Gulfstream News & Notes
Little Drama Looking to Bask in ‘Florida Sunshine’
Little Drama was sent to post as the even-money favorite for the Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 2, but the Florida-bred gelding had a meltdown in the stretch. Trainer Michael Mareina expects Harold Queen’s homebred to handle the heat a lot better in the $150,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 19.
“I told Mr. Queen, ‘You’ve got to have the only Florida bred that hates being in Florida. It’s funny, because it wasn’t that it was any hotter here than it was in New York in the Summer and at Saratoga. It’s nicer,” Mareina said with a chuckle. “But for some reason, he was dull a little bit. It took him a while for him to get back. He’s real sharp now.”
The son of Burning Roma had a most productive summer in New York, where he won a $90,000 allowance by three lengths, finished fourth in the Vosburgh (G1) and came in second in the Bold Ruler (G2).
Back with state-bred competition in the Sunshine State, Little Drama set a strong pace before fading to fifth in the stretch, beaten by more than six lengths by victorious Bahamian Squall, whom he is likely to meet again in the Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint.
“He was just a little flat for that race. I didn’t want him on the lead in there and he actually made the pace in 1:08-and-change. That’s not where I want him. The horse likes a target to run at,” Mareina said. “We should have a little more speed in the race, and he can sit and wait.”
A half-brother to 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Big Drama, Little Drama has earned more than $340,000 during his 19-race career.
“He had a great work the other day. He came home in :22 for fun,” said Mareina, who plans to make a jockey switch to Javier Castellano. “He’s brighter. When we first got here, he just wasn’t bright. Now, he’s bucking and squealing again.”
Successful Song to Seek One More Hit in Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff
When Successful Song captured the Ocala Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 30, trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. was aware that he might have been visiting the winner’s circle with the multiple stakes-winning mare for the last time.
Scheduled to be retired in time for the 2013 breeding season, Successful Song has earned in excess of $400,000 for Live Oak Plantation during her four-year racing career that includes four stakes triumphs.
“How much more can you do?” Plesa said. “She deserves it.”
However, the daughter of Successful Appeal came out of her Ocala score at “110 percent,” earning one more trip to post for the $300,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream on Jan. 19.
Win or lose, though, the 6-year-old mare will be retired to begin her broodmare career following the race.
"They’ve got two new stallions that they need to send mares to,” Plesa said. “I think that’s the main reason she’s going to the shed.”