09/08/2010 12:44PM

Fawkes, Big Drama back in Florida

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer David Fawkes leads Big Drama at Saratoga as his wife, Celia, rides.

MIAMI – David Fawkes, his goose-neck trailer, and its valuable cargo all arrived back at Calder Racecourse safe and sound Monday morning after another long but successful journey to New York.

Fawkes put his top sprinter Big Drama on the van last week bound for Saratoga, where the speedster turned in a sparkling performance, finishing second, less than a length behind Here Comes Ben after holding a clear lead through midstretch in the Grade 1 Forego. Big Drama also finished second earlier in the Saratoga meet behind now-retired division leader Majesticperfection in the Grade 2 Vanderbilt.

“I have a goose neck with a nice big box stall, so I just haul him up and back myself,” Fawkes said. “I have to be there anyway. I usually take somebody with me, my wife or my assistant, and this way I don’t have to take any of the other help out of the barn.”

Fawkes was naturally a little frustrated about coming out second best again Saturday but delighted at another big performance from his Breeders’ Cup-bound sprinter.

“He ran huge,” Fawkes said. “I don’t know if that horse ran me down, or we came up a little empty. I thought we were home free leaving the eighth pole. But that’s a nice horse who beat us. He’s a seven-eighths specialist, so I think it was just a case of him running us down at the end.”

Fawkes will now freshen Big Drama and point him toward the Sprint.

“This is a great track to train over, so I’ll train him up to the Breeders’ Cup right here at Calder,” Fawkes said. “Although this time, if there’s a Tex Sutton flight coming out of Florida heading to Kentucky for the Breeders’ Cup, I’ll fly him up. But if not, we’ll just get back in the goose neck and go for another drive.”

Big Drama is one of two horses Fawkes could run in the Breeders’ Cup, along with his Grade 2 winner Duke of Mischief who would start in the Dirt Mile. Duke of Mischief upset Monmouth Park’s Grade 3 Iselin in his last start on Aug. 21.

“The Breeders’ Cup is still an option for him but not definite,” Fawkes said. “Right now, we are looking at several other possibilities for his next start, including the Kelso at Belmont Park, which has been moved to the main track for the first time this year.”

Fawkes also is gearing up Big Drama’s baby brother, Little Drama, for the final leg of the Florida Stallion stakes here Oct. 16, the 1 1/16-mile In Reality. Little Drama has not started since finishing far back as the favorite in the six-furlong Dr. Fager on Aug. 7 after earning a 90 Beyer Speed Figure winning his maiden in spectacular fashion in the Frank Gomez Memorial four weeks earlier.

“I think he might have emptied the wagon a little when he won the stakes, he ran his eyeballs out that day, so I backed off on him a little bit and will point for the last leg of the Stallion series,” Fawkes said. “He had a slow, easy work on Monday, but we’ll pick up the pace a little with the next one, either Sunday or Monday. Hopefully, I can get a race into him before the In Reality, an allowance at either seven-eighths or a mile.”

◗ The ding-dong battle for leading jockey honors will pick up again Friday, with the current leader, Luis Saez, listed on six horses and defending champion Manoel Cruz named to ride seven on the 10-race program. Saez begins the abbreviated, three-day week with a 110-108 advantage atop the standings.

Both Saez and Cruz have mounts in Friday’s featured fourth race, a $30,500 allowance event scheduled at a mile on the turf. Saez will ride the improving Bay of Wicklow, while Cruz counters with the Bill White-trained Strong Star.