10/15/2008 11:00PM

Big Drama out to defy the odds


MIAMI - Only five 2-year-olds have captured all three legs of the open division of the Florida Stallion Stakes in the 26-year history of the event. Seven others went into the 1 1/16-mile In Reality Stakes with a chance to complete a sweep, but failed.

By late Saturday afternoon, Big Drama's name will appear on one of those two lists. Which one depends on how the once-beaten colt fares when he attempts to add the $400,000 In Reality to his earlier victories in the six-furlong Dr. Fager and seven-furlong Affirmed stakes.

The In Reality is the main event on Saturday's Festival of the Sun program, which also includes the $400,000 My Dear Girl division of the Florida Stallion Stakes series for 2-year-old fillies along with the Grade 3 Miami Mile and Spend a Buck handicaps for older horses.

Big Drama's task will not be an easy one. Not only has the son of Montbrook yet to run beyond seven furlongs - or race at all since capturing the Affirmed six weeks ago - he must face 11 challengers, including a trio of dangerous invaders, led by the undefeated and unchallenged Slew of Smoke.

Trainer David Fawkes says he is less concerned that Big Drama has gone six weeks between starts than he is the about added distance and caliber of the competition in the In Reality. And he's excited about the possibility of pulling off the sweep.

"Training him up to the race is no problem," said Fawkes. "And being a local guy, it certainly would mean a lot to me to be able to sweep the series."

Paco Lopez, who rode Big Drama to his two previous Stallion series victories, may find his hand forced from the start breaking from the rail.

"I think he'll rate," said Fawkes. "If the pace is slow I just hope he's close, and if it's fast I hope he's back a bit."

Over the past 15 years, only three 2-year-olds have shipped to south Florida to win the In Reality, including future Eclipse Award champion Holy Bull in 1993. Booklet was the last invader to capture the race, in 2001.

Slew of Smoke won his first two starts by a combined margin of 26 lengths but has yet to go beyond six furlongs and must break from the outside in post 12 under Jeremy Rose.

"I took a little advantage with him the first time, because I only gave $20,000 for the horse," said trainer Mike Gorham, referring to Slew of Smoke's debut in a $25,000 maiden claimer. "In his second start he rallied down on the rail, took all the dirt in his face, but when the jock asked him he was there and did his thing. It's always a concern racing over this track for the first time, but I worked him here Monday and he seemed to handle it well."

Casey's on Call and Dryden also bring solid credentials to town for the In Reality, although neither has raced over a dirt track.

Casey's on Call is also undefeated in two starts, with both victories coming over artificial surfaces, including a nose allowance triumph going seven furlongs at Keeneland just two weeks earlier. Dryden, trained by Steve Asmussen, ships down from Woodbine, where he was stakes placed on a couple of occasions.

This Ones for Phil and Edgemoor are already proven commodities around two turns. This Ones for Phil registered an impressive victory in the one-mile Seacliff Stakes here on Sept. 6, only to finish second as the favorite three weeks later in the Foolish Pleasure. Edgemoor was an easy 12 1/2-length maiden winner on Sept. 27.

My Dear Girl: Packed house

The lack of a standout in the local 2-year-old fillies division created a logjam at the entry box for the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl, with 16 fillies entered for the 14 starting berths. The field includes the winners of the first two legs of the series, La Chica Sensual, who ran away with the six-furlong Desert Vixen, and Aroma de Mujer, who upset La Chica Sensual when re-rallying for a head verdict in the seven-furlong Susan's Girl.

They both must overcome unfavorable posts on Saturday, with La Chica Sensual breaking from post 10 and Aroma de Mujer from post 13.

The draw likely enhanced the chances of Trippi's Greatstar and Black Russian, who finished third and fourth in the Susan's Girl and will break from posts 3 and 6, respectively, in the My Dear Girl.