Obviously won the Del Mar Mile in 2012 and 2013 (shown).

Obviously won the Del Mar Mile in 2012 and 2013 (shown).

Benoit Photo

Obviously Seeks Third Del Mar Mile Tally

Irish-bred 7-year-old won 2012 and 2013 editions of grade II turf event at Del Mar.

Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino's two-time grade I winner Obviously will make his 2015 debut in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT), a race he has won twice, Aug. 23 at Del Mar.

On the sidelines since a fifth-place run in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), the speedy Irish-bred son of Choisir has eight wins from 13 starts at a mile on grass, including the 2014 and 2013 editions of the Shoemaker Mile (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park and the Del Mar Mile in 2013 and 2012. He's 3-for-4 on the Del Mar turf, with last year's fourth in the Del Mar Mile his only misfire.

Now 7, Obviously has been working steadily on the Del Mar grass since late July, with bullet five-furlong drills Aug. 2 (:59 3/5) and Aug. 9 (1:00 4/5). His last breeze, a 1:01 2/5 run at five furlongs Aug. 16, was the second-fastest at the distance that day.

"He's training great, as he always does," trainer Phil D'Amato said. "The last couple drills were the deciding factor to enter him to run, but the ultimate plan is to get in the Breeders' Cup again."

A seven-time graded winner with more than $1.4 million in earnings, Obviously first tried the Breeders' Cup Mile in 2012, when he ran third, and then ran fifth in the 2013 and 2014 editions. Unlike years past, however, D'Amato has altered his handling of the gelding. The Breders' Cup used to be the end of his season every year, but now the trainer wants to run a later campaign.

"After every Breeders' Cup we give him plenty of time off," D'Amato said. "This year we wanted to do something a little different. Rather than start early in the year and have the Breeders' Cup be the final race of his campaign, we wanted to run him in the Breeders' Cup and after."

There's ample speed in the Del Mar Mile—most notably grade I winner Winning Prize, and grade III-winning turf sprinter Marchman—but there's no doubt where Obviously will be. In his last two Breeder's Cup runs, he sped through the opening quarter-mile in :21 4/5 on both occasions, and went through a half-mile in :44 2/5 and :45.

"He has one way of going," D'Amato said. "He has shown that for a good three years or so now. If you want to challenge him early, that's fine. Many horses have tried it, but just about all have ended in the rear."

The other grade I winner in the field, Hronis Racing's Talco, looms as a closing threat coming off his first graded victory in the Shoemaker Mile last time out. Fellow Del Mar Mile entrant Bal a Bali  was fifth  in the Shoemaker Mile, but defeated Talco in their prior matchup, the American Stakes (gr. IIIT). 

NOVAK: Talco Upsets Shoemaker Mile

Other last-out winners entered include Arcadia Stakes (gr. II) victor Avanzare, Wickerr Stakes winner Pure Tactics, and undefeated Jimmy Bouncer

Jimmy Bouncer, a lightly raced 4-year-old colt by Square Eddie , won a five-furlong turf optional claiming event July 29 in his first start since October. It was just the fourth start of his career for trainer Doug O'Neill. The Del Mar Mile will be his first stakes try.

Completing the field is Wilkinson, a graded winner in 2012 and 2011; Argentine group I winner Di Giorgio, who hasn't won in five U.S. races; and Kulik Lodge, a four-time winner at optional claiming and maiden levels who will be making his graded stakes debut.

Entries: Del Mar Mile H. (G2T)

Del Mar, Sunday, August 23, 2015, Race 8

  • Grade IIT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 5:40 PM (local)
11Pure Tactics (TX)Mike E. Smith118Doug F. O'Neill-
22Talco (FR)Rafael Bejarano121John W. Sadler-
33Jimmy Bouncer (CA)Mario Gutierrez114Doug F. O'Neill-
44Bal a Bali (BRZ)Flavien Prat121Richard E. Mandella-
55Marchman (KY)Kent J. Desormeaux115J. Keith Desormeaux-
66Wilkinson (KY)Tyler Baze116Jeff Mullins-
77Kulik Lodge (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDrayden Van Dyke115Thomas F. Proctor-
88Winning Prize (ARG)Martin Garcia118Neil D. Drysdale-
99Di Giorgio (ARG)Felipe Valdez115Ronald L. McAnally-
1010Avanzare (KY)Gary L. Stevens120Thomas F. Proctor-