Big Drama Earns a Flashy Smile Sprint Victory

Big Drama Earns a Flashy Smile Sprint Victory
Photo: Jim Lisa Photos
Big Drama flies home in the Smile Sprint Handicap.

Favored Big Drama dominated the $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) to cap a grand day for owner/breeder Harold L. Queen on Summit of Speed day at Calder Casino & Race Course July 10.

The 4-year-old Big Drama's half brother, Little Drama, won the $100,000 Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes for 2-year-olds a couple of races earlier on the program for Queen (VIDEO) . The winners are out of the Notebook mare Riveting Drama. Trainer David Fawkes teamed with jockey Eibar Coa for both victories.

The news gets better for the connections of the millionaire Big Drama, who earned a starting berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) with the Smile Sprint triumph. Big Drama, who is by Montbrook, has won both of his starts in 2010, taking the Ponche Handicap by nearly four lengths at Calder June 12 as a tune-up.

“He’s grown up since last year," Fawkes said of Big Drama. "He’s a bigger, stronger horse. We’ll keep him sprinting and hope to get him to the Breeders’ Cup (Sprint). He’ll probably run once at Saratoga, and we’ll see where we are at that time (whether to run again).”

Carrying top weight of 121 pounds, Big Drama was rated confidently in third on the outside by Coa, who won his 4,000th career race a night earlier at Monmouth Park. On a fast track, Go Go Shoot led the 12-horse field through swift early splits of :21.68 and :44.94, but he was unable to shake off the pressing Taqarub, who challenged on the turn. Big Drama, though, advanced smoothly while three wide approaching the quarter pole and soon got the lead.

Big Drama opened huge advantage over Taqarub in the lane but was extended late when Mambo Meister, ridden by Manoel Cruz, closed impressively far out on the track. Big Drama, under slight right-handed urging, got under the wire 1 1/2 lengths clear in a time of 1:10.93. Mambo Meister, who rallied from 10th after a half-mile, was second by 3 1/4 lengths over the stalking How's Your Halo, who could not match strides with Juan Leyva aboard.

“He certainly ran the way I expected him to run today," Coa said. "That last race in the Ponche set him up perfectly, and Mr. Fawkes has him right where he needs to be at this point. I know this horse quite well, and he feels as good as ever.”

Sent off as the 9-5 choice, Big Drama earned his first graded stakes win since taking the Boyd Gaming's Delta Jackpot Stakes (gr. III) at Delta Downs in December 2008. The dark bay or brown colt earned $201,810 for his eighth lifetime win in 13 starts. He has now banked $1,459,560.

Big Drama paid $5.60, $4.20 and $3.40 and keyed a $32.40 exacta.

LIttle Drama, who is poised to follow in his older sibling's steps to challenge in this summer's Florida Stallion Stakes series, which Big Drama swept in 2008, is by Burning Roma.

Calder-loving Mambo Meister, coming off back-to-back grade III victories over the track, returned $6 and $4.80. The 5-year-old King Cugat gelding now has a 9-3-3 record in 16 lifetime starts at the South Florida track.

The 73-1 shot How's Your Halo, who ran a distant fourth in the Ponche last time out, was $18.20 to show. He completed a $566.40 trifecta.

It was 2 1/4 lengths to Taqarub, who was followed by Snapshot, Congressional Page, Causeway's Kin, Sincero, Not for Silver, Gato Go Win, Golden Spikes and Go Go Shoot. Rusty Charlie scratched.
 

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