Obrigado Finds Winner's Circle in Round Table
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 6/13/2009 6:21:14 PM
Last Updated: 6/14/2009 7:11:33 PM
Heavily favored Obrigado ended a 15-race losing streak when he overpowered a small field in the 1 3/4-mile Round Table Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park June 13.
Trained by Neil Drysdale for Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso, the 6-year-old French-bred gelding rallied from last to sweep past Porfido en route to a 3 1/4-length win with Joel Rosario aboard. Drysdale made it back-to-back wins in the $100,000 Round Table after winning the marathon test last year with Cedar Mountain.
The 11-10 choice, Obrigado won for the first time since taking the 2007 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) in February 2007. The hard-trying son of Enrique has run in stakes races in 22 of his 24 starts over the past three years. He had placed in four graded events since his last win, including a third-place finish in the about 1 3/4-mile San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) April 19. The bay was coming off a troubled sixth-place finish in the Golden Gate Fields Turf Stakes (gr. IIT) May 30.
Obrigado dropped out to last in the five-horse Round Table field, just behind the Bobby Frankel-trained Porfido, as Plug Me In set off on a quick pace for the distance to lead the way. Early fractions were :24.80, :48.17 and 1:12.77. On the final turn Porfido and Obrigado, who was in tight briefly before anglng four paths wide, moved as a team on the rest of the field. They had the race to themselves in upper stretch.
The Chilean-bred Porfido fought gamely under David Flores but it was obvious as they reached mid-stretch that Obrigado, moving easily on the outside of his rival, was going to be too much. The winning time was 2:54.49 on firm footing.
"They were going a little fast for a mile and three quarters," Rosario said. "My horse comes from off the pace and it was perfect for him. I was following Porfido because he was the horse to beat. I just didn't want him to get too far in front of me."
Though Obrigado won for the first time in nine starts on the Hollywood turf, he had three seconds and three thirds over the layout previously.
"He likes this course," Drysdale said. "I liked the fact that he was way out the back. The plan was to let him settle because there was a lot of speed in the race for this type of race.”
Porfido finished 2 3/4 lengths in front of Zappa, with Mike Smith aboard. Leesider and Plug Me In trailed.
Obrigado, who paid $4.20, $2.80 and $2.10, improved his career mark to 6-5-8 in 31 starts with earnings of $666,504. Porfido, who ran third as the favorite in last year's Round Table, returned $3 and $2.20. Both Obrigado and Porfido carried 119 pounds. The grade II winner Zappa was $2.40 to show.
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