04/30/2009 11:00PM

Big decision for Big Drama


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Big Drama will make his next start in either the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Derby or the Preakness, with a course of action to be decided after he works at his Calder base on Monday, trainer David Fawkes said.

The Lone Star Derby, at 1 1/16 miles, will be run May 9, while the Grade 1, $1 million Preakness is at Pimlico on May 16.

Big Drama figures to be the favorite if he goes in the Lone Star Derby following his performance in the Grade 2 Swale at Gulfstream Park. He finished first in the seven-furlong race - running the distance in track-record time of 1:20.80 - but was disqualified and placed second for interference in the stretch. Big Drama earned a career-best Beyer Figure of 108.

"He's doing super good," Fawkes said Friday. "We'll work him Monday morning, then make a decision whether it's Lone Star or the Preakness."

Fawkes said Eibar Coa, who was aboard Big Drama in the Swale and for his win in the Grade 3, $750,000 Delta Jackpot back in December, would breeze Big Drama.

Lone Star stakes coordinator Mike Shamburg said he is hoping for a field of nine to 11 horses for the Lone Star Derby. Among those he considers probable for the race are Terrain, who was fourth in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 11; Kelly Leak, the winner of the Sunland Park Derby on March 29; and Scorewithcater, who was third in the Sunland Derby.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said earlier this week he plans to start Uno Mas, who was second in the $75,000 Northern Spur at Oaklawn on April 11, and Galloping Gulch, a recent allowance winner at Lone Star.

The Lone Star Derby will share a card with two 3-year-old divisions of the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes.

Big figure for Hotlantic

Hotlantic put up the year's second-highest Beyer for a filly or mare on turf last weekend when she won the $50,000 Irving Distaff here with a 103. It was a career performance for the mare, and she will move into graded company for her next start, trainer Dallas Keen said. Hotlantic is being pointed for the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff Handicap at a mile on turf on the Lone Star Million Day program here May 25.

Keen has had Hotlantic for her past five starts. She raced on the grass for the first time for him in February at Fair Grounds, finishing fourth in a tough one-mile optional claimer. One start later, Hotlantic led throughout for a 1 1/2-length win over Southern California shipper Everlasting Beauty in the 7 1/2-furlong Irving Distaff.

"I haven't had her all that long," Keen said of Hotlantic. "It looked like she was a little better on grass than the dirt, but every time we tried to get on the grass we'd be rained out, or it didn't go.

"She ran a couple of big races at Fair Grounds - there weren't any slouches in there - and I think with age she's gotten a little better. She seems like she's on her game now."

Hotlantic is a daughter of Stormy Atlantic. Ventura owns the best turf Beyer for a filly or mare so far this year, a 104.

Keen will have at least one other starter on the Lone Star Million program. He said King Dan, who ran a bang-up race to finish second to Jonesboro in last weekend's Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile, is being pointed for the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap.

"It's in our backyard," said Keen, who is based at Lone Star.

Asmussens and McNeils shine

Leading trainer Steve Asmussen won four races Thursday night at Lone Star, while his brother, Cash, who also trains, won a race. In another family success story Thursday night, apprentice Erik McNeil had a three-bagger, and his father, Tony, who also rides, won a race. Steve Asmussen leads the trainer standings with 26 wins, 13 more than second-leading trainer Danny Pish.

* Active Treasure is seeking his fourth straight win in the fifth race, a $15,000 starter allowance at a mile on turf. Larry Taylor has the mount for trainer Joe Offolter.