The fifth Breeders' Cup try for Obviously did the trick.
A two-time grade I winner at a mile, the 8-year-old gelding cut back a bit in distance to take the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT) Nov. 5 at Santa Anita Park. Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino's Obviously, who raced in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) four times—earning a placing in 2012—scored his breakthrough World Championships win. Watch Video
Obviously began his career trained by the late Mike Mitchell, with Phil D'Amato serving as his assistant. After Mitchell's death in 2015, D'Amato took over Obviously's training. D'Amato was thinking about Mitchell after Saturday's close win.
"This is tremendous," D'Amato said. "A (first Breeders' Cup) win for me and for my old boss Mike Mitchell, who had the horse before me. ... Mike campaigned him to a couple of (grade I) victories and passed the baton on to me with this guy, and here I am with the Breeders' Cup win. Pretty amazing."
In Saturday's test, Obviously forged a clear lead through a quarter-mile in :21.41 under Flavien Prat and took the field through a half-mile in :43.08. The son of Choisir then held off a late charge from Om to score a nose victory, completing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:11.33. Pure Sensation finished third beind the top two, who are both based in Southern California.
"I got a good trip. He didn't break well like he does every time but when I sent him and he got the lead he got comfortable," said Prat, who also secured his first Breeders' Cup win. "I asked him before the dirt (crossover) and he went on. He got a little tired but the wire was there."
D'Amato hadn't been thinking Breeders' Cup this season until Obviously was shipped east and scored a 3 3/4-length victory in the one-mile Poker Stakes (gr. IIIT) June 18 at Belmont Park. Front-running Obviously then led the City of Hope Mile Stakes (gr. IIT) into the stretch at Santa Anita before fading to third in that Oct. 8 test.
The Turf Sprint victory marks the third grade I win for Obviously and first since his back to back scores in the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (gr. IT) in 2013 and 2014 at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita Park.
Scardino credited D'Amato with top handling of the veteran runner.
"I want to give kudos to Phil for taking care of this horse the way he has," Scardino said. "At 8-years-old, he's a marvel. So we can't thank him enough, and all the people that help him in the barn; it's just been a great experience. Eight years old, still hanging in there."
"He's a wonder-horse to me," D'Amato said.
Bred in Ireland by Deidre Cogan, Obviously is out of the Montjeu mare Leala. He improved his record to 13-6-4 from 29 starts, for earnings of $2,321,751.