Harold Queen’s Florida homebred colt Big Drama will make his highly-anticipated 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) to be run at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park Jan. 31, according to trainer David Fawkes.
“He’s been a distance twice and for right now we want to keep him at two turns,” said Fawkes. “I’m going to keep him home at Calder to train for the race, keep everything the same. (Eibar) Coa will ride him back.
“We’ll take things one race at a time, just like we have so far in his career. He’s been right on schedule since the race in Louisiana.”
Big Drama breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 Jan. 4 at Calder, his second work since capturing the $750,000 Delta Jackpot (gr. III) at Delta Downs Dec. 5.
Big Drama has won five straight races after a third-place debut at Calder July 12. The son of Montbrook swept the three ‘open’ divisions of Calder’s Florida Stallion Stakes series before the trip to Louisiana where he won the 1 1/16 miles Delta Jackpot by a length over West Side Bernie.
George and Lori Hall’s West Side Bernie is also training toward his 3-year-old debut in South Florida at Palm Meadows where he worked a ‘bullet’ five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 Jan. 3 for trainer Kelly Breen. The son of Bernstein finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 25, beaten only three lengths for it all by Midshipman, prior to his good effort in the Delta Jackpot.
Tale of Ekati to make 2009 debut at Gulfstream
Charles Fipke’s multiple Grade I winner Tale of Ekati posted his latest workout Jan. 8 at Gulfstream Park ahead of a planned 2009 debut in the $150,000 Richter Scale Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 14.
Trainer Barclay Tagg says the seven-furlong sprint will be the jumping off point for a trip to Dubai and the $1 million Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) March 28 on the Dubai World Cup undercard.
“He’s got two goals at this point,” said Tagg. “We’ve filled out the paper work to go to Dubai. We could also stay in the states and point to the Met Mile, and we would use the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II, March 14) to get there, but for now we’re looking at Dubai.”
A 4-year-old Kentucky homebred, Tale of Ekati exits a controversial victory in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct Nov. 29 when he was placed first after the disqualification of Harlem Rocker. He also won the Wood Memorial (gr. I) last spring at Aqueduct before finishing a respectable fourth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) behind Big Brown.
The latest workout was Tale of Ekati’s second this year after a break in December. Clockers caught the son of Tale of the Cat breezing a half-mile in :48 4/5.
Tagg is also in the familiar position of training a top 3-year-old prospect in Elizabeth Valando’s Hello Broadway. The runner-up in the Nashua Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Nov. 2 is training for his season debut in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 30.
That seven-furlong race would be the start of a three-race progression winding through the one-mile Fountain of Youth (gr. II) on Feb. 28 and the Florida Derby (gr. I) on March 28.
“I’d prefer to get him three races and then have five weeks to get ready for the (Kentucky) Derby,” said Tagg. “He’s a big, strong, good-looking horse and developing nicely.”