Awesome Drama among eight Colleen hopefuls
From a Monmouth Park release
Awesome Drama makes her first start for a new barn and turf debut in Saturday’s $60,000 Colleen Stakes for 2-year-old fillies going five and a half furlongs at Monmouth Park.
“She came to us right after she broke her maiden,” said Gregg Sacco, who conditions the horse for Jim Ballinger. “She was very impressive for a first time starter. In that first race, she broke really well which is going to be important in sprint races on the turf.”
The 2-year-old filly by Big Drama out of the Awesome Again mare Awesome Thrill graduated from the maiden ranks on July 14 in a $27,000 maiden special weight event going five and a half furlongs at Presque Isle Downs where she went to the front right out of the gate and had to fight for the nose victory after losing the lead in the middle of the stretch.
Awesome Drama has worked twice since moving to her new home on the Monmouth Park backstretch. The latest came on Aug. 3 when she went three furlongs in :37 4/5 on the Monmouth turf course with the dogs out.
“We got a chance to get her on the grass and she handled it really well,” said Sacco about her last work. “We tried to get her on last week but the turf workouts were cancelled. It was just an easy three-eighths. Jose Ferrer, who will ride her on Saturday, was aboard and was very pleased with her. I asked him how it went and he said she handled it great.”
To grab the Colleen title, Awesome Drama will have to beat two stakes placed horses on Saturday. China Grove, who will break from the rail for Ben Colebrook, finished second in the Astoria Stakes on the main track at Belmont Park on June 9 and Harlands Thunder, who finished third in the Grade 3 Schuylerville in her latest start at Saratoga on July 22.
Red Lodge (5-2) is the morning line favorite. The Wesley Ward trainee broke her maiden in her second career start, sprinting on the grass at Belmont Park. In her most recent start, the daughter of Midshipman finished ninth in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. Leading rider Paco Lopez has the mount.