It is a day late, and I'm very sorry, but here is my belated recognition post for the week. The horse that I'm going to cover today, is actually still racing, and is one of the funnest horses that I have ever watched in my entire life. This horse is Presious Passion.
What I love about this colt is the way he breaks from the gate like he has a rocket strapped to his back. After that it's Adios Amigos, as he opens by double digits on his opponents, challenging them to come and get him, only most of the time they can't. He runs opening fractions like 22, 45, and 1.09, in races that are 10 furlongs and then just keeps going, like the pace was more around 48 seconds for the half instead of 45.
Last year I had only heard of the speed ball gelding a couple of times. I kept hearing about how he would steal the race, running away running insane fractions on the lead. After a couple of races I never heard his name again, until he ran in 2009 as a six year old. Seeing the name pop up again as the winner of the United Nations, curiosity got the better of me and I went to see one of his replays. By the end of it my jaw had dropped down to the floor, I was in complete shock and awe.
In the United Nations, Presious Passion, like usual, broke out of the gate first, but as I watch I saw the animated chestnut, swish his tail a few times, then open up a cavernous lead of 20 lengths. I was floored to see him run his first half in 45 seconds and change then even more astonished to see the six furlongs go in 1.09, with him still running merrily along on the lead.
Approaching the stretch Presious Passion was still in front by ten, and still going! Precious Passion would never stop in that race, going on to win by over three lengths, shattering the track record for 11 furlongs, that had just been set by English Channel, the 07 Breeders Cup Turf winner, two years before!
I was so excited, so interested in Presious Passion, that I actually pulled my mother over to watch the race. Normally seeing run away victories on a dirt track is not all that uncommon, but on turf, where blanket finishes are the norm, and the victory goes to the horse with the fastest closing kick, this kind of a effort was extraordinary. Turf horses just aren't supposed to win by running their competition off their feet early, they win by stalking, then exploding by the rest of the field. In Europe a horse like Presious Passion is used as the pace maker in the race, which is just nothing more than another horse entered to ensure a good pace for his stablemate to run into.
After that race I watched every race of Presious Passion's leading up to this years Breeders Cup. I was disappointed to see the exciting colt catch a watered down turf track in his next outing, in the Arlington Million. He opened up like he did in the United Nations, but the wet track proved to much as he floundered over the surface, quickly retreating to the back of the field. He rebounded in his next start, his last prep for the Breeders Cup Turf, in the Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf. With the scratch of his main competition for lead, Presious Passion was allowed to relax and set relatively easy fractions, for him anyway. The fact that his opponents let him have such an easy lead prove detrimental for them as he accelerated away to an easy victory over the Santa Anita turf course.
All I can remembered being told before the Breeders Cup Turf was that I was nuts to pick Presious Passion. People told me there was no way he could run the way he did and hold off the likes of Spanish Moon, Dar Re Mi, and Conduit going 12 furlong. Well he may not have won, but his performance prove to everyone that he is the real deal. After a quarter mile in 23 flat, it was off to the races for Presious Passion, as he opened up big time and ran his opening half in 45 flat, meaning he ran his second quarter in an insane 22 seconds!
Presious Passion was expected to go to the lead, but no to the extent he was doing in the Turf, which had he won would have been almost a carbon copy of his United Nations. After going six furlongs in 1.09 and 1/5, Precious Passion shortened stride noticeably. To many it may have looked like he was throwing in the towel, but I knew better, know this was only a breather for Presious Passion, so he would be able to withstand the assault he was undertaking from the three big Euros.
Into the stretch they came, Presious Passion was in front, with Conduit, Dar Re Mi, and Spanish Moon lined up like a firing squad about to perform an execution behind him. Presious Passion, wasn't ready to relinquish his lead yet though, as he re broke with only Conduit going with him. For most of the stretch it was an epic neck and neck battle of courage, but in the end Coduit proved to good, wrestling the lead away from the courageous Presious Passion. The final time was 2.23.75, meaning that Presious Passion had a final time close to 2.23.85, giving him a final quarter of 24.13 second. For running as fast as he did early on in the race a final quarter like that is unheard of.
Even as I saw him cross the line half a length behind Coduit in second, I still felt as though Presious Passion had won. He ran a race that would have been worthy of words like legendary and epic had he pulled off the win and even though he didn't win, I still feel that his performance deserves those adjectives. Even in defeat he is a winner, which is why he deserves this recognition.