11/13/2010 2:40PM

Gold, Fawkes saluted for Breeders' Cup victories

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Alysse Jacobs
Big Drama (center) with Eibar Coa riding, wins the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

MIAMI – Saturday was a memorable day at Calder Race Course. Not only was the track presenting one of its cornerstone events, the rich Florida Million day program, it was also honoring two of its own. Trainers Stanley Gold and David Fawkes and the connections of Awesome Feather and Big Drama were saluted in the winner’s circle following the afternoon’s second race for their victories at last week’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

The Calder connection at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup went deeper than Awesome Feather’s easy win in the Juvenile Fillies and Big Drama’s wire to wire triumph in the Sprint. Both Dubai Majesty, who captured the Filly and Mare Sprint for trainer Bret Calhoun, and Blind Luck, runner-up in the Ladies’ Classic, began their careers locally before being purchased privately and shipped out of town. Now all four horses are considered serious contenders to win Eclipse Awards in their respective divisions when those honors are meted out in Miami in January.

Both Awesome Feather and Big Drama completed all their major preparations for the Breeders’ Cup at Calder before shipping to Churchill Downs early that week. Gold and Fawkes both ascribed to the theory that working over the deeper Calder track would be to their advantage on race day.

“This track is deeper than Churchill and really gets a horse ultra-fit,” said Fawkes, both prior to and after Big Drama won the Sprint.

Unfortunately for Gold, the Juvenile Fillies was the last time he would saddle Awesome Feather, who was purchased privately by Frank Stronach for $2.3 million 48 hours later at the Fasig-Tipton November sale and transferred almost immediately thereafter to trainer Chad Brown’s barn.

“Everything happened so fast, with the sale and all, I really never got the opportunity to savor the win,” said Gold. “It’s still sinking in. I compare it to climbing all the way to the top of Mt. Everest and before you get to wave your arms, somebody pushes you off the other side.”

Gold said Awesome Feather does have a full brother who turns 2 next year.

According to Fawkes, Big Drama’s next start will likely come in the Sunshine Million Sprint at Gulfstream Park.

“If all goes well after that, I’d hope we will get an invitation to go to Dubai for the Golden Shaheen,” said Fawkes.

Gulfstream raises purses

Gulfstream Park will offer purse increases across the board this winter with the minimum purse raised to $15,000 for the 2011 meet, which opens on Jan. 5.

“We’ve made our strongest purse bumps in the bottom and middle level claiming races in hopes of improving both the quality and quantity of starters in those divisions,” said Tim Ritvo, newly appointed director of East Coast racing for MI Developments.

Ritvo also said some additional concessions have been agreed upon for horsemen stabled at Palm Meadows during the winter. He said the price of dorm rooms, which originally was to be $1,000 for the meet, will now be $700.

◗ Beginning with Monday’s program, racing will be conducted on a five day a week basis at Calder through the end of the meet on Jan. 3. The lone exception will be Christmas week, when the track will be dark on both Friday and Saturday, Dec. 24-25.