Presious Passion is back at Monmouth Park and ready to defend his title in the Monmouth Stakes on turf this Saturday.
While the crowd will likely see the same old “Presious” style - go to the front and try to improve from there - the race will have two new additions this year, a Grade 3 status and a purse boost from $200,000 to $250,000.
Marking just its third renewal, the Monmouth Stakes was captured in 2008 by champion Big Brown. Last year, Presious Passion used the Monmouth Stakes as a springboard to victory in the Grade 1 United Nations. Trainer Mary Hartmann has indicated that Presious will be looking to do just that again this year.
After scoring Grade 1 wins on both coasts last year, Presious Passion headed into the Breeders’ Cup Turf where he fought gamely to the wire, coming up just a half-length short of Conduit.
Following a win in Gulfstream’s Mac Diarmada (G2) earlier this year, Presious Passion took his front-running show on the road, shipping halfway around the world to Dubai. With a well-watered turf course under his feet, Presious did make the early lead, only to fade in the stretch. The Monmouth Stakes will be his first start since returning from the Emirate.
While he’s not likely to find company on the front-end early, Presious Passion will have plenty of competition looking to run him down late in the Monmouth Stakes. Among the competitors are graded stakes winners Get Serious, Baletti, Al Khali and Blues Street.
The field for the mile and eighth Monmouth Stakes, from the rail out with rider assignments, is:
1. Get Serious (Pablo Fragoso)
2. Baletti (Cornelio Velasquez)
3. Forgotten Dynasty (Eddie Castro)
4. Dynamoor (C. H. Marquez Jr.)
5. Pleasant Strike (Chris DeCarlo)
6. Presious Passion (Elvis Trujillo)
7. Al Khali (Mike Luzzi)
8. Blues Street (David Cohen)
9. Roman Tiger (Joe Bravo)