A narrow field has been drawn for the $200,000 Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT), to be contested Aug. 25 over the lawn at the Southern California track. Consecutive victories by Irish-bred Obviously, who won the 2012 edition of the Del Mar Mile in record time of 1:32.10, seems well within reach.
Facing only four other contenders for the one-mile turf test, Joseph Scardino and Anthony Fanticola's 5-year-old Obviously will vie for his third straight graded stakes victory.
The Del Mar Mile will be run as race 5 on an 11-race TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I) day card, and has an approximate post time of 3:10 p.m. PDT.
Coming in off victories in the June 29 Shoemaker Mile Stakes (gr. IT) and the May 25 American Handicap (gr. IIT), both at Betfair Hollywood Park, Mike Mitchell trainee Obviously seems poised to repeat. After breaking his maiden at second asking, the bay gelding by Australian sire Choisir has yet to be out of the money. He has tallied up five turf victories at the mile distance as well as a third-place finish in last year's Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).
Regular rider Joe Talamo has the call on highweight Obviously, who will carry 125 pounds out of post 6, spotting the field from six to eight pounds.
Grade II winner Silentio, a Wertheimer and Frere homebred, will be sent out by Gary Mandella in an attempt to reach the winner's circle this year. Winless in three starts since his victory in the Dec. 26 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIT) over turf rated "good" at Santa Anita Park, he has placed this year in two graded stakes efforts. He was third in the Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT) and runner-up in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (gr. IT).
The 4-year-old dark bay colt will break from post 3 carrying Rafael Bejarano as part of his 119-pound impost.
Tigah, a British import, is one of an uncoupled pair entered for trainer John Sadler. The 5-year-old son of Dalakhani has three wins at the mile distance, including his only graded stakes score in the April 27 San Francisco Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Golden Gate Park.
Joel Rosario has the call on Tigah, who will break from the 2 hole carrying 118.
Multiple graded stakes placed El Commodore comes in off a one-mile allowance win over the grass at Del Mar just three weeks ago, besting the field by 2 1/2 lengths. Trained by Michael Machowsky for Kagele Brothers and John Gallegos, the 6-year-old son of El Prado will carry 117 as he breaks from the outside post 5 with Garrett Gomez in the irons.
Rounding out the field is the second Sadler trainee, Cicero Farms' He Be Fire N Ice, who comes in with a three-race win streak, the most recent victory being his first stakes win in the July 21 California Dreamin' Handicap over the Del Mar turf. Victor Espinoza, who has ridden He Be Fire N Ice in his last three victorious starts, has the mount. The 5-year-old son of Unusual Heat will carry 117, breaking from the rail.