Updated on 04/10/2017 2:09PM

Big Score rallies from midpack for Transylvania victory

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Big Score paid $22.40 in winning the Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland on Friday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Big Score was not a serious factor last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, won by Oscar Performance.

But when rematched in their respective 3-year-old debuts Friday at Keeneland in the Grade 3, $150,000 Transylvania Stakes, the results were far different, with Big Score racing to a 10-1 victory while Oscar Performance finished fifth as the 7-10 favorite.

Ridden by Javier Castellano, Big Score rallied from mid-pack in a field of eight to win the Transylvania, the opening-day feature of the 15-day spring meet, by a half-length over Holiday Stone, a 34-1 shot who made all the running under Luis Saez. Makarios ran on late to be third at 38-1, with Ticonderoga going evenly to be fourth as the 2-1 second choice.

“I had a wonderful trip,” Castellano said.

Big Score was the second choice in the Nov. 5 BC Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita following three sharp performances on his home circuit of southern California. Laid up, then regrouped and shipped eastward by trainer Tim Yakteen, the dark bay colt punched home Friday with great effectiveness and is likely to proceed to the next major race in the division on this circuit, the Grade 2 American Turf on the May 6 Kentucky Derby undercard, according to Yakteen.

“We were expecting a strong effort, but you never know until you run,” said Yakteen, who was on hand. “He’s a good horse.”

Big Score, bred and owned by southern California businessman George Krikorian, returned $22.40 after finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.23 over a turf course rated good. The son of Mr. Big now has won three of five starts and was victorious in a graded race for the first time Friday.

Oscar Performance, always prominent in his BC Juvenile Turf triumph for trainer Brian Lynch, had no apparent mishap Friday under Jose Ortiz, stalking the pace while saving ground but lacking a response when an opening presented itself as the field swung for home.

The vertical mutuels were huge: the $2 exacta (3-9) paid $328.60, the $1 trifecta (3-9-2) returned $2,481.40, and the 10-cent superfecta (3-9-2-5) was worth $1,034.81.

Attendance on a chilly but mostly sunny afternoon was reported at 14,301.

The Transylvania victory was the second on the 10-race card for Castellano. Two other jockeys, Corey Lanerie and Jose Ortiz, also had riding doubles, while trainer Wesley Ward had bookend winners with Fairyland in the first and Kirby’s Penny in the last.