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Drama Drama Centerstage in Saturday's Pago Hop

NEW ORLEANS (Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012) – G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Drama Drama, who finished third in Keeneland’s Grade II Raven Run Stakes at seven furlongs over Polytrack in her most recent outing Oct. 20, returns to more familiar ground when she heads a field of eight sophomore fillies in Saturday’s $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes at Fair Grounds.

The Pago Hop, to be run at about one mile over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course, serves as the main event on the first Saturday program of the Crescent City oval’s 2012-2013 racing season which runs through March 31.

Before her third-place run over synthetic going last time, Drama Drama had posted a three-length tally over grass in a one-mile allowance win at Kentucky Downs Sept. 12. Previously, the daughter of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid finished third beaten a half-length for the win in Chicago’s $65,000 Hatoof Stakes on Arlington Million Day, Aug. 18. Jockey Eddie Martin Jr. is named to handle the reins on Drama Drama, who has been installed as the 3-1 choice in the Pago Hop morning line.

Capable of providing strong competition for Drama Drama on Saturday is Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Ire, coming off a half-length win Oct 26 over Keeneland’s Polytrack when going six furlongs. She has now finished on the board in her last five outings, including a third-place finish in the Grade III Arlington Oaks July 21 and back-to-back seconds in Arlington’s $65,000 Mariah’s Storm and Meafara stakes in June. Fair Grounds’ two-time defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik is slated for the stirrups.

John Chandler’s Francisca merits consideration in the Pago Hop. Although she suffered a troubled trip when unplaced in her last start over the Keeneland grass Oct. 7, she posted two wins over Arlington’s lawn last summer. Veteran jockey Mark Guidry, inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year, is listed for the irons.

Completing the Pago Hop field is Robert Zoeller’s Soonerette, Luis Quinonez; Joseph Allen’s State, Richard Eramia; Raut LLC’s Kazachka, Billy Williams; Stone Farm’s Cat Lore, James Graham; and Robert and Lawana Low’s Zapper Belle, Leondro Goncalves.