Obviously Breaks Course Mark in Del Mar Mile
A hard-charging Mr. Commons had to settle for second, finishing a nose behind the winner, who was sent off at 11-10 odds.
Irish-bred Obviously, who challenged the Del Mar course mark in winning an allowance/optional claiming race Aug. 2, was making his first graded-stakes appearance while clocking a time of 1:32.10 on firm ground. The former mark of 1:32.21 was established by Three Valleys in winning the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) Sept. 4, 2005.
"He was more keen with me today than the other day." Talamo noted. "But that was good. I needed every inch to get it done. He just ran outstanding. He's a really good horse. At the sixteenth pole I could hear (Mr. Commons) coming. Good thing I still had a little bit left in the tank."
Mike Mitchell trains Obviously for owners Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino. The 4-year-old gelding, bred by Miss Deidre Cogan, is by Choisir out of the Montjeu mare Leala.
"From the eighth pole home I saw that other horse coming at me and said 'ugh,' but it was a good horse race," said Mitchell, who is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor this spring but made the trip to Del Mar.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, Obviously broke from the far outside in the field of six and soon overtook Tale of a Champion, who led out of the gate from the inside post. After an opening quarter-mile of :22.64, Obviously opened up a sizable five-length advantage on the backstretch while getting the half-mile in :45.45. He remained in firm control on the turn for home, reaching the quarter pole in 1:08.35 leading by four lengths.
Mr. Commons, emerging from well back in the field coming off the far turn, flew down the homestretch with Brice Blanc aboard. But while making up much ground in the drive, the wire came just in time for the brilliant Obviously, who won under left-handed urging from Talamo.
"Tough one," Blanc said of the narrow defeat. "He really leveled and ran the last part very well. We've been working on that in the mornings; working to get him to finish better. He did today. I could tell I was beaten. I was hoping we'd get there, but not quite."
Jeranimo, winner of the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) in his most recent start, trailed the field around the bend and put in a good stretch run but was a well-beaten third, 4 3/4 lengths back, as the 123-pound top weight. Norvsky, Calimonco, and Tale of a Champion completed the order.
Obviously was second in the six-furlong Robert K. Kerlan at Betfair Hollywood Park in his most recent stakes appearance. Stretched to two turns for the first time in six starts for Mitchell, the bay gelding served notice of what was to come with his five-length win going a mile Aug. 2 at Del Mar.
He began his career in Ireland, winning two of three starts in 2011. Obviously's lifetime mark stands at 5-3-1 in 10 races with earnings of $270,361.
Obviously carried 118 pounds and rewarded his backers with a payoff of $4.20, $3.40, and $2.40. Mr. Commons, rebounding well from a disappointing fourth in the Shoemaker Mile, returned $4.40 and $2.80 while completing a $17.20 exacta. Jeranimo paid $2.40 to show.
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