Burning Roma’s Sheer Drama made short work of her rivals in the $200,000 Royal Delta Stakes (G2) on March 21 at Gulfstream Park. Harold Queen’s homebred Sheer Drama coasted to a dominant 6 ½-length win, registering the first graded-stakes victory of her career.
A 5-year-old daughter of Burning Roma and the Notebook mare Riveting Drama, Sheer Drama relished the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Royal Delta after finishing second in both the 7-furlong Sunshine Millions Distaff on Jan. 17 and the mile Rampart (G3) on Feb. 21. The Florida-bred’s connections entered the race feeling confident that their mare would run well racing around two turns.
“I talked to [Queen] this morning, and he said, ‘Absolutely, two turns is definitely going to be a benefit,’” trainer David Fawkes said. “And I like the shorter stretch out, too. Nothing hurts with that.”
Under Joe Bravo, Sheer Drama enjoyed a perfect stalking trip in the Royal Delta, a race that was formerly known as the Sabin before being renamed this year in honor of the race’s two-time winner (2012 and 2013) and three-time Eclipse Champion.
The chestnut settled behind pacesetters Swinger’s Party and Flores Island for the first half-mile, as those two set fractions of 24.35 seconds for the first quarter and 48.02 seconds for the half, but at the 7/16ths pole, Sheer Drama made a bold move and authoritatively took over the lead at the top of the stretch. From there, it was only a question of how large the margin of victory would be. Sheer Drama was never challenged as she drew off further in the lane; the race’s final time was 1:43.85.
“She really ran a big race today,” Bravo said. “The extra distance, she just loved it. She just kept accelerating through the lane. How many lengths did we win by? When we left the top of the lane she just kept punching underneath me. Dave really had her ready. The whole team really did a great job. She’s a nice horse. (House Rules) only beat us a length the last time. She’s a very nice filly and no disrespect to her. We had a nice trip today.”
“Today was one of the best races I’ve seen from her so far,” Fawkes added. “She just did everything we asked her to today, and it was just no competition.”
Fawkes said that Sheer Drama has thrived as she’s settled in at Gulfstream this winter.
“She’s a really nice filly when she can settle in one place,” he said. “She’s taken a liking to this track. You can see that she likes it here. She likes Maryland. When she settles in and she’s quiet in the barn, you know she’s doing good.”
Sheer Drama’s half-brother Big Drama, the Eclipse Champion Sprinter of 2010, may have had his brightest moments running in shorter races, but Fawkes noted that the versatile runner also had success going long when he was younger.
“Her brother Big Drama, we always thought he’d run long,” Fawkes said. “It just happened that as he got older, he kind of liked sprinting. But he won stakes going long. He won the Florida Sire Stakes final. That was a mile and a sixteenth. He ran really big in the West Virginia Derby (G2), and that was a mile and an eighth, I believe. He could run long, and she has no problem with it.”