Presious Passion was the biggest winner during the 50th annual Florida-bred awards banquet March 15. The 7-year-old Royal Anthem gelding was honored as the 2009 Horse of the Year, and he also recognized as the champion turf horse and champion older male during the ceremony, which was conducted by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association at the Hilton hotel in Ocala.
Presious Passion’s breeders, Joseph and Helen Barbazon, were the Florida Breeders of the Year, and the gelding’s owner, Patricia Generazio, was the leading owner of Florida-breds by earnings and stakes wins. Presious Passion’s dam, Princesa’s Passion (by Marquetry), was the Florida Broodmare of the Year.
“I have to pinch myself because he just keeps running and running, and I don’t know when he’s going to stop; I’m just very proud,” Helen Barbazon said.
Presious Passion captured four of his nine races last year and earned $1,524,275. He won the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) for the second year in a row, and he also scored in the Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship (gr. IT), Mac Diarmida (gr. IIT), and Monmouth Stakes. He finished second, beaten only a half-length by Conduit, in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT)
“We all know where he’s going to be in a race, so we don’t have to look for him in the rest of the field because he’s always right out in front,” Generazio said. “When he won the United Nations this year, I thought, ‘Oh my God! He’s 20 lengths in front. What are they doing?’ But when he finished, he was just awesome. In the Breeders’ Cup, needless to say, my knees buckled after the race. I thought I was going to go down, I was so excited. It’s a pleasure to own him, and I really wish that everybody in this room has the opportunity once in their lifetime to have a horse like him.”
Presious Passion has won 14 of his 44 career races while earning $2,666,293. He kicked off his 2010 campaign at Gulfstream Park Feb. 28 by winning the Mac Diarmida for the second year in a row.
“I can’t say enough good things about him,” said Presious Passion’s trainer, Mary Hartmann.
The other 2009 divisional Florida-bred champions were Amen Hallelujah, 2-year-old filly; Bridgetown, 2-year-old male; Hooh Why, 3-year-old filly; Vineyard Haven, 3-year-old male and sprinter; and Dubai Majesty, older female.
Also recognized were Montbrook, Florida Stallion of the Year; Milan Kosanovich, who won the Needles Award; Beth Bayer, who won the Joe O’Farrell Memorial Award; Wildcat Heir, the leading Florida juvenile and freshman sire; Marty Wolfson, the leading Florida trainer of Florida-breds by earnings and the co-leading trainer of Florida-breds by stakes wins; Stanley Gold, the co-leading trainer of Florida-breds by stakes wins; and Kathleen O’Connell, the leading trainer of Florida-breds by wins.