Oftentimes in great films, there are some scenes one wishes to look away from or even skip entirely, yet those are often the very moments that make the story more meaningful.
Just weeks ago, the worst emotions this sport can provide flooded the connections of Oscar Performance as they watched Jose Ortiz ease their beloved horse near the stretch in the G1 Arlington Million, in which he was one of the favorites to win. Dismounting his steed with obvious concern, Ortiz stood quietly with the big bay colt until he was quickly loaded onto the equine ambulance and sped away.
To the great relief of all, upon further evaluation, the Breeders’ Cup winning son of Kittens Joy came out of the race shockingly with no physical ailments and soon resumed training for trainer Brian Lynch. Though no one wants to experience such moments of fear, it was a scene that reminded his connections of their true love and devotion for the horse that has brought such joy and success to the Amerman Stable.
Putting the scare behind them, the team pressed on and set their sights on the next venture for their grand star. Choosing to avoid facing stablemate Heart to Heart in the Shadwell Turf Mile next month, Oscar Performance traveled to Canada to compete in the prestigious G1 Woodbine Mile against some of the finest turf horses currently training in North America.
With his past performance putting a shroud of questions around the colt, he was not favored in the field of 8, but all were anticipating a reassuring rebound from the Brian Lynch trained bay.
Though this would be the colts first venture over the Woodbine terrain, the proven performer assuredly restated that this was a scene often rehearsed and one he didn’t need to be a box office hit for it to make the needed impression.
As the gates called action, the colt broke comfortably and soon found himself stationed right where he needed to be for the duration of the race. With a dramatic flare of a professional, he responded to the queue of Jose Ortiz with gusto, claiming unchallenged victory over the Canadian turf course by 1 ½ lengths.
Reigning victorious for America, Oscar Performance not only claimed his fourth Grade 1 victory but earned an automatic berth into the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile come the first weekend of November at Churchill Downs.
With 8 wins in 14 starts and now over $2 million in earnings, some may say this was a multiple graded stakes and Breeders’ Cup winning horse doing what is expected of a horse of his caliber. However, this was a victory of particular emotion and appreciation for the his connections. As the colt’s career, perhaps even life, flashed before the eyes of his connections in Chicago, the future of Oscar Performance was unknown– little to their knowledge, their beloved horse would return to win a G1 just weeks later…A very welcome plot twist, indeed.
BUT the ending to this thrilling script is yet to be revealed. As Oscar Performance will quietly continue to prep and perfect for the next scene, the big stage yet again awaits this handsome star.
As the horse who brought Jose Ortiz his very first Breeders’ Cup win in the Juvenile Turf of 2016, the pair look to create a sequel that will try to rival anything this colt has ever done before.
You’ve had us at the edge of our seats, what next do you have in store next for your audience?
…The Oscar Performance awaits at Churchill Downs this November.
Photo by Sophie Shore and our friends at Eclipse Sportswire