01/03/2013 5:08PM

Delta Downs: Big Drama Stakes pace may suit Mr. Bandini's Band

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Dustin Orona Photography
King Henny, winner of the Clever Trevor at Remington, will start from the rail in the Big Drama Stakes.

There are a handful of speed horses in Saturday night’s $100,000 Big Drama for 3-year-olds at Delta Downs, and if they mix it up, they could set the table for Mr. Bandini’s Band. He will be seeking his first stakes win in the seven-furlong race to be run around two turns and enters off a career effort.

In all, a field of seven will go in the Big Drama, including King Henny, winner of the $100,000 Clever Trevor at Remington Park; Hero Force, winner of the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile at Fair Grounds; and Heaven’s Runway, winner of the $100,000 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial at Presque Isle Downs.

Mr. Bandini’s Band won a first-level allowance at Delta in his last start Dec. 13. He stalked the pace and stormed home by more than five lengths, earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 81. The number also is the best Beyer in the Big Drama, named for the champion sprinter who won the Delta Downs Jackpot in 2008. Mr. Bandini’s Band will break from post 7, under regular rider Kevin Smith.

“I think we’ll be laying off of them,” said Eric Nelson Jr., who trains Mr. Bandini’s Band for William B. Gilmore. “I think that would be our best chance. Of course, ultimately, I’ll leave that up to Kevin.”

Mr. Bandini’s Band has placed in three stakes to date, including a runner-up finish to Brown Almighty in the $50,000 Sunny’s Halo at Louisiana Downs in August and a third-place effort to Bern Identity in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte at Delta on Oct.  20. Mr. Bandini’s Band also was fifth in the $150,000 Louisiana Legacy at Delta on Nov. 17. After that race, he was scoped and found to be sick, Nelson said.

“It was right at the time where the weather was changing,” Nelson said.

Mr. Bandini’s Band rebounded with the best race of his career and will attempt to nail down his first stakes win Saturday.

“Hopefully, it will be our turn,” Nelson said. “We’ve knocked heads with some nice horses – Bern Identity, Brown Almighty. We got outrun, but he showed up and gave a good effort. Saturday would be a good day to be our turn.”

King Henny drew the rail for the Big Drama, one start after breaking from post 12 for the $300,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Dec. 9. He finished fifth in that race. Donnie Meche has the mount on King Henny for the partnership of Erv Woolsey and Keith Asmussen. The horse is trained by Steve Asmussen.