Patricia Generazio’s 7-year-old Presious Passion worked one mile in 1:40 at Gulfstream Park Feb. 18 in preparation for Gulfstream’s $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (gr. IIIT) at 1 3/8 miles on Feb. 28. Presious Passion won last year’s Mac Diarmida for trainer Mary Hartmann.
Presious Passion went on to win last year’s United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park, the Clement Hirsch Stakes (gr. IT) at Santa Anita, and finished second in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita, beaten a half-length by defending winner Conduit.
In his most recent start, Presious Passion checked in fifth in the 12-furlong W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder. The McKnight second-and third-place finishers, Spice Route and Winchester, are also among the 30 nominees to the Mac Diarmida, as are grade I winners Take the Points and Grand Couturier.
Hartmann has indicated that the Mac Diarmida will serve as a tune-up for Presious Passion to go to Dubai for the $5 million Sheema Classic (gr. IT) going 12 furlongs at the new Meydan Race Course on March 27.
The Mac Diarmida is one of four graded stakes to be run at Gulfstream next weekend. The others are the $150,000 Davona Dale (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies, the $100,000 Sabin Stakes (gr. III) for fillies and mares, and the $100,000 The Very One Stakes (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares.
Nancy Mazzoni’s 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner and Eclipse champion She Be Wild is prominent on the Davona Dale nominations list, along with Bickersons and Sassy Image. In their last starts, Bickersons and She Be Wild finished first and fifth, respectively, in the seven-furlong Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) on Jan. 31 at Gulfstream. Sassy Image is looking to make it four stakes wins in a row coming off victories in the Pocahontas Stakes (gr. III), the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II), and the Sweetest Chant Stakes.