In 2364, this light cruiser was under the command of Captain Paul Rice. In that year, Commander William T. Riker, then-XO of the USS Hood, declined Starfleet's offer to take command of the Drake. Riker's classmate at Starfleet Academy, Paul Rice, would later take up the offer to command this starship.
Later that year, the Drake was destroyed along with its crew by an automated weapon known as the Echo Papa 607 while in orbit of Minos. An Echo Papa 607 drone, disguised as Captain Rice, later stated that the top speed of the Drake was warp 3. (TNG: "The Arsenal of Freedom")