HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Klaravich Stables Inc.’s Network Effect withstood race-long pressure in Saturday’s $100,000 Big Drama at Gulfstream Park, rallying in deep stretch to collect his first stakes victory.
The Big Drama, a seven-furlong sprint for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up, highlighted Saturday’s 12-race program that also featured $75,000 English Channel and the $75,000 Honey Ryder, a pair of 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and 3-year-old fillies, respectively.
Graded stakes-placed twice during the 2-year-old season, the 4-year-old Network Effect validated his 3-5 favoritism, prevailing by two lengths under Irad Ortiz.
The Chad Brown-trained son of Mark Valeski broke alertly to take an early lead on the backstretch but was quickly engaged by He Hate Me and Royal Squeeze before Royal Squeeze was sent to the lead under Edgar Zayas approaching the far turn. After a half-mile in 45.99 seconds, Noble Drama made a sweeping move under Joe Bravo on the turn and took a clear lead in upper stretch. Network Effect was far from done, however, re-rallying along the rail to catch Noble Drama approaching the finish.
“He was perfect. He helped me today from the gate. It’s the first time I rode him and he broke so good for me. He broke on top and I just put my hands down and let him relax and he relaxed so well for me. I just kept him there and waited for the moment to go,” Ortiz said. “I had nowhere to go by the three-eighths pole, but I said to myself, ‘Let me just ride him with patience and if something opens, I know he’s going to get there.’ I had so much horse.”
Noble Drama, whose dam is a half-sister to Eclipse champion Big Drama, finished 2 ½ lengths clear of third-place finisher Last Judgment.
Network Effect ran seven furlongs in 1:21.79 to pull out a victory that looked very much in doubt on the turn into the homestretch.
“I had horse the whole time,” Ortiz said. “At the three-eighths pole I asked him a little bit and he jumped on the heels of the horse on front of me, so I said, ‘Let me just leave him here,’ and I knew when something opened he was going to be there for me.”
Network Effect won at first asking at Saratoga in August 2018 before registering back-to-back finishes in the Nashua (G3) and Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct a few months later. He went to the sidelines for 11 months before returning to win an entry-level allowance at Aqueduct Nov. 10. He came back to finish off the board in the Cigar Mile (G1) and finish a close second in his 2020 debut in a March 28 second-level optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream.
“I think he’s a nice horse. They gave him some time and he came back good,” Ortiz said. “I think he’s a real horse.”