10/15/2011 2:03PM

Calder: Big Drama drills six furlongs for Breeders' Cup Sprint

Jim Lisa
Defending Breedes' Cup Sprint champion Big Drama works six furlongs between races Saturday at Calder.

MIAMI – Saturday’s Festival of the Sun program at Calder got itself a pretty good opening act when trainer David Fawkes led over Big Drama, his reigning Eclipse Award winner and defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion, for a public workout between the afternoon’s third and fourth races.

With jockey Daniel Centeno aboard, Big Drama backed up to the three-eighths pole, then jogged past the grandstand before breaking off at a leisurely pace at the six-furlong pole. Big Drama cruised an easy opening furlong in 13.10 seconds, then settled into a nice, even stride, clipping off 12-second splits for the next three-eighths of a mile to complete a half in 49.09. Big Drama still seemed to be traveling well within himself coming back down the stretch the second time, getting just a little shake of the reins to encourage him to finish six furlongs in 1:13.87 before galloping out seven-eighths into the turn in 1:27.

“I was very happy,” Fawkes said. “The rider didn’t carry a whip, he just shook the reins at him a little bit to let him finish up. He didn’t get tired, he wasn’t even blowing when he pulled up.”

Fawkes had to alter some of his training plans after being forced to scratch Big Drama from the Grade 1 Vosburgh two weeks ago due to a fever.

“The temperature lasted less than 24 hours and the only effect it had was that it forced him to miss the race,” said Fawkes. “Although I was disappointed not to run in the Vosburgh, I’m comfortable bringing a fresh horse into the Breeders’ Cup. Remember he had been off 10 weeks going into the Sprint last year.”

Big Drama has made just two starts in 2011, winning Gulfstream Park’s Mr. Prospector in track-record time on Jan. 15 and the Whippleton here on Sept. 4. Fawkes said Big Drama will work twice more locally before shipping to Churchill Downs during Breeders’ Cup week.

Apriority, Hot Summer work in company

Fawkes was also busy earlier Saturday when he sent out his other Sprint candidate, Apriority, to work five furlongs in 1:00.55 in company with his Grade 3-winning filly Hot Summer over a somewhat cuppy racetrack shortly after the renovation break. The drill was somewhat disrupted when the pair ran up on another worker approaching the quarter pole, forcing Hot Summer, who was on the outside, to angle three or four paths wide entering the stretch.

Hot Summer, winner of the Grade 3 Victory Ride this summer at Saratoga, finished about a half-length in front of Apriority with the pair galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.43.

“I think the horse in the middle kind of bothered Apriority a little bit down on the rail through the stretch,” said Fawkes. “But otherwise I was very pleased with the way the both of them went. I’ll bring Apriority back for another sharp work next Saturday, after which we’ll have a better idea on whether he’ll run in the Sprint. Hot Summer ships to Keeneland on Monday.”

Hot Summer is scheduled to run next Saturday in Keeneland’s Grade 2 Raven Run.

◗ The Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows barn areas will open on Wednesday with the racetracks available for training at both sites on Thursday morning. The 2011-12 Gulfstream meet begins on Dec. 3.