HOT SPRINGS, Ark. &ndash; Yankee Passion will launch what could be a very productive 3-year-old season in Thursday&rsquo;s eighth race at Oaklawn Park.\r\n&ldquo;We&rsquo;re pretty high on him,&rdquo; said his trainer, Larry Jones.\r\nYankee Passion heads a field of eight 3-year-olds in the $50,000 optional claiming sprint that carries first-level allowance conditions. Others in the six-furlong race include Philippe, a half-brother to Grade 2 winner T.D. Vance, and Mastman, a romping winner against Illinois-bred maidens at Hawthorne for trainer Jamie Ness.\r\nYankee Passion has raced twice, with both starts coming at Delaware Park. He won his career debut on Aug. 3, then advanced to a first-level optional claimer on Aug. 26. Yankee Passion stalked the pace in the six-furlong race and finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length.\r\n&ldquo;The horse he was second to last time out, Star Zapper, went on to stakes after that,&rdquo; noted Jones. &ldquo;But our horse, he shin-bucked and has not raced since. But he&rsquo;s ready to go now.&rdquo;\r\nStar Zapper finished third in the $100,000 Juvenile at Charles Town and fourth in the $75,000 Dover at Delaware Park. Yankee Passion, meanwhile, shows some nice local works for his return, among them a near bullet five-furlong move in 1:01.20, the second fastest of 70 works at the distance Jan. 7.\r\nYankee Passion is a candidate to move to two turns, said Jones.\r\n&ldquo;He&rsquo;s out of a Pleasant Colony mare,&rdquo; Jones said. &ldquo;And he acts like he&rsquo;ll run on. He looks a little more sprinty and can sprint, but he&rsquo;ll stretch out, this horse.&rdquo;\r\nGabriel Saez has the mount on Yankee Passion, a son of Yankee Gentleman who races for his breeder, Brereton Jones. The horse will break from post 2.\r\nPhilippe wired a maiden special weight field at six furlongs at Turfway in his most recent start Dec. &nbsp;4. He has been flattered since, with two horses from the race coming back to win maiden special weights, Taptowne at Turfway, and Jacob&rsquo;s Lighthouse at Oaklawn.\r\nCalvin Borel has the mount on Philippe for trainer Jimmy Baker.\r\n◗ Mambo Fever, who last year was third in the Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park, makes her second start since March in the ninth, a first-level allowance for fillies and mares. Jeremy Rose has the mount for trainer Tony Dutrow.