09/04/2011 3:59PM

Calder: Big Drama cruises in comeback victory in Whippleton

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Jim Lisa
Big Drama returns from an 8 1/2-month layoff to score by 2 1/4 lengths in the Whippleton.

MIAMI. -   In the end, class will usually prevail. 

And so it did when reigning sprint champion Big Drama returned from an 8 ½- month layoff to easily defeat the red-hot but outclassed Black Diamond Cat and two other rivals in Sunday’s $75,000 Whippleton Handicap at Calder.

Trainer David Fawkes plans to use Sunday’s race as the first of two preps before sending Big Drama back to Churchill Downs to defend his title in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint later this fall.

Despite having posted just three recorded works since returning from owner-breeder Harold Queen’s barn earlier this summer, Big Drama looked sharp right from the outset of the 6 ½- furlong Whippleton. With jockey Daniel Centeno riding confidently, Big Drama stalked the pace of Accredit who was hustled along right from the outset to post a 22.02-second opening quarter. Big Drama readily wrested control midway on the turn, then withstood a bid from Black Diamond Cat through midstretch before finishing 2 1/4 lengths in front while under only mild pressure to the wire.

Black Diamond Cat, who entered the Whippleton riding a three-race winning streak, finishing 5 ¼ lengths in front of Peace at Dawn with Accredit tiring badly from his early efforts to finish fourth and last. D’Funnybone, How’s Your Halo, and Double Judge were all scratched earlier in the day.        

Big Drama completed the distance in 1:17.62 over a racetrack that had favored speed throughout the card. He paid $2.20. The win was the sixth in seven starts at Calder for Big Drama with the $46,500 winner’s share pushing his career earnings past $2.7 million.

“I thought he looked fabulous,” said Fawkes, who watched the race on television from the racing office at Saratoga. “Danny rode him with a ton of confidence. He had to work a bit but I don’t think he worked too hard today. I actually was hoping there would be more horses in there because I wanted to see him do a little more and really get something out of this race.

“All in all, however, I was very, very pleased and if everything goes smoothly we’ll look at the Vosburgh next.”

The Grade 1 Vosburgh, a six-furlong race, is scheduled for Oct. 1 at Belmont Park.