10/23/2010 2:03PM

Big Drama works in strong company

Jim Lisa
Big Drama, with Madeline Sciametta riding, works six furlongs Saturday at Calder.

MIAMI – Trainer David Fawkes wanted to push Big Drama a little bit Saturday morning in his next-to-last work for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint. So Fawkes looked down his bench and decided who better to help carry out the assignment than his two-time Grade 2 winner Duke of Mischief, who pushed Big Drama to a six-furlong drill in 1:14.37 over a fast but very dry and cupping-out racetrack at Calder that yielded relatively slow times throughout the morning.

Fawkes was granted special permission by Calder officials to work his Breeders’ Cup contender before the track officially opened following the renovation break at 7:30 a.m. Both Big Drama and Duke of Mischief were on the course and backing up through the stretch as the tractors were still making their way down the backstretch completing their regular maintenance duties during the break.

Big Drama broke off at the six-furlong pole about four lengths in front of Duke of Mischief and cruised through an opening quarter in 24.78 seconds and three-eighths in 36.70. Duke of Mischief eased alongside Big Drama as the latter completed a half in :48.58 with the pair racing as a team through midstretch. At that point, Big Drama began to gradually pull away from his stablemate without need of urging, reaching the wire nearly three lengths on top before galloping out seven furlongs in 1:28.10. Big Drama completed his final quarter-mile in 25.79 seconds while running into a moderately strong headwind blowing up the stretch.

“I needed to give both of them a stiff workout, and there’s nobody else in the barn who can keep up with either horse,” said Fawkes, who is tentatively eyeing Churchill Downs’ Clark Handicap for Duke of Mischief’s next start. “I wanted to make sure Big Drama would finish up, and Duke of Mischief always works better when he has a target to run at, which is why I broke him off several lengths behind like that. I expected them to finish up together. I never expected Big Drama to run away from him like that at the end and do it so easily.”

Fawkes plans to work Big Drama one last time at Calder next weekend before shipping him to Churchill Downs either Sunday or Monday of Breeders’ Cup week.