12/06/2008 1:00AM

Big Drama team not thinking Derby yet


MIAMI - The Kentucky Derby is still five months away, but one couldn't blame trainer David Fawkes or owner Harold Queen if they at least began thinking about running for the roses after Big Drama turned in a game performance to win Friday's Grade 3 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs.

By notching his fifth consecutive victory in the Delta Jackpot, Big Drama picked up $450,000 in graded earnings, which all but assures him a spot in the 2009 Kentucky Derby should things continue to progress favorably for the Calder-based colt this winter and spring.

"To be honest, we hadn't even given the Derby a thought," Fawkes said by phone while en route to Texas to visit some friends Saturday morning. "At this point, he's not nominated to the Kentucky Derby or even the Florida Derby for that matter. But I guess it's a nice problem to have - figuring out what derbies to nominate to next."

Big Drama left Louisiana by van late Saturday morning and was expected back in south Florida the following day. Fawkes said he's going to give his star four or five days off to assess how he came out of the race before getting together with Queen to plan their next move.

"We have nothing in mind at this point," Fawkes said. "Mr. Queen doesn't like to jinx himself by putting the cart before the horse, so to speak, and thinking beyond the race at hand."

Big Drama, who grabbed a quarter and bent a shoe during the running of the 1 1/16-mile Delta Jackpot, swept all three legs of the open division of Calder's Florida Stallion Stakes this year. The Delta Jackpot was his first start against graded company and swelled his earnings to more than $860,000. The win was the richest in Fawkes's training career, although not the most important. He won back-to-back editions of Belmont's Grade 1 Ogden Phipps with Take the Tour in 2006 and 2007.

"He's by Montbrook, so you don't really know how far he'll go, but he keeps winning his races like he might go further," Fawkes said. "It sure looked like West Side Bernie was going by him through the stretch last night, but when they come to him, he just goes on."

Plesa works his stakes runners

Yesbyjimminy, who'll go postward as the starting highweight and likely favorite under 121 pounds in Saturday's Grade 3 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap, tuned up for the assignment by working five furlongs in 1:01.60 here Saturday morning. Yesbyjimminy, like Big Drama, has won his last five starts, including the Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap on Nov. 8.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. had several of his top handicap performers out to work before the renovation break Saturday. Joining Yesbyjimminy on the tab were Gottcha Gold and Hey Byrn. Gottcha Gold went five furlongs in 1:01.80, while Hey Byrn breezed the same distance in 1:01.60. Gottcha Gold also will be the starting highweight under 121 pounds in next Saturday's Grade 3 Fred Hooper Handicap.

The Kenny Noe and Fred Hooper are two of the four stakes to be decided on Saturday's Grand Slam card along with the Grade 2 La Prevoyante and Grade 2 W.L. McKnight handicaps on the turf.