Big Drama, winner of the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) and the likely champion sprinter at next week’s Eclipse Awards, will begin his 5-year-old campaign against a short field in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector (gr. III) Jan. 15 at Gulfstream Park.
Based at Calder Casino & Race Course for trainer David Fawkes, Big Drama appears ready to pick up where he left off after scoring the BC Sprint by 1 1/2 lengths Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs. The son of Montbrook has been training exceptionally well in South Florida, most recently ripping off a bullet four-furlong work in :47 3/5 on Jan. 8. Regular rider Eibar Coa will be back aboard in the six-furlong event, which along with the Sugar Swirl (gr. III) anchors Gulfstream’s 10–race card.
Though Big Drama is likely to be an odds-on choice, he will have to overcome a serious threat. Custom for Carlos, a 5-year-old son of More Than Ready , won the Mr. Prospector a year ago and took the Count Fleet Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park in his last start. But the Count Fleet was back in April and the bay horse, who suffered a hoof injury in June, will have to defeat Big Drama off a nine-month layoff.
Custom for Carlos has been working well for trainer Eddie Kenneally at Palm Meadows, posting bullet breezes his last three times out. including a five-furlong move in 1:00 2/5 on Jan. 8. Julien Leparoux will have the mount on the probable second choice.