07/21/2009 11:00PM

Two horses, two stakes, same time


MIAMI - Remember "Multiplicity," the movie where Michael Keaton's character is able to clone himself so he can be in more than one place at the same time?

Trainer David Fawkes will need a little Multiplicity of his own if his plans come to fruition for his two top 3-year-olds, Big Drama and Duke of Mischief, both of whom will be running at nearly the same time at two different places on the afternoon of Aug. 1. Big Drama is scheduled to start at Mountaineer in the West Virginia Derby, while Duke of Mischief is likely headed for the Jim Dandy at Saratoga.

"It's a lot of fun to be in this position," Fawkes said. "I'm just going to have my head scrambled a little bit with both horses running in two big races at virtually the same time. The post times for the two races are almost exactly the same, and I'm just sick that I won't be able to be there in person to watch both horses run."

Fawkes will accompany Big Drama to Mountaineer for the West Virginia Derby, while his wife, Celia, will saddle Duke of Mischief for the Jim Dandy.

"Duke of Mischief has been invited to the Haskell and that's still an option, although right now the Jim Dandy is more likely," said Fawkes. "I just think that race will come up easier and sets up better for him, especially with his style. Saratoga is a little better track for closers than Monmouth Park."

Duke of Mischief will have his final breeze here on Saturday before shipping to Saratoga the following day. Big Drama, who has been stabled at Monmouth since competing in the Preakness, is slated to have his final work for the West Virginia Derby in New Jersey on Sunday morning.

Duke of Mischief, a son of Graeme Hall, has won his last two races by a combined 18 lengths, including the Iowa Derby by six lengths June 26.

"I always thought he was as good as Big Drama as a baby, but he got a little inflammation as a 2-year-old so I just gave him some time," said Fawkes. "He was an immature colt and just took a while to come to himself."

Fawkes, who may make it up to Saratoga to run his undefeated older horse Dramatic Trip in an entry-level allowance race next Thursday, said Javier Castellano would ride Duke of Mischief if he does go in the Jim Dandy.

No-win decision for stewards

The Calder stewards were faced with a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" decision following the running of the seventh race here last Saturday as a result of an incident that happened at the start of the conditioned claiming race. The problem occurred when Just a Dream, surged forward and appeared to break open his gate fractions of a second before the remainder of the field was dispatched by starter Jeff Powell.

As a result, Just a Dream was held back by the assistant starter and was still in his hand when the rest of the field broke. But despite the disadvantageous beginning, Just a Dream rallied from last to finish second behind the 9-5 favorite Rosie's Princess at odds of 25-1.

Following an inquiry, Just a Dream was declared a non-starter for what the stewards determined to be an "unfair start." The decision not only affected the wagering on the race - those who bet the horse, even if they would have cashed, got their money refunded - but also prevented Just a Dream from collecting second purse money of $2,775.

Kent Stirling, the executive director of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, agrees the situation is a tricky one and may call for further review by track management.

"Obviously the betting end of it is over, but we'll mention the incident to management at our regular horsemen's meeting on Friday because it's one that might be worthy of a review," said Sterling. "The horse ran a big race and did so at a disadvantage, so it seems unfair the owner should be penalized and denied the purse. We've had this battle before regarding non-starters when it comes to wagering, which is okay. But this game is predicated on winning purses, and if a horse runs and earns purse money fair and square then he should have it. Unfortunately this is one of those situations that no matter what you decide, it's going to make somebody unhappy."

There are no state rules governing such incidents at Calder. All decisions in such instances are predicated on house rules, and track management has the right to review or hear appeals on any rulings made at the track.

Mauricio Fuentes, who owns Just a Dream, said he is not appealing the stewards' decision.