Noble Drama passes up ‘Sure Thing’ at Gulfstream for graded glory

August 12, 2021

Charles Town Classic (G2) Targeted for David Fawkes Trainee

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.– Although Harold Queen’s Noble Drama would have been looked upon as a ‘sure thing’ by many bettors, the 6-year-old multiple-stakes winner with Grade 1 bloodlines will bypass a title defense in Saturday’s $75,000 Benny The Bull at Gulfstream Park in search of graded glory.

“I’m thinking Charles Town,” trainer David Fawkes said Wednesday. 

Fawkes has his sights set on the $800,000 Charles Town Classic (G2), a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 3-year-olds and up scheduled for Aug. 27.

“I think he fits in there really well,” Fawkes said, “and I’ve won the race before.”

Fawkes saddled Duke of Mischief for a 2 ¼-length victory over Game on Dude in the 2011 Charles Town Classic. The Florida-bred son of Graeme Hall returned the following year to finish second behind Caixa Eletronica.

Out of a half-sister to 2010 Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Big Drama and full sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Sheer Drama, Noble Drama has won seven stakes and more than $700,000 in purses while racing in Florida, but the gelded son of Gone Astray came up short in only one graded-stakes opportunity.

“I just think this here he’s gotten better than normal. He seems better than he used to be,” Fawkes said. “His comeback race was good, and his second race is better. I just feel like he’s doing really good and deserves an opportunity like that.”

Fan Favorite Noble Drama is 2-for-2 in mile overnight handicap starts since returning from a four-month layoff following his second-place finish in the $200,000 Sunshine Classic during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet. He captured the May 22 My Name’s Jimmy with a last-to-first surge before defeating a very talented field of rivals with another last to first score in the July 11 City of Dania.

In Noble Drama’s absence, a field of seven veteran stakes performers has been assembled for the Benny The Bull, a seven-furlong stakes for Florida-breds.

Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s Shivaree and Garter and Tie were entered Wednesday with trainer Ralph Nicks hoping that the homebreds can return to winning form. Shivaree, the runner-up in the 2020 Florida Derby (G1), is winless in four starts this year. Garter and Tie, a multiple-stakes winner who finished a troubled third behind Noble Drama in last year’s Benny The Bull, is scheduled to make his 2021 debut Saturday.

Owner/trainer Kathleen O’Connell’s Well Defined, who captured the 2019 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, is scheduled to seek his fifth victory in eight races this year in the Benny The Bull. Gary Barber and Michael Sebastian’s Untitled, who finished second in the 2020 Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct, is set to come off a 5 ½-month layoff.

Owner/trainer Larry Bates’ With Verve, owner/trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Silver Enough, IAB Stables and Walter Fralick’s Quenane; Rodney Lundock’s Pro Quality round out the field; and Hacienda Real Racing LLC’s Travy Boy round out the field.

Gulfstream Park Press Release
Photo: Noble Drama winning the City of Diana. (Lauren King) 

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