Harold L. Queen’s homebred Big Drama took the lead at the break and never looked back en route to a 1 1/2-length victory in the$1,818,000 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6.
Ridden by regular jockey Eibar Coa for trainer David Fawkes, Big Drama went right to the front from his rail post and set fractions of :21.34, :44.58 and :56.42 while being pursued by Cash Refund and Atta Boy Roy . While the leader continued to prevail down the stretch, his pursuers backed up as he went on to complete the three-quarters of a mile in 1:09.05.
The victory by the Florida-bred son of Montbrook--Riveting Drama, by Notebook, was the first in a Breeders’ Cup race for Queen, Fawkes, and Coa.
“I wanted him off the rail and he (Coa) floated him off the rail," Fawkes said. "He did everything perfectly. He went wire-to-wire; how about that?"
“We weren’t happy about the post position, so we knew we had to work on that," Coa said. "But on our side was the fact that he always gets out of the gate good and has speed to get good position. Today, he broke sharp and we got the lead and kept going. He did everything on his own to the stretch. When the rest started coming to me, he just pushed harder and won.”
Hamazing Destiny, under Joel Rosario, ran second by a neck, followed by Smiling Tiger . Big Drama returned $12.40, $7, and $5. The runner-up paid $19.80 and $12.20, Smiling Tiger, who edged fast-closing Supreme Summit by a head for third, was worth $5.80.
Vosburgh (gr. I) winner Girolamo, the 4-1 favorite in the field of 12, gave way along the inside after a half-mile and finished 11th.
Just beyond the finish line, Atta Boy Roy was pulled up by jockey Calvin Borel. Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith, the on-call veterinarian from the American Association of Equine Practitioners, said the injury was a minor problem to the suspensory ligament. He later reported that there was no suspensory injury and that Atta Boy Roy sustained a superficial wound at the skin level.
The 4-year-old Big Drama had been on the Triple Crown trail of 2009 following victories in the Delta Downs Jackpot (gr. IIIT) and Swale Stakes (gr. II). Sidelined for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), he returned to finish fifth in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). This year, Big Drama has raced only at sprint distances of six and seven furlongs, with three wins and two seconds in five attempts.
“Our plan was always to sprint him, but we wanted to take advantage of his three-year-old season and the Triple Crown races," Fawkes said of Big Drama's sophomore campaign. "After his layoff (from August 2009 to June 2010), that's when we started to sprint him. I was pretty confident in him after his last work at Calder. Calder is a deeper, more tiring track.”
Pior to the Sprint, Big Drama finished second in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt and Forego, both grade I events at Saratoga. The Breeders' Cup victory, worth $1,080,000, boosted Big Drama's earnings to $,639,560.