Obviously, Winning Prize Clash in Shoemaker
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 6/11/2014 9:27:45 PM
Last Updated: 6/13/2014 3:41:05 PM
Obviously was an easy winner in the American Stakes on May 17.
Fresh off a front-running romp in the American Stakes (gr. IIIT) one month ago, Obviously takes on fellow grade I winner Winning Prize and several other talented older runners in the $400,000 Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) June 14 at Santa Anita Park.
The Shoemaker is race 7 on the Saturday card, immediately preceding another grade I race, the Vanity Stakes for fillies and mares on the Santa Anita main track. The tentatively scheduled post time for the Shoemaker is 4 p.m. PDT. The race is a "Win & You're In" event with a guaranteed starting berth in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) for the winning entry.
The speedy Obviously showed no rust in winning the one-mile American May 17, his first start since showing speed and fading to fifth in the Breeders' Cup Mile 6 1/2 months earlier. Now trained by Phil D'Amato, who took over the barn of his mentor Mike Mitchell this year, the brilliant 6-year-old son of Choisir won last year's Shoemaker in front-running fashion by 3 1/2 lengths in the race's final renewal at Hollywood Park.
A 10-time winner with six placings and earnings of nearly $1.1 million in a 19-race career for owners Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, Obviously figures to be gunning from the rail under 121 pounds with Joe Talamo in the saddle.
The 124-pound high weight is David Heerensperger and Jose Nelson's Winning Prize, who was scratched out of the American by Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale. The 5-year-old Argentinian-bred son of Pure Prize has not been to the post since winning the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) over the course by half a length while setting the pace March 8. He began the year with a victory in the one-mile Arcadia Stakes (gr. IIT) five weeks earlier.
Winning Prize likes to be forwardly placed and his presence assures a hot tempo, though Obviously has proven more than capable of providing that on his own. Corey Nakatani has the call from post 4 on Winning Prize, an eight-time victor in 13 races after beginning his career in Argentina, where he won a pair of group I races. The dark bay has captured three of five starts in North America.
The Shoemaker figures to be the acid test for Tom's Tribute, who came from 11 lengths off the pace to win the Thunder Road Stakes in his most recent start April 6, tying the course record of 1:31.78 established by two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan in winning the Breeders' Cup Mile in 2012. Tom and Marilyn Braly's 4-year-old son of Lion Heart is trained by James Cassidy and gets the services of Kent Desormeaux.
Spicing up the lineup for the this year's Shoemaker are a pair of New York shippers, Jack Milton and Summer Front.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will be represented by Jack Milton, who comes off a 2 3/4-length win in the one-mile Poker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park May 26. A two-time stakes winner on turf, the 4-year-old by War Front gets Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano, who comes along for the ride on the consistent Gary Barber-owned colt.
Fresh off victory in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with Tonalist, trainer Christophe Clement sends out the hard-knocking Summer Front, who shortens up following a close second in the 1 1/8-mile Fort Marcy Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont May 3.
A 5-year-old horse by War Front, Summer Front possesses a stalking style and is an eight-time stakes winner on turf from 15 tries. He has been particularly effective at one mile with five wins from six starts at the distance. The Waterford Stable runner has amassed earnings of $734,140.
Silentio was no match for Obviously last time but last fall's Breeders' Cup Mile third-place finisher could move up considerably if a pace duel develops. Owned by his breeders, Wertheimer and Frere, the 5-year-old son of Silent Name rallied from well back to take the Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood last November by a game nose over both Summer Front and Winning Prize. Victor Espinoza takes over on the strapping dark bay horse for trainer Gary Mandella.
California-bred Pulpit's Express takes a big step up for trainer John Sadler off an allowance/optional claiming win at the one-mile distance May 26 at Santa Anita.
$400,000 Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT, Race 7, 4 p.m.), 3 & Up (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Obviously (IRE), J Talamo, 121, P D'Amato
2. Jack Milton (KY), J Castellano, 119, T A Pletcher
3. Tom's Tribute (KY), K J Desormeaux, 119, J M Cassidy
4. Winning Prize (ARG), C S Nakatani, 124, N D Drysdale
5. Summer Front (KY), J Bravo, 119, C Clement
6. Pulpit's Express (CA), D Van Dyke, 119, J W Sadler
7. Silentio (KY), V Espinoza, 119, G Mandella
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