Presious Passion Tops Haskell Undercard

Presious Passion's first start since his game front-running win in the United Nations (gr. IT) one month ago highlights seven stakes races worth a total of $800,000 that support the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Aug. 3.

The locally-based 5-year-old heads a field of nine in the Oceanport Stakes (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles on the Monmouth turf course.

In addition to the Oceanport (12th race on the card) and Taylor Made Matchmaker (10th), each carrying a purse of $150,000, the Haskell Day stakes lineup includes the Jersey Derby (5th), Charles Hess III Handicap (6th), Teddy Drone (8th), Regret (9th) and Lady's Secret (11th). They are worth $100,000 apiece.

Eddie Castro, who guided Presious Passion to a neck victory over the charging Strike a Deal at odds of 13-1 in the July 5 United Nations at Monmouth, has the mount once again. The Royal Anthem gelding is trained by Mary Hartmann and will be shortening up considerably from his 1 3/8-mile journey in the U.N. The chestnut has won four of his 11 starts at the Oceanport distance, however, while amassing a career bankroll of $935,028 for owner Patricia Generazio.

A strong field is entered for the Oceanport, including the classy 8-year-old Silver Tree, a 13-time winner of more than $1.6 million for owner and breeder Peter Vegso. Kent Desormeaux takes over for trainer Bill Mott on Silver Tree, most recently second as the 7-5 choice in the Caesar Rodney at Delaware Park July 13. The 39-race veteran will be making his Monmouth Park debut.

Graded stakes winner Hotstufanthensome, also 8, ran second in the 2006 Oceanport and is coming off an optional claiming win over the course July 3. Buffalo Man, a grade III winner, stretches out after a six-furlong stakes triumph on the Belmont Park inner turf course July 9.

Grade III winners J'ray and Social Queen lead a field of nine entered for the Matchmaker, which is for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. 

Trained by Alan Goldberg for Jayeff B Stables, the locally-based Social Queen won her last start, the Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/16 miles over the course June 14. The 4-year-old Dynaformer filly has won four of her five starts over the Monmouth lawn, having captured the Politely May 26 as well. Jose Lezcano, aboard for both stakes victories and winning at a 25% clip at the meet, has the call.

J'ray has lost five straight since winning the My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder Race Course Dec. 1. The Todd Pletcher-trained 5-year-old Distant View mare is coming off a fifth-place finish when well bet in the All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Colonial June 21. She faded in that race after making a wide bid at the victorious Lady Digby.

Joe Bravo takes over on J'ray, replacing Edgar Prado, who winds up on Waquoit's Love.

Also coming out of the All Along are Eclisse, who ran second, and fourth-place finisher Dancing Band.

Dyna's Lassie has won her only two tries over the Monmouth turf for trainer Douglas Fout, including a half-length victory in the Miss Liberty in her most recent try July 6. 

$150,000 Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 10, 4:31 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Cozzi Capital (KY), 116, Daniel Coa
2. Dancing Band (KY), 116, Eddie Castro
3. J'ray (NY), 116, Joe Bravo
4. Waquoit's Love (MD), 116, Edgar S. Prado
5. Paris Winds (IRE), 116, Kent J. Desormeaux
6. Dyna's Lassie (KY), 118, Carlos H. Marquez, Jr.
7. Eclisse (FR), 116, Elvis Trujillo
8. Social Queen (KY), 118, Jose Lezcano
9. Prop Me Up (FL), 116, Jorge F. Chavez

$150,000 Oceanport Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 12, 5:35 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Gentleman Chester (IL), 118, Jesse M. Campbell
2. Hotstufanthensome (KY), 116, Elvis Trujillo
3. Ruff and Ready (FL), 116, Joe Bravo
4. Silver Tree (FL), 120, Kent J. Desormeaux
5. Giant Wrecker (KY), 116, Jose Lezcano
6. Baron Von Tap (KY), 116, Carlos H. Marquez, Jr.
7. Presious Passion (FL), 123, Eddie Castro
8. Buffalo Man (ON), 120, Edgar S. Prado
9. A. P. Magic (KY), 116, Herb McCauley

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