Harold Queen's Noble Drama couldn't reasonably be expected to reach the heights of two highly accomplished family members, but the 5-year-old son of Gone Astray has shown more than enough talent to be considered a serious contender in Saturday's $200,000 Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park.
Out of a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Big Drama and full-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Sheer Drama, Noble Drama will seek to establish dominance over six rivals in the 1 1/8-mile headliner on the Sunshine Millions program that will feature four stakes for Florida-breds.
A multiple-stakes winner in his own right, Noble Drama returned from an eight-month layoff to score an eye-catching 2 ¾-length triumph in a one-turn mile optional claiming allowance Dec. 22 at Gulfstream Park.
“He ran huge. He just galloped and won like it was nothing,” trainer David Fawkes said. “He ran very big. He came in from the Queen farm looking unbelievable.”
Big Drama, who earned $2.7 million and was honored with an Eclipse Award after winning the 2010 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), excelled at sprint distances but was a stakes winner around two turns. Sheer Drama, who earned $1.6 million and won three Grade 1 stakes for fillies and mares, was at her very best while racing around two turns.
Noble Drama won the 2018 Florida Sire Stakes Silver Charm at Tampa Bay Downs at a mile and 40 yards and the 2018 Florida Sire Stakes Wildcat Heir at the one-turn mile distance.
“He may be better one turn, but he did win two turns at Tampa,” Fawkes said. “I don't know that it really makes a difference. He just needs a trip.”
Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount.
Equine Authority Inc.'s Red Crescent is a veteran campaigner who enters the Classic in career-best form. The 6-year-old gelded son of Overdriven won back-to-back wins at Gulfstream Park West, including a victory in the Sunshine Millions Classic Preview that earned him a run in graded-stakes company in the Dec. 14 Harlan's Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream. He attended the pace into the stretch before weakening to fourth, beaten three lengths by victorious War Story.
Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to ride Red Crescent for the first time Saturday.
Trainer Mark Casse entered two Live Oak Plantation homebreds in the Classic – Salute With Honor and Tap the Mojo. Salute With Honor won back-to-back optional claiming allowances before finishing fourth in the Autumn (G2) over Woodbine's synthetic surface. The 6-year-old gelded son of To Honor and Serve an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park last season. Tap the Mojo made a successful transition from synthetic to dirt to win an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park Dec. 29.
Tyler Gaffalione has the mount aboard Salute With Honor, while Luis Saez has been named to ride Tap the Mojo.
Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc.'s Jay's Way, who has been off the board in his three most recent races, is slated to make his third start in the Sunshine Millions Classic, in which he finished second last year after winning in 2018.
My Purple Haze Stables' Squeeze Adios, an optional claiming allowance winner at a mile last time out; and Paradise Farms Corp. and Peter Jacoutot's Super Dude, a veteran campaigner who is slated to make his first start at Gulfstream Saturday; round out the field.
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