Sheer Drama passes all tests in Delaware Handicap
Any doubts that Sheer Drama lacked the fortitude to win the big one were laid to rest Saturday when the five-year-old mare proved best in the $750,000 Delaware H. (G1).
Runner-up in four of her five previous starts heading into the Del 'Cap, Sheer Drama not only was suffering from a case of seconditis but also possessed a pedigree some considered insufficient to get 10 furlongs.
Sheer Drama enthusiastically squashed those sentiments with a good-looking win under Joe Bravo, who had the mare ideally placed in second behind Frivolous through splits of :24.45, :48.83, and 1:12.57.
Bidding for the lead approaching the quarter pole, Sheer Drama wrested control from Frivolous after entering the stretch and pulled away from that determined rival inside the final sixteenth to score by two lengths.
The 5-2 second choice in the field of seven, Sheer Drama paid $7 after completing the distance in 2:01.58 over a fast track.
The result reversed the order of finish from the June 13 Fleur de Lis H. (G2) at Churchill Downs, won by Frivolous at odds of 32-1. Jockey Jon Court took the smart decision of attempting to steal the Del 'Cap from post 1, but she couldn't hold off Sheer Drama. This was easily the best run in a major stakes for Frivolous outside Churchill Downs, where she also won the Falls City H. (G2) in an upset last November.
In a race won in recent years by Royal Delta (twice) and Blind Luck (in an epic duel with Havre de Grace), this was far from a vintage Delaware Handicap field. None of the other entrants were ever involved, including 19-10 favorite Rosalind, who finished fifth and is likely headed back to turf.
In a division lacking much star power outside dual champion Beholder, Sheer Drama has now firmly stated her case to be near the top of the pecking order. Her consistency this season has been admirable, with a decisive victory in the Royal Delta (G2) sandwiched between second-place finishes in the Fleur de Lis, La Troienne (G1), Rampart (G3) and Sunshine Millions Distaff.
Sheer Drama, by Burning Roma, was bred in Florida by owner Harold Queen. She's a half-sister to 2010 champion sprinter Big Drama and stakes winner Drama's Way, and a full sister to stakes winners Little Drama and Queen Drama. It goes without saying the Notebook mare Riveting Drama has done an excellent job rearing her offspring.
Sheer Drama nearly doubled her career earnings, to $918,840, with this victory. Trainer David Fawkes, who also conditioned Big Drama, knows how to condition a champion, and more wins like this from Sheer Drama will put in her in the discussion for an Eclipse Award.