04/07/2009 11:00PM

Big Drama looks headed to Withers


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - With the Kentucky Derby ruled out of Big Drama's future, trainer David Fawkes and owner-breeder Harold Queen have mapped out tentative plans for their colt's next start. The itinerary could still find Big Drama involved in this year's Triple Crown.

"Right now, the Withers looks like our top priority, and if all were to go well we would probably consider the Preakness after that," Fawkes said on Wednesday. "Our backup plan if we don't go to the Withers would be the Lone Star Derby."

The Withers will be decided at a mile at Aqueduct a week before the Kentucky Derby. The Lone Star Derby goes at 1 1/16 miles a week after the Kentucky Derby.

Big Drama is coming off a courageous performance in the seven-furlong Swale, in which he outgamed This Ones for Phil in track-record time only to lose the decision via a stewards' inquiry. The outing was the first for Big Drama since he won the Delta Jackpot nearly four months earlier.

"The Withers is the best next step, because it's at a mile and it puts him in the neighborhood if we decide to go on to Baltimore for the Preakness," Fawkes explained. "If that's the direction we go, he'll probably work only once before I send him up to New York. That's all he needs.'

It's a Bird aimed for Stephen Foster

It's a Bird returned home to Calder on Tuesday following his impressive six-length victory in Saturday's Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap. The win was the second in four starts this season for It's a Bird, a son of Birdonthewire who also won the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream on Jan. 24.

"He really didn't like the slop when he finished third in the New Orleans Handicap," trainer Marty Wolfson said on Wednesday. "But he trained just great up to this last race, and he got a perfect trip. I wanted him to either go to the lead or be right with it, and everything worked out perfectly."

Wolfson, who brought It's a Bird into his barn last summer, said the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 13 could be next on the newly turned millionaire's agenda.

"Its more than two months to the Foster, but it will probably do him good to freshen up a little," said Wolfson.

It's a Bird is part of a very strong colony of older handicap horses stabled at Calder this summer. The group also includes multiple graded winners Smooth Air, Finallymadeit, and Delightful Kiss.

Smooth Air, winner of the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap in his last start, and Finallymadeit, who jogged home an easy winner of the Grade 3 Skip Away here last week, could meet at Lone Star in the Texas Mile on April 25. Delightful Kiss has been sidelined because of an ankle issue since his disappointing performance in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf earlier this winter.

$2.6 million colt to try again

A pair of first-level allowance races and the appearance of would-be Florida Derby rabbit Europe highlight Friday's card.

A field of seven 3-year-olds will go six furlongs in the afternoon's seventh event, which features the return of For All Who Conga. A son of Congaree trained by Bill White, For All Who Conga has not started since finishing second in the Frank Gomez Memorial at Calder on July 12. For All Who Conga launched his career with an easy victory four weeks before the Gomez.

Kissimmee Kyle, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 83 winning his career debut against Louisiana-breds at the Fair Grounds, will likely be favored against a field that also includes two other last-out maiden winners.

Europe was entered by trainer Todd Pletcher along with stablemate Dunkirk for the Florida Derby, but was scratched the morning of the race. A $2.6 million yearling purchase sired by Unbridled's Song, Europe finished fourth in his only start but has been working extremely well since that outing.

* Among the notable workers on area tabs Wednesday morning were Yesbyjimminy (four furlongs in 49.20 seconds) at Calder, Famous Patriot (four furlongs in 48.20 seconds) at Gulfstream and Better Talk Now (six furlongs in 1:20 on the turf) at Palm Meadows.

* A full field of 14 fillies and mares has been entered for Saturday's $50,000 South Beach Stakes. Grade 2 winner Raw Silk and European Group 2 winner All Is Vanity top a wide-open field that also includes Flibberjibit, Drop a Line and Dreaming of Liz.