06/17/2009 11:00PM

Big Drama no lock in Red Legend


Big Drama is the most well-known 3-year-old in the 10-horse lineup and brings the best credentials into Saturday night's $250,000 Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town. But he's not the only one with a shot at winning the seven-furlong race.

The Red Legend goes as race 10, scheduled for 10 p.m. Eastern, and is the last leg of an all-stakes pick four that also includes the $250,000 Charles Town Invitational Dash and a pair of $100,000 stakes.

Big Drama, based at Monmouth Park with trainer David Fawkes, gets a significant equipment change after flashing high speed and fading to fifth a month ago in the Preakness. After a one-race experiment, the blinkers go back on Big Drama, a move that may help the colt regain the form that enabled him to win the Grade 2 Swale at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot in his previous two races.

Big Drama will face at least three serious challengers in graded stakes winner Azul Leon, local sensation Russell Road, and the Larry Jones-trained It Happened Again.

Azul Leon was highly regarded last summer when he easily won the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship and missed by a nose in the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar. But he flopped in three of his next four races, including a dull ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and hasn't raced since December.

Although Azul Leon shows a recent five-furlong bullet at Hollywood Park for his comeback, trainer Doug O'Neill's record with long-layoff types in elongated sprints isn't particularly good. According to DRF's Formulator, O'Neill is just 2 for 23 with runners returning from absences of more than 180 days in races at 6 1/2 or seven furlongs.

Russell Road must be respected on the basis of his 6 for 7 record locally, including four stakes since last fall. On the downside, he must carry co-highweight of 124 pounds while conceding nine pounds to Big Drama.

It Happened Again has just one stakes win in five tries, but it came at the Red Legend's distance of seven furlongs in the Triple Sec at Delta Downs in January. Gabriel Saez, who is 2 for 2 riding It Happened Again, including the win at Delta, is making the trip in from Delaware Park for this race.

* Love That Dance, Score One More, and Don'tgetsuspicious - all coming off victories sprinting in which they earned Beyer Speed Figures within one point of each other - look difficult to separate in the Lady Charles Town (race 7) for 3-year-old fillies going 4 1/2 furlongs.

All three are coming off career tops, which makes it difficult to gauge if they can duplicate their most recent effort or are due to bounce. Score One More has the advantage of winning three straight over the local track.

* Acting Zippy, who has won three straight stakes at different tracks since arriving on the East Coast from a tour of Arkansas and Louisiana, will try to make it four in a row in the seven-furlong Wild and Wonderful (race 8).

He faces serious competition from No Advantage, the upset winner of the Grade 3 William Schaefer at Pimlico a month ago, and defending champion Eddie C., who has been off since taking the 2008 running of this race last October.