So what would Big Drama do for an encore two months after his Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) win?
Oh, not much. Just a decisive victory in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector (gr. III) (VIDEO) and a new six-furlong track record at Gulfstream Park. Not a bad way to begin the 2011 season for the 5-year-old son of Montbrook, who two days from now will likely be named champion sprinter Monday evening at the Eclipse Awards, and after his four–length triumph Jan. 15 stamped himself as the favorite to earn another one.
With Eibar Coa aboard for trainer David Fawkes, 1-2 favorite Big Drama blitzed through speedy fractions of :22.12 and :44.43 before being confronted by last year’s Mr. Prospector winner, Custom for Carlos, at the top of the lane. Those two dueled for a brief time in upper stretch, but Big Drama switched into another gear approaching the sixteenth-pole and glided to a no-doubt-about-it win in a record time of 1:08.12 over the fast dirt.
"I knew there was very good competition in the field, but I knew they were really going to have to run to beat him today," Coa said. "He’s not playing right now. When he out-broke those horses inside, and they’re fast horses, I just let him go by himself. That horse (Custom for Carlos) made a good move and got next to me, but it wasn’t enough. I knew Big Drama was going to run fast and good. I’m happy he got the track record. He deserves it."
It was the sixth win in seven tries at six furlongs for Big Drama, a homebred of Harold L. Queen. In winning the Mr. Prospector, he avenged a bitter loss in the 2009 Swale Stakes (gr. II) when he crossed the wire first while setting the seven-furlong track record but was disqualified and placed second in his only other start at Gulfstream.
Big Drama’s win was the fourth graded stakes victory of his career and ninth stakes win overall. The Florida-bred has earned $2.699,560 from 17 starts and has failed to hit the board just twice in his brilliant career.
During his 2010 campaign, Big Drama won the Ponche Handicap and Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II)—both at Calder—before his 1 1/2-length Breeders’ Cup score at Churchill Downs. He is out of the Notebook mare Riveting Drama.
"He (Big Drama) showed how good he is," Fawkes said. "He wasn’t even blowing when he came back. Now we’ll keep our fingers crossed until Monday night. The goal for the season is to get back to the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. In the meantime, it’s one race at a time. It’s possible he could run here again, but he will get some breaks as the season goes along, so we’ll see. We don’t have anything planned for his next start right now.”
Custom for Carlos ran very well under Julien Leparoux to finish second despite coming off a nine-month layoff. He was 13 lengths ahead of third-place Our Edge. Peace At Dawn was fourth, followed by Taqarub, and Catalan.
The winner paid $3, $2.10, and $2.10. The exacta (6-1) returned $6.40 and the trifecta (6-1-2) was worth $11.60 for $1.