Unraced since his fifth place finish in the Grade-1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf, George Krikorian’s homebred Big Score scored big in the feature race on opening day of the Keeneland Spring Meet, the Grade-3 Transylvania Stakes for 3-year-olds going 1-1/16th mile on the turf. The dark bay/brown son of Mr. Big wore down pacesetter Holiday Stone in the final strides to win by a half length. Favorite Oscar Performance, the only Grade-1 stakes winner (BC Juvenile Turf) in the eight-horse field, came up empty in the stretch and faded to fifth.
“I had a wonderful trip. I really like the way he did it today—very relaxed, very comfortable, good rhythm all the way through the race,” said Javier Castellano, who rode Big Score, in an interview with the Bloodhorse. “I kept track of the pace. The way he did it (winning from off the pace) was phenomenal.” Read the entire bloodhorse.com article and watch the race-replay here.
Big Score, winner of his first-out start on the Del Mar Turf by 2-3/4 lengths and subsequently winning the Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita Park last year by 3-1/4 lengths, is trained by Tim Yakteen.
Today’s result wasn’t a surprise to the winning trainer, he admitted to TDN.
“We were expecting a strong effort, but until you run you never know,” Yakteen said. “He’s a good horse. I’m really happy for George. He stands Mr. Big, and this is a big start for him.” Read TDN’s full race recount here.