03/27/2009 12:00AM

Big Drama takes a detour

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - If everything had gone according to plan this winter, Big Drama would have been running in Saturday's main event at Gulfstream Park, the Grade 1 Florida Derby, as a final prep for a start in the Kentucky Derby. Instead, Big Drama will run 30 minutes earlier as the horse to beat in the $150,000 Swale.

Unfortunately for trainer David Fawkes and owner Harold Queen, Big Drama sustained a bone bruise in late January that cost him just enough training time to preclude a start in the Florida Derby. Big Drama makes his 3-year-old debut in the seven-furlong Swale. He faces five rivals, including This Ones for Phil, who turned in such a sensational performance winning the Sunshine Millions Dash in January.

Big Drama earned enough to all but clinch a spot in the Kentucky Derby field when he closed out his 2-year-old campaign with a one-length victory over West Side Bernie in the Grade 3, $750,000 Delta Jackpot. The win was the fifth in a row for Big Drama, a homebred son of Montbrook who was originally scheduled to make his 3-year-old bow in the Grade 3 Holy Bull on Jan. 31 until he was injured a week before the race.

"He never missed a lot of training and I'm hopeful coming off that deeper track at Calder he won't need a race starting back at Gulfstream," said Fawkes. "And I love the fact he's drawn the outside post. He's so versatile, he can either sit off the pace or go with it if need be, and from the outside he can pretty much do whatever he wants."

Fawkes stated earlier this month that Big Drama was off the Kentucky Derby trail. Could a big effort in the Swale alter those plans, especially since Big Drama already has enough graded earnings to make the field?

"I don't even want to think about the Derby right now," said Fawkes. "I'm just happy to have him back running again and in this race on Saturday."

Like Big Drama, This Ones for Phil sustained a minor injury, and it cost him valuable training time since his fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. This Ones for Phil became an instant sensation when he earned a 116 Beyer Speed Figure for his 2 1/4-length victory in the Sunshine Millions Dash in his first start after being transferred to Rick Dutrow's barn.

This Ones for Phil has had just one work in the four weeks since the Fountain of Youth, a five-furlong drill in 1:01 here on Monday.

"He's only had one work but he did not get tired," said Dutrow. "He's a light horse, and coming off a mile race he should be fine."

Aside from the two favorites, B Z Warrior, Sabi Sabi, Custom for Carlos, and Brave Victory are entered in the Swale.

B Z Warrior outgamed Custom for Carlos to win his career debut earlier this winter, then returned to finish third behind the highly regarded pair of Just a Coincidence and Gone Astray in a one-mile allowance race.

Sabi Sabi rallied to a 1 1/2-length allowance win at the same seven-furlong distance of the Swale in his local debut and would benefit from a fast pace on Saturday.

Custom for Carlos rebounded from his tough setback at the hands of B Z Warrior to win his maiden four weeks later.

Brave Victory is another late threat. He won his only previous start at 3 here on Jan. 30.