HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Sheer Drama got back to serious work here Thursday, breezing five furlongs in 1:01.44 in her first work since finishing third as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 1 La Troienne at Churchill Downs on May 6.
Sheer Drama broke off at a leisurely pace, barely shading 14 seconds for her opening eighth, before completing a quarter-mile in 26.26. She then came home her final three furlongs in 35.18 while never being asked before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.62.
“That was just what we were looking for the first time back,” said trainer David Fawkes. “She was very relaxed on the backside – her first eighth was perfect – and I loved the way she galloped out. I’ll give her a sharper work next week before making a decision.”
The decision Fawkes was referring to was whether to run Sheer Drama in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on June 11 or hold her out until the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap the following month. Sheer Drama registered the first of her three Grade 1 wins in the 2015 Delaware Handicap.
“I’d like to run her in the Phipps if I can, but if I don’t feel she’s 100 percent, I won’t take her,” said Fawkes. “It means coming back in five weeks after running her back in four weeks in the La Troienne. In hindsight, I probably should have skipped that race. Joe [Bravo] said she hated the track at Churchill Downs that day. He said she should have been in better position going to the first turn, but she wasn’t grabbing the track, and as a result, he didn’t have the horse to put her there.”
Fawkes also had a bit of a flashback Wednesday to his former sprint champion and Sheer Drama’s older brother, Big Drama. It came after the third race, when the 2-year-old filly Amapola set a track record but was disqualified by the stewards for causing interference. That led to a very brief discussion among track officials as to whether she’d be allowed to keep the new mark.
Big Drama broke the seven-furlong standard after crossing the wire first in the 2009 Swale but was disqualified and placed second. Track officials were originally going to deny Big Drama the new mark since he was not the winner of the race. Eventually, they reversed their stand and awarded Big Drama his record two days later.
“My argument back then was that Big Drama actually ran the record time whether he was disqualified or not,” Fawkes said on Thursday. “And it’s the same in the case of the 2-year-old yesterday. It took a couple of days, but fortunately they ultimately came around and gave us the record.”
Big Drama came back two years later to establish the six-furlong track record of 1:08.12, which stands to this day.
It didn’t take nearly as long for track officials to designate Amapola as the new 4 1/2-furlong track record holder. She completed the distance in 50.99 before being disqualified and placed sixth. Amapola, a daughter of Broken Vow, crossed the finish line first by 9 1/2 lengths. She is trained by Antonio Sano for Magic Stables LLC.