Harold Queen's homebred Sheer Drama finally got a clean trip over the Gulfstream Park dirt course and showed what she's capable of unencumbered in the $200,000 Royal Delta Stakes (gr. II) March 21 (VIDEO).
After troubled, bumped starts in her last two races at Gulfstream—the Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff Stakes Jan. 17 and the Rampart (gr. III) Feb. 21—the 5-year-old Burning Roma mare got out of the gate in the Royal Delta without issue Saturday, tracked early leaders then took over for a commanding 6 1/2-length victory.
It was her first graded stakes victory and redemptive, after finishing behind House Rules in the Rampart last time out. House Rules, the favorite at 4-5 odds, was the horse to get bumped out of the gate Saturday, and finished a far-back second, with Molly Morgan two lengths back in third.
Bred in Florida out of Notebook mare Riveting Drama, Sheer Drama sat two lengths behind early pacesetter Swinger's Party after a opening quarter-mile in :24.35, then moved up a length after a half-mile in :48.02 before taking command at the seven-sixteenths pole. She covered six furlongs, with a 1 1/2-length lead, in 1:11.93, before pulling away steadily in the stretch.
The chestnut mare covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.85 over Gulfstream's dirt course rated fast.
"She really ran a big race today," winning jockey Joe Bravo said. "The extra distance, she just loved it. She just kept accelerating through the lane. ... When we left the top of the lane, she just kept punching underneath me."
Sheer Drama paid $8.00, $3.40, and $2.40 across the board. House Rules delivered $2.60 and $2.20. Molly Morgan returned $3 to show.
"Today was one of the best races I've seen from her so far," trainer David Fawkes said. "She just did everything we asked her to today and it was just no competition."
The winning mare improved her career earnings to $372,840 and increased her lifetime record to 4-6-1 from 15 career starts.
Oasis At Midnight got up to finish fourth and was followed by Tiz Windy, Swinger's Party, and Flores Island to complete the order of finish.