07/10/2008 11:00PM

U.N. winner has Florida roots


He’s no John Henry, not yet. But with age have come riches and honors. The 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding sports the unusual name of Presious Passion. In the past seven months, the son of Royal Anthem, racing in the colors of Patricia Generazio, has won the Grade 3 William L. McKnight Handicap at Calder Race Course, the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream, and this past Saturday he added the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth

In this era of limited distance racing, Presious Passion is a throwback to the old days when there was no shortage of mature racehorses who could run all day. Presious Passion thrives on distance and loves the turf. The United Nations was his 29th start. He has 8 wins, 4 seconds and 2 thirds, with earnings of $935,028.

Patricia Generazio and her husband, Frank, are longtime clients of the breeders of Presious Passion. Joe Barbizon, who bred Presious Passion with his wife, Helen, said: “I spoke with Frank, and right now they are leaning towards the Breeders’ Cup Turf.”

Barbizon was quick to add that the Generazios are well aware that the Breeders’ Cup Turf is a whole different ballgame when it comes to the competition.

The Barbizons own the dam, Princesa’s Passion, who has a 2-year-old filly, Just Livin a Dream, in training at Monmouth. A Trippi filly, she will race for the Generazios. There’s a yearling by Exchange Rate who was sold privately to Padua Stable, and the 9-year-old mare is believed in foal to Medaglia d’Oro. She has no foal at foot in ’08.

The Ocala branch of the Barbizon family has roots that lead to a Louisiana clan of horsemen who, as with most who raced in that area, catered to speed over stamina. Marathons are not emphasized in Cajun country.

Joe and Helen Barbizon, however, have not limited their breeding program to speed. A look at the family of Presious Passion shows that while his sire Marquetry is from a middle-distance line of Mr. Prospector, the next three dams are by such sources of stamina as Sunshine Forever, Upper Nile (second in the U.N. in 1978), and Arctic Prince. It’s the family of Bemo, winner of the 1977 United Nations.

The great John Henry won only one graded stakes in his first three years of racing. All that changed at the age of 5 in 1980 when he won eight graded stakes, four of which were Grade 1. No one ranks Presious Passion with John Henry. Not yet, but it appears this Florida-bred is on the right track.

First-crop success

Florida’s first-crop sires were not only quick off the mark, they are succeeding by the numbers. Hartley DeRenzo/Walmac South’s Roar of the Tiger, the full brother to Giant’s Causeway, had 6 winners from 20 starters going into the weekend, ranking him third nationally in money won by his get. Sixth nationally and third in Florida is the Vinery’s Peace Rules, who had 4 winners from 17 starters, including one stakes winner.

Florida stallions who have made the first-crop winners list include Hidden Point Farm’s Gimmeawink, the Vinery’s Werblin, Lambholm South’s Alysweep, Bridlewood Farm’s Black Mambo, and Hartley DeRenzo’s City Place.

City Place, by Storm Cat, stands for $5,000. He did not race. His pedigree of Storm Cat on top and the millionaire and Grade 1 winner Glitter Woman on the bottom rung of his pedigree was enough to give him his chance at stud. There are 31 in his first crop, 4 have started and 2 have won, including stakes-placed Glitter City. Standing alongside of City Place at Hartley DeRenzo is the first-crop sire Werblin, by Unbridled Song. He has 19 in his first crop. Whisper By Me is his first winner from five starters.

Gimmeawink is by Elusive Quality. He was purchased for stud by Peter Rosbeck to stand at Hidden Point Farm. A competitive racehorse, Gimmeawink earned over $500,000 while winning six stakes as a 3-year-old and placing second in the Pennsylvania Derby. There are 55 in his first crop, which is represented by the winner Wink at Richie.

Alysweep, a graded-stakes-winning son of End Sweep, was well received at this year’s 2-year-olds in training sales, where his get averaged nearly 15 times his $2,500 stud fee. His first crop numbers 19, and his only starter, Sweep to Glory, is a winner.