News & Barn notes

Trainer Mike Dini Hoping Be Here Relishes Extra Distance In Sunday’s 1 1/2-Mile Presious Passion Stakes

September 08, 2023

Monmouth Park has saved the longest race for last as the 51-day meet comes to a close on Sunday, and while it remains uncertain how the field will shake out for the $100,000 Presious Passion at a mile and a half on the turf that day, trainer Mike Dini is looking forward to the added distance for his 5-year-old gelding Be Here.

The Presious Passion drew a field of nine (plus two main track only entrants), though the Chad Brown-trained Rockemperor, the lone graded stakes winner in the field, is cross entered at Woodbine on Saturday in the Grade 3 Pattison Singspiel, a $150,000 stakes race at a mile and quarter on the turf.

Rockemperor has raced in eight straight graded stakes and owns both a Grade 1 and Grade 2 win.

Both of trainer Graham Motion’s Presious Passion entrants are also cross entered in other races on Saturday. Sy Dog is entered in the $150,000 Colonial Cup at 1½ miles on the turf on Saturday at Colonial Downs as well as the $400,000 Grade 2 Turf Cup at a mile and a half at Kentucky Downs that day. The Motion-trained Serifos is cross entered in the Colonial Cup.

In addition, the Michael Trombetta-trained Tiz a Giant, another Presious Passion entrant, is cross entered in the Colonial Cup.

For Dini, the focus is on trying Be Here longer than he has ever gone before. He finished second, beaten a length by Tiberius Mercurious in an allowance at Colonial Downs at a mile and three-sixteenths in his last start.

“I’ve been wanting to try this horse even longer,” said Dini, who claimed the Kentucky-bred son of Ghostzapper for $25,000 three starts ago. “There was no speed in that Colonial Downs race. I knew Mike Maker’s horse (Tiberius Mercurius) would have things his own way.

“But this horse looks like he would run all day if you let him go.”

Owned by Laura Barrish, Be Here shows a 4-1-4 line for 20 career starts. While most of his success has been on the turf, Dini said he would give Be Here another dirt try if the forecasts for a chance of rain hold true and the race surface is switched.

“I would think if it’s off I’ll run him too,” said Dini. “A friend of mine had him in New York and when I claimed him he said I should run him in a dirt stakes race because he trained so well on the dirt.”

Be Here, seeking his first stakes win, will be looking to snap a 13-race losing streak.

“He’s an even going horse,” said Dini. “If you look at him he doesn’t have a lot of speed but he should love the mile and a half. In his last start he didn’t change leads. I would think he will run pretty well in this spot.”

Parking and admission are free for the final two days of the meet.