About 30 miles from Hollywood, Oscar Performance delivered an award-winning effort to secure a 1 1/4-length victory in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 4 at Santa Anita Park. Watch Video
After tracking speedy Wellabled through a half-mile in :45.88 under jockey Jose Ortiz, Amerman Racing Stables' homebred Oscar Performance moved to the lead in the far turn and was not seriously challenged in the stretch to win the first of four grade I Breeders' Cup stakes on Friday's card.
"Absolutely fantastic. You always hope that it's in the stars and it's lovely when they all line up," said trainer Brian Lynch, who secured his first Breeders' Cup win. "He's always been a little bit above the other 2-year-olds and we've worked him with the older horses. He sat and waited lovely and kicked it in in his works, so it was nice to see it all come to play today. Jose got him to cruise down the backside and kicked it in."
A son of Kitten's Joy —Devine Actress, by Theatrical, Oscar Performance secured his third straight win and first grade I score, completing one mile on firm turf in 1:33.28.
Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Susan Magnier's Lancaster Bomber finished second, followed by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, and SF Racing's Good Samaritan, who had trouble in the first turn where he was swept very wide.
The winner returned $15.20, $8, and $5.60 across the board while Lancaster Bomber paid $11.20 to place and $6.40 to show. Good Samaritan, sent off the 5-2 favorite, returned $3.40 to show.
Wellabled and jockey E. T. Baird seized the lead going into the first turn and posted a quarter mile in :22.30 but Ortiz and Oscar Performance quickly settled into a tracking position. Oscar Performance engaged the early leader in the turn and after a few strides took command through six furlongs in 1:09.44.
"I had a perfect trip. He broke very alertly. I put myself where I wanted to be, right behind the speed," said Ortiz, who also secured his first Breeders' Cup score. "Approaching the half-mile pole I felt I had a lot horse underneath me, so I just kind of waited until I crossed the quarter pole to unleash him."
Oscar Performance made his first three career starts in New York, winning a maiden race by 10 1/4 lengths Aug. 20 on the Saratoga Race Course turf before scoring a front-running, six-length win in the Pilgrim (gr. IIIT) on the Belmont Park inner turf.
Grade II winner Good Samaritan, by Harlan's Holiday, proved courageous after trouble in the first turn forced hin to shuffle back.
"On the first turn, it looked like the horse in front of me clipped heels so I had to take a hold of him and wait a little longer," said jockey Joel Rosario. "After all of the (early trouble), he responded very nicely. He's a good horse."
Bred in Kentucky by Jerry Amerman, Oscar Performance is a full brother to grade III winner Oscar Nominated.