Oscar Performance Puts On a Show in Belmont Derby

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10th at BEL, Gr. Stk, $1,200,000GI Belmont Derby Invitational (1 1/4m)Winner: Oscar Performance, r, 3 by Kitten's Joy

Oscar Performance | Sarah Andrew

‘TDN Rising Star’ and GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf hero Oscar Performance (Kitten’s Joy) took his usual spot on the front end and wasn’t for catching in Saturday’s GI Belmont Derby Invitational. European raiders Called To The Bar (Ire) (Henrythenavigator) and Homesman (War Front) were second and third, respectively. Favored Yoshida (Jpn) (Hearts Cry {Jpn}), an eye-catching winner of Pimlico’s James W. Murphy May 20, was a disappointing fifth.

“When he inched away from them in the lane, I could see they were all throwing leather behind him,” winning trainer Brian Lynch said. “I thought he was going to be tough to catch from there. He proved he can get the mile and a quarter and I think he beat a quality field of horses today.”

Opening his sophomore account with a disappointing fifth as the 3-5 chalk in the GIII Transylvania S. Apr. 7 at Keeneland, the Amerman Racing homebred faded badly when put on Lasix for the first time in the GII American Turf S. May 6 at Churchill. Bouncing back without the raceday medication with a wire-to-wire tally in the GIII Pennine Ridge S. here last out June 3, Oscar Performance was made an 11-2 proposition in this return to Grade I competition.

Away from the stalls slowly, Oscar Performance shot through on the inside to vy with Big Score (Mr. Big) through an opening quarter in :23.96. He gained a narrow advantage entering the clubhouse turn and glided through a half mile in :49.48. Inching away on the far turn after six furlongs in an easy 1:14.37, the bay was set down by Jose Ortiz at the top of the lane, scampered clear past the three-sixteenths pole and kept on finding more.

“When he broke a tad slow and [Jose Ortiz] urged him a little bit to run up there and I saw the :23 and change, I thought, I hope it doesn’t turn into one of these sort of deals,” Lynch said. “When the :49 and change came up, I started to grin a little bit and when I saw the 1:14 and change come up, I broke into a big smile. We’ll take a deep breath here and talk with the Amermans and see where we go from here. He’s obviously turned his spring form around and he’s on the right track. At this stage, we’ll just enjoy that.”

Pedigree Notes:

Oscar Performance’s dam Devine Actress, bred in Kentucky by Hopewell Farm and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lail, RNA’d for $75,000 as a KEESEP yearling. She captured the 2010 Santa Lucia H. during her brief campaign for Amerman Racing and trainer David Hofmans. The winner has a year-older full-brother named Oscar Nominated, who their sire’s owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey campaigned to victories in the 2016 GIII Spiral S. and Dueling Grounds Derby. Devine Actress is also responsible for the 2-year-old filly Emmy Performance (Point of Entry) and a yearling colt by Ghostzapper. She was bred back to Flatter, but failed to get in foal.

Saturday, Belmont Park
BELMONT DERBY INVITATIONAL S.-GI, $1,200,000, BEL, 7-8, 3yo, 1 1/4mT, 2:00.25, fm.
1–OSCAR PERFORMANCE, 122, r, 3, by Kitten’s Joy
1st Dam: Devine Actress (SW, $107,300), by Theatrical (Ire)
2nd Dam: Devine Beauty, by Mr. Prospector
3rd Dam: Magical Holiday, by Slew o’ Gold
‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Amerman Racing LLC; B-Jerry Amerman
(KY); T-Brian A. Lynch; J-Jose L. Ortiz. $650,000. Lifetime
Record: 8-5-0-0, $1,497,632. *Full to Oscar Nominated, GSW
& GISP, $812,195. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Called To The Bar (Ire), 122, g, 3, Henrythenavigator–Perfect
Hedge (GB), by Unfuwain. O-Pia Brandt & Carina Klingberg
Hanson; B-Fair Salinia Ltd (IRE); T-Pia Brandt. $220,000.
3–Homesman, 122, c, 3, War Front–My Annette, by Red
Ransom. O-Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John
Magnier & Allen Stable, Inc.; B-Joseph Allen, LLC. (KY); T-Aidan
P. O’Brien. $120,000.Margins: 2, 3/4, NK. Odds: 5.50, 6.80, 11.80.
Also Ran: Good Samaritan, Yoshida (Jpn), Makarios, Whitecliffsofdover, Big Score, Ticonderoga, Senior Investment, Arklow. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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