May 19, 2024

Big Score registers 10-1 upset of Transylvania on Keeneland opening day

Big Score (black cap) turned in a solid turn of foot late to win the Transylvania (Matt Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

Big Score was beaten a little more than five lengths by Oscar Performance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last November, but in their rematch Friday in the $150,000 Transylvania (G3), the feature on Keeneland’s spring meet opener, it was Big Score who led home a parade of longshots while Oscar Performance struggled home fifth as the 3-5 choice.

Settled in mid-pack under Javier Castellano while Holiday Stone set a pace of :23.92, :48.48, and 1:13.17, Big Score waited for an opening in upper stretch. In second by the eighth pole, he wore down the 34-1 speedster to win by a half-length. Makarios completed the trifecta at 38-1 and was followed by Ticonderoga, Oscar Performance, Cowboy Culture, Sonic Boom, and Profiteer.

A homebred racing for George Krikorian and trained by Tim Yakteen, Big Score paid $22.40 as a 10-1 chance after completing 1 1/16 miles on turf labeled good in 1:43.23.

“We’ll look at Churchill most likely,” said Yakteen, referring to the American Turf (G2) on Kentucky Derby weekend as Big Score’s possible next start.

A debut winner at Del Mar last July, Big Score next finished second in the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf. He preceded his fifth in the Breeders’ Cup with a 3 1/4-length score in the $100,000 Zuma Beach at Santa Anita.

A Kentucky-bred by Mr. Big and out of the Unusual Heat mare Not Unusual, Big Score hails from the family Hall of Fame filly Tosmah. He’s now earned $237,800 from a line of 5-3-1-0.