11/05/2008 12:00AM

Big Drama skips Jack Price, eyes Delta Jackpot


MIAMI - Big Drama would have been the odds-on favorite if he were to start here Saturday in the $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile. Instead, the most accomplished 2-year-old based in south Florida this summer will await greener pastures - as in the $750,000 up for grabs in the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot on Dec. 5 at Delta Downs.

Big Drama completed a sweep of the open division of the Florida Stallion series with a five-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality Stakes here Oct. 18. He previously captured both the six-furlong Dr. Fager and seven-furlong Affirmed stakes with similar ease.

Like the Stallion series, which is for the offspring of Florida stallions, the Jack Price Juvenile is a restricted event and it is open only to registered Florida-breds. But trainer David Fawkes was not even tempted to turn Big Drama back to seven furlongs or bring him back on just three weeks' rest in the Jack Price, not even nominating his star to the race.

"The race Saturday is too close, he just doesn't need to come back in three weeks," Fawkes said. "And I'd really like to keep him around two turns. We nominated on Tuesday for the Delta Jackpot. With his tactical speed on that six-furlong bullring, it really looks like a good spot for him. I love going to places like that, especially for the kind of money being offered. And he's run well off a six-week break before."

Fawkes is trying to avoid the temptation of looking too far ahead with Big Drama.

"Any of those big races this winter in Florida are an option, and the good thing is that they are spread out so nicely it's easy to just take it one race at a time instead of trying to plan too far in advance," Fawkes said.

Even with his big horse remaining in the barn, Fawkes will be in action on Saturday's Florida Million card with another of his up-and-coming 2-year-old prospects, It's Out There, who will compete in the Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf. It's Out There, a son of Outofthebox, is one of only three members of the field with a victory on grass.

"He's really doing well," Fawkes said of It's Out There. "Paco [Lopez] worked him for me on the turf on Monday and really likes him. Unfortunately, he was already committed to ride Edgemoor in the race for Eddie Plesa, but I have no problem with that, especially since I was able to pick up Cornelio Velasquez. It looks like Bill Mott's horse has the best numbers in the field, but like mine, he's still eligible for a one-other-than as well."

Fawkes was referring to Tamborim, who ships in for the Appleton off a third-place finish in a first-level allowance race over the Keeneland turf on Oct. 16.

You Luckie Mann to miss Jack Price

You Luckie Mann, who owns the highest Beyer Speed Figure of any 2-year-old in North America, is also passing the Jack Price. You Luckie Mann earned a 108 Beyer for his 11-length victory in the Birdonthewire Stakes here on Oct. 18.

"He came out of his last start with an ulcer on his eye," trainer Marty Wolfson said. "I don't know how it could have happened since he was in front all the way. Maybe some sand hit him. It cost me a week of training, I couldn't breeze him, and as a result, I was forced to pass the race on Saturday. Otherwise, I had planned on starting him. I'll just wait now and point for the Sunshine Millions Sprint in January."

Lopez builds big lead, faces suspensions

Lopez, who ran away with the Calder riding title, has shot out to a big early lead in quest of also capturing the Tropical at Calder championship. Buoyed by a four-bagger last Friday, Lopez held an 18-8 advantage over defending champ Manoel Cruz after the opening eight cards of the new meet, through Sunday.

One obstacle that could prevent Lopez from capturing the Tropical title is a bevy of riding suspensions, totaling 68 days, that he has accrued this year. All of those suspensions are under appeal. Lopez, one of the leading contenders for an Eclipse Award as the nation's top apprentice in 2008, could end up serving a portion of those suspensions during the remainder of the meet, which ends Jan. 2.