Defend trainer looking for upset in Calder’s Big Drama Stakes


From Miami Herald Wire Services

David Fawkes will be thinking about the biggest star of his career and hoping that his current trainee, Defend, can pull off a mild upset Saturday when Calder Casino & Race Course runs the $55,000 Big Drama Stakes.

Fawkes trained the champion sprinter Big Drama, who began his career at Calder in 2008 and won six stakes races at the track.

In 2010, Big Drama won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Grade 1) at Churchill Downs and was later voted the winner of the Eclipse Award as Champion Male Sprinter

Defend probably will be one of the longer shots in Saturday’s six-furlong dirt stakes for 3-year-olds.

Fawkes also entered Value Trip, a colt who is unbeaten in two starts.

On Friday, Fawkes said he will scratch Value Trip because the Big Drama is just two weeks after the horse’s last race. Value Trip would have been one of the favorites in the Big Drama, along with Brave Dave, City of Weston and Singanothersong.

Barring other scratches, the race will have a nine-horse field.

“It means a lot to me that they named a race for Big Drama and, of course, we would like to win it,” Fawkes said.

Brave Dave, Singanothersong, Trinni Heart and Rockyshomerun have raced on or near the lead in most of their races.

City of Weston, who will be ridden for the first time by Jesus Rios, and Defend, with regular jockey Pedro Monterrey Jr., have closers’ running styles.

Defend has two wins in 10 starts and will be running in his first stakes.

Big Dave, trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., last year won one stakes at Monmouth Park in Oceanport. N.J., and two stakes at Calder.

Since March 15, Brave Dave has had a series of four straight bullet workouts at Calder. Elvis Trujillo will ride Brave Dave for the first time.

Jim Freer


The national teams of Germany and Ecuador, both ranked in the top 10 in the FIFA rankings, are playing a friendly May 29 at Florida Atlantic University.

The match, being hosted by the U.S. Soccer Federation, is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. so it can be televised live in Germany. Ecuador has been the surprise of South American World Cup qualifying, and sits in second place with a 6-2-2 record. Germany is in first place in its World Cup qualifying group and features players from Champions League semifinalists Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Ecuador is preparing for World Cup qualifiers against Peru on June 7 and Argentina on June 11. Ticket information has not been announced.

Michelle Kaufman

Women’s tennis

•  UM 4, Georgia Tech 1: The Hurricanes (18-5), ranked No. 10 in the nation and a No. 4 seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference championships, defeated fifth-seeded Georgia Tech in a quarterfinal match at the Cary (N.C.) Tennis Center.

Freshman Stephanie Wagner, the Canes’ top-ranked player at No. 60, clinched the victory with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Elizabeth Kilborn. UM will face top-seeded North Carolina in the conference semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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