Gulfstream on Dec. 18, many trainers and backstretch workers are still recovering from the flood, which destroyed thousands of dollars of personal property and equipment.

Among those who came to the aid of the victims in their time of need was horse owner Dean Reeves, who donated 40 new mattresses to backstretch employees; John Evans, the manager of the Coral Springs Whole Foods Store, who donated care packages of toiletries to grooms and hotwalkers; track chaplain Tom Lapointe, who helped feed and clothe anyone forced out of their rooms by the storm; and stall superintendent Stacey Gunderman, who put in countless hours locating stalls for horses, rooms for grooms and helping distribute the beds and care packages to those in need.

Other major contributors included Gulfstream Park, which donated $20,000, and Calder, which donated $5,000.

Former trainer dies at 87

William J. Sacco, 87, the leading trainer at Monmouth Park in 1962, died Thursday in Aventura, Fla.

Sacco is the father of trainers Gregory and Richard Sacco, both of whom have stables at Gulfstream for the 2010 meet. Greg Sacco trains for Hialeah Park owner John J. Brunetti, while Richard Sacco conditioned a private stable for William C. Schettine.

The elder Sacco took out his first trainer's license in 1943, at the age of 21, in Maryland. An accomplished polo player, he also served as an association steward at Hialeah up to his retirement from racing in 2001.

A viewing will be held at Damiano's Funeral Home in Long Branch, N.J. on Wednesday. The funeral will be held Jan. 7 at Woodbine Cemetery in Oceanport, N.J.