11/05/2016 12:35PM

Oscar Performance gets break before 2017 turf campaign

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Barbara D. Livingston
Oscar Performance won the BC Juvenile Turf by 1 1/4 lengths over Lancaster Bomber.

ARCADIA, Ca. - Oscar Performance came out of his win in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Friday in “fantastic” condition, trainer Brian Lynch said Saturday morning, and will be pointed to a 2017 turf campaign.

Oscar Performance, getting a great trip pressing pace-setting Wellabled, won the Juvenile Turf by 1 1/4 lengths over Lancaster Bomber, with Good Samaritan just behind in third. Oscar Performance ran one mile on firm turf in 1:33.28 and got a career-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure while winning his third straight race, all turf routes.

“He’s very sharp today,” said Lynch, who trains Oscar Performance, a son of Kitten’s Joy, for owners Jerry and John Amerman. “He’ll go back to Belmont on Monday. Then once I start moving horses to Florida, he’ll be in the first load, and stabled at Palm Meadows. We’ll definitely give him some time. I’d say the Transylvania at Keeneland would be our plan. We’ll let him fill out a little, get some good condition on him, and have him ready for all those big turf races in the summer.”

Lancaster Bomber, who got a 91 Beyer, had been used overseas to make the pace for his stablemate Churchill, one of the leading hopes for the European 2017 classic races. On Friday he notched his second straight top-level runner-up finish after coming home second in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes. He’ll head back to Ireland on Monday – unless his owners unexpectedly keep him in America -- and it will be interesting to see if Lancaster Bomber, who appears to already have exceeded expectations this season, can continue improving next year.

Good Samaritan had the toughest-luck story of the Juvenile Turf, and easily could have been right with the winner at the finish had things unfolded more favorably.

Good Samaritan broke well enough and was guided into the two path while at the rear of the trailing pack, ahead of two rivals, into the first turn. In cramped quarters as the full field leaned into the bend, Intelligence Cross on the inside appeared to shift out, with J.S. Choice moving in response to avoid a potential collision. In doing so he pushed Good Samaritan and Rodaini out into the middle of the course, costing both horses valuable position. Good Samaritan subsequently was caught four paths wide the entire second turn, yet still rallied stoutly to just miss second.

“We were going into the turn in pretty good shape, and we came out of it with no position,” trainer Bill Mott said. “He looks good today, but the race was yesterday. It’s so hard to bring a horse in that’s good enough to win these races, and then something like that happens.”

Mott said Good Samaritan is scheduled to ship to the Kentucky farm of co-owner WinStar Farm for a brief break and then rejoin his stable at Payson Park in Florida later this year.

“We had toyed with the idea of running him on the dirt at some point. I think they’ve sort of opted-out of doing that in the next three weeks, at least,” Mott said.

Fourth-place Ticonderoga also ran well, his chances compromised by post 14. Ticonderoga was taken straight to the rail after the break but trailed the winner by some 15 lengths into the first turn, was still last into the homestretch, and finished strongly while galloping out in front. Trainer Chad Brown had changed bits since Good Samaritan lugged in throughout the stretch run of his most recent start, the Bourbon Stakes, and Ticonderoga definitely ran straighter Friday.