Oscar Performance Targeting Arlington Million

From the Media Team at Arlington Park:

  • Oscar Performance on Track for Arlington Million
  • Craft Show Impresses in Career Debut
  • Rivelli’s New York-Bred Dugout Thrives at Saratoga


Trainer Brian Lynch confirmed three-time Grade I winner Oscar Performance for the Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million on Saturday, Aug. 11. The 1¼-mile event for 3-year-olds and upward over the turf is one of five stakes carded for the International Festival of Racing. The $100,000 Bruce D. Memorial Stakes, Grade III $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes, Grade I $600,000 Beverly D. and Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes also highlight the turf festival.

The 4-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy has only run once this season when taking the Grade III Poker Stakes at Belmont Park on June 17. In winning the one-mile event, he broke the track record at the Elmont oval which was formerly set by Elusive Quality. Oscar Performance completed the one-mile journey in a time of 1:31.23 and in doing so, defeated graded stakes winners Made You Look as well as Voodoo Song, who took the Forbidden Apple Stakes at Belmont Park on July 14 in his next start.

“I was absolutely thrilled,” Lynch said. “There’s a lot of pressure when you’re dealing with those kind of horses so it was nice to see him work out the way it did.”

Oscar Performance has been working at Belmont Park, but will breeze over the Saratoga lawn on Sunday morning which is scheduled to be his penultimate move before the Million.

“He’s been doing well,” Lynch said. “Things got interrupted with the weather. I sent him up here to Saratoga and we’re working on the grass up here. We’ll work him one more time next week and finish him off.”

Liking the surface at Arlington will be no concern for Oscar Performance as he won last year’s edition of the Grade I Secretariat Stakes. A victory in the Arlington Million would make Oscar Performance the fifth horse to win both the Secretariat and Arlington Million. Awad (1993-95) Marlin (1996-97), Kicken Kris (2003-04) and Beach Patrol (2016-17) have so far been the only ones to conquer the Secretariat-Million double. It would also make him a Grade I winner at ages two, three and four. As a 2-year-old he shipped to Santa Anita to win the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and the following year won the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational prior to taking the Secretariat.

“He’s got versatility,” Lynch said. “He can be on the lead or if there’s more pace he can sit just off it. He’s very versatile that’s played a big card. He got the mile-and-a-quarter distance in the Secretariat and he did it almost a second quicker than Beach Patrol (winner of the Arlington Million). The Arlington Million is just such a prestigious race and he’s going to be retired at the end of year so it would be nice to have a win in the race on his resume.”

Should Oscar Performance run a good race in the Arlington Million, Lynch would shorten him up to one mile for the Grade I $1,000,000 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland Race Course on Oct. 6 with the ultimate goal being the Grade I $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. He will retire to Mill Ridge Farm at the end of the year.

If Oscar Performance does end up in the Shadwell Turf Mile, he will likely square off against two-time Grade I winning stablemate Heart to Heart, who will race in the Grade I $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap on the same day as the Million.

“It’s a nice position to be in to have those two horses in your barn,” Lynch said. “You hate to run them against each other, but if Heart to Heart should run well in the Fourstardave, he would go in the Shadwell.”

Oscar Performance would likely ship to Chicago on the Thursday of Million week. Regular rider Jose Ortiz will ship in to ride.

Other possible contenders for the Million include Spring Quality, Divisidero, Almanaar (GB), Robert Bruce (CHI), Catcho En Die (ARG), Twenty Four Seven, Va Bank (IRE), Deauville (IRE), Circus Couture (IRE), Century Dream (IRE), and Stormy Antarctic (GB).

The Arlington Million is a “Win and You’re In” event for the Grade I $4,000,000 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.


When your sibling is a two-time Grade I-winning millionaire, there some natural hopes and expectations.

Such were far from lost when three-time Illinois Horse of the Year Giant Oak’s three-quarter’s-sibling Craft Show dazzled in her career debut over the Arlington synthetic surface on Friday evening.

The 2-year-old daughter of Creative Cause went straight to the lead with no hesitation under jockey Sophie Doyle and took the field of nine maidens gate to wire to win the 5½ furlong event by two lengths. Trainer Jimmy Gulick was very pleased with his filly’s effort and stated that the $75,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie on Sep. 8 is a possible next start.

“She’s a beautiful filly,” Gulick said. “She does everything really, really well and we think that she’s got a hell of a future. I don’t think we’d stray too far away before we realize that she can or cannot win the Lassie. I think that’s what you’re looking at.”

Craft Show was facing a well-bred bunch in her career debut including a pair of fillies owned by Godolphin. Trained by Michael Stidham, eventual third-place finisher Carnival Colors (GB) is by Distorted Humor out of Carnival Court – a half-sister to three-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta. Godolphin’s other entrant Fend is by Street Sense out of the unraced A.P. Indy mare Goaltending whose dam was multiple graded stakes winner Game Face. She was slow breaking from the gate and was not a factor.

The victory was also a sweet one for owner Virginia H. Tarra, who owns and bred the dam Crafty Oak as well as Giant Oak.

“I was very excited,” Tarra said following the race. “When she was in the paddock she was just looking around like, ‘Oh my God where are you taking me?’ Then I was worried because the six was acting up and the eight was acting up and we’re in the middle. She shot out of there like a bullet. She had been working really well so we had hopes for her.”

Crafty Oak has produced 13 other foals, including three-time stakes winner and graded stakes placed Apple Martini as well as graded stakes placed Oak Brook, both of which are full siblings to Giant Oak.


Trainer Larry Rivelli understands that Saratoga is only for the best of the best, which is why he only sends his most quality Thoroughbreds to upstate New York for their prestigious summer meet.

On Monday afternoon, Rivelli won with New York-bred juvenile Dugout in a state-bred maiden special weight. Rivelli co-owns the son of Adios Charlie with Richard Ravin and Patricia’s Hope. Coming out the gate, Dugout showed the speed that most of Rivelli’s best 2-year-olds have and went straight to the front under Javier Castellano. He drew off at the top of the stretch to win by 7¼ lengths. The race was originally scheduled for the turf but was moved to the main track due to rain.

“He was a New York bred so that was easy, but you can’t go there without a loaded gun for sure,” Rivelli said. “It’s a great place to bring a good one if you have it and run for that kind of money. He had been working on the Polytrack here really well. I figured he would run well and I was actually happy that it rained. The track was not so deep it was packed down fast.”

Dugout is out of the Lit De Justice broodmare Rooney Doodle who has produced several solid runners for Rivelli.

“She was there (New York) to foal and then we brought her back to Florida,” Rivelli said. “We had about 14 mares and we picked one a couple of years ago to take to New York. It ended up being a good one.”

Dugout would likely stay in state-bred company according to Rivelli, who mentioned the $200,000 Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 24 or the $200,000 New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes on Sep. 29 could be possibilities for his next start.

Rivelli went on to speak of June maiden winner Strong Will – a $775,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders Sales’ March Sale of Two-Year-Olds In Training.

“He’s doing well,” Rivelli said of Strong Will. “I just backed off of him – he’s kind of going through a growth spurt. He’s already a big horse but he continues to grow, so there’s no reason for us to push him. We’ll point him toward some kind of Breeders’ Cup prep race if he keeps on going the way that he’s going.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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