06/22/2009 11:00PM

Fawkes has several options for Big Drama


MIAMI - After making the 17-hour drive back to Florida from West Virginia on Sunday, trainer David Fawkes was worn out - much more so than his star 3-year-old Big Drama, who won Charles Town's Red Legend Stakes by seven lengths on Saturday.

The seven-furlong Red Legend was Big Drama's first start since his troubled fifth-place finish in the Preakness. The victory in the $250,000 race swelled the colt's earnings over $1 million and serves as a stepping-stone to what Fawkes hopes will be bigger and better things during the second half of the season.

"I really wanted to turn him back to a sprint after his effort in the Preakness, but I didn't want to go further back than seven-eighths," Fawkes said from his home base at Calder on Tuesday morning. "The race at Charles Town was perfect because it was around two turns, so it gave him the opportunity to rate a little bit and now puts us in a perfect position to go either way for his next start, sprinting or a distance of ground."

While Fawkes made the long drive back to south Florida following the Red Legend, Big Drama took the much shorter journey up to Monmouth Park, where he's been stabled since the Preakness. And as might be expected, that makes the $1 million Haskell there on Aug. 2 a logical consideration for Big Drama's next start. Other options include the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Aug. 1 and the $300,000 King's Bishop - a sprint - at Saratoga on Aug. 29.

"Right now we're not leaning in any particular direction," Fawkes said. "I'll wait and see how he comes out of this one first and then try to get an idea how each of those three races are shaping up before we make any definite decision."

As for long-range plans, Fawkes believes the Breeders' Cup Sprint or Dirt Mile would be Big Drama's best options at the end of the year. Both will be run on the Pro-Ride at Santa Anita.

"Holy mackerel, it's a long ways to November, but those two races are great possibilities," said Fawkes. "Naturally the artificial surface would be a question we'd have to answer, and if it looks like we are going to head for the Breeders' Cup, I'd probably want to send him out there to prep rather than look for a prep race on a different artificial surface on the East Coast."

Fawkes will have to rest up quickly from his trip to West Virginia as he'll be busy once again this coming weekend with a couple other up-and-coming 3-year-olds, Duke of Mischief and Many Kisses. Duke of Mischief shipped out Monday for Prairie Meadows where he'll run Friday evening in the Iowa Derby. Many Kisses will stay home to compete here Saturday in the Lulu's Ransom overnight stakes on the turf.

Duke of Mischief, second this winter in the Sophomore Turf at Tampa Bay Downs, is coming off an 11 3/4-length entry-level allowance win here earlier this month.

"He had a lot of trouble in some of his earlier races but he's got plenty of talent," Fawkes said. "I went over the numbers for the race at Prairie Meadows, and if he gets clear and can repeat his last, I think he can win it."

Wolfson's ups and downs

Trainer Marty Wolfson wasn't as lucky as Fawkes at Charles Town on Saturday. His Ikigai finished fifth as the 2-1 favorite after a tough trip in the 4 1/2-furlong Charles Town Dash.

"He didn't break well and he was in all sorts of trouble after that," said Wolfson, who still plans to bring Ikigai back against Benny the Bull in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap here on July 11.

Wolfson's disappointment over Ikigai's effort was more than tempered, however, by Icon Project's brilliant performance earlier that afternoon in Belmont Park's New York Handicap. Making her first start on dirt, Icon Project splashed to a 13-length victory over the odds-on Criticism in a race originally scheduled for the turf but run in the mud.

"I was on cloud 9 after watching Icon Project win like that," said Wolfson. "I loved her going into that race. She'd really trained well here in the slop, and the fact she hadn't raced in three months really helped her a lot. Even though she'd done all her racing on grass, she's really bred for the dirt and I'll probably keep her on the main track for now and look at races like the Go for Wand or Delaware Handicap for her next start."

Hatchett returns a winner

After taking nearly a five-year sabbatical from training, Jim Hatchett returned in a big way Sunday by winning both the filly and open divisions of a maiden $40,000 2-year-old dash with first-time starters Blind Luck and Manny Who.

Blind Luck, a 2-year-old filly by Pollard's Vision, was easily the most impressive of the pair, winning off by better than 13 lengths. Blind Luck earned a 79 Beyer Speed Figure after covering 4 1/2 furlongs in 53.25 seconds. Manny Who, a son of B L's Appeal, overcame some bumping leaving the starting gate and outlasted the favored Hold the Line in a much more pedestrian time of 54.90. Both winners were ridden by Luis Arango.