W. L. McKnight H. (gr. II)

(gr. IIT , 12f ,)

PRESIOUS PASSION (CH g, 116 lb) $115,320
Royal Anthem —Princesa's Passion , by Marquetry
B—Helen Barbazon, FL.; O—Patricia A. Generazio; T—Mary Hartmann

Stream of Gold (IRE) (B g, 118 lb) $37,200
Rainbow Quest —River Dancer (IRE) , by Irish River (FR)
B—Ballymacoll Stud Farm Ltd., IRE.; O—Zabeel Racing International, Corp; T—Kiaran P. McLaughlin

Kiss the Kid (DK B/ h, 114 lb) $18,600
Lemon Drop Kid —Black Tie Kiss , by Danzig
B—Jayeff B Stables, KY.; O—Amy Tarrant; T—Amy Tarrant

Margins: 1¼, ½, neck. Others: Dave 116($9,300) , Revved Up 120($5,580) , Bee Charmer (IRE) 115($2,000) , Royal Challenger 117($2,000) , Soldier's Dancer 116($2,000) , Interpatation 115($2,000) , Dreadnaught 116($2,000) , Crown Point 116($2,000) , Bob's Proud Moment 113($2,000) . Winning Jockey, Elvis Trujillo.

Not much gets a racing crowd buzzing like a longshot winner in a big race. Presious Passion did his part to get hearts skipping as he crossed the wire 11¼4 lengths the best in Calder Race Course’s W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at 67-1.

Going 11¼2 miles on the turf, Presious Passion faced 11 rivals as the second-longest shot on the board. The 4-year-old gelding was never out of touch with the leaders throughout the $200,000 marathon contest. He collared the frontrunners while three wide at the quarter pole before edging clear late.

Presious Passion has made news before. The Mary Hartmann trainee captured the Cliff Hanger Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Meadowlands in September and had set a course record in winning the Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park in 2006. The $115,320 first-place purse of the McKnight boosted his earnings to more than $370,000.

“He’s run against and beaten good horses before,” said Hartmann, a former assistant to J.J. Crupi. “He can go shorter or longer. We’ll just wait and see what comes up when he’s ready to run again, probably at Gulfstream.”

Joseph and Helen Barbazon bred Presious Passion at their Pleasant Acres Farm near Morriston, Fla. The two-time graded winner is the first foal out of the Marquetry mare Princesa’s Passion. Although the mare went through the 2001 Fasig-Tipton Florida February 2-year-olds in training sale, she never raced and was bred by the Barbazons the next year to Royal Anthem. That mating resulted in Presious Passion.

The son of Princesa’s Passion caught owner Patricia A. Generazio’s eye during a farm visit and she quickly bought the big, flashy chestnut. Pleasant Acres’ biggest client is Generazio, who previously raced graded winners Concorde’s Gold, Don Six, and Unreal Turn.

The Barbazons still have two half-sisters to the McKnight winner: a yearling Trippi filly named Just Livin a Dream and a weanling Exchange Rate filly. Plans currently call for the couple to race both.

Princesa’s Passion is barren to Theatrical, the sire of Royal Anthem, for 2008. She is scheduled to visit Medaglia d’Oro next spring.

A group/grade I winner in three countries, Royal Anthem is the sire of seven added-money winners. His other 2007 stakes winner is Divine Fortune (NSA-IIR). After standing six seasons at Hopewell Farm near Midway, Ky., he relocated to Tullogher House Stud in Ireland for 2007, where he stands as a steeplechase stallion.—J.W.