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Obviously Targets Del Mar Mile Three-Peat

Irish-bred speed merchant meets Eddie Read winner Tom's Tribute in Aug. 24 clash.

Winner of the past two editions of the Del Mar Mile (gr. IIT), the speedster Obviously goes for a three-peat on the turf as part of the TVG Pacific Classic undercard Aug. 24 at the seaside track.

The Irish-bred 6-year-old son of Choisir owns the Del Mar one-mile turf mark, which he established in winning the 2012 renewal of the Del Mar Mile in 1:32.10. He draws the rail in the field of eight for Sunday's race, from where he'll likely be able to control the pace under jockey Joe Talamo. The Del Mar Mile is race 5 on the card with a 3 p.m. PDT tentative post.

Obviously comes off a gate-to-wire score by 1 1/2 lengths in the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) in 1:32.66 at Santa Anita Park June 14, and is 8-for-11 at the mile distance in his career.

Phil D'Amato trains the bay gelding for owners Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino. Obviously is a seven-time graded stakes winner since arriving in the United States from Ireland for the 2012 campaign. He is 2-for-2 so far in 2014, beginning the year with a victory in the American Stakes (gr. IIIT) May 17 at Santa Anita.

Obviously is 3-for-3 on the Del Mar turf and brings a lifetime mark of 11-4-2 in 20 starts with earnings of $1,337,361.

His major rival in the Del Mar Mile is Tom's Tribute , who delivered the biggest score of his career in the Eddie Read Stakes (gr. IT) to begin the Del Mar meet July 20. The 4-year-old son of Lion Heart stalked the pace from three lengths back while racing second. He then made his bid in the lane to carry on for a 1 1/4-length victory in the longest race of his career at 1 1/8 miles.

Mike Smith is back aboard Tom's Tribute, who clocked a 1:31.78 mile in winning the Thunder Road Stakes at Santa Anita in April. Jim Cassidy trains the chestnut colt for the Braly Family Trust.

Tom's Tribute tackled Obviously in the Shoemaker Mile. After steadying early, he ran on late while racing wide  to finish in a dead-heat for third, two lengths behind the winner.

Those two figure to take most of the wagering interest.

Lil Bit O'Fun is proven over the course and distance, upsetting the one-mile Wickerr Stakes handily at 20-1 from off the pace by 2 1/2 lengths July 23. The 6-year-old Langfuhr  gelding is also trained by D'Amato for owners Philip Belmonte, Henry Cohen, Mark Gorman, and Sterling Stables.

West Point Thoroughbreds' Rock Me Baby, a California-bred son of Rock Hard Ten, won a state-bred stakes by 3 1/2 lengths when favored at Del Mar in a race taken off the turf July 27. He is trained by Craig Dollase.

He Be Fire N Ice  was just half a length behind Obviously when second in last year's Del Mar Mile, and makes his first appearance for trainer Cliff Sise. The 6-year-old California-bred son of Unusual Heat has been on the shelf since finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) Nov. 2 as part of the John Sadler barn.

Grade II winner Handsome Mike  returns to the grass for trainer Doug O'Neill and Reddam Racing following a fifth-place effort in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II) on Polytrack July 26. Also in the field are grade III winner Tigah and Alpha Bullet, both coming off seconds in allowance conditions.

Entries: Del Mar Mile H. (G2T)

Del Mar, Sunday, August 24, 2014, Race 5

  • Grade IIT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $250,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 3:03 PM (local)
11Obviously (IRE)Joseph Talamo126Philip D'Amato-
22Tom's Tribute (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMike E. Smith122James M. Cassidy-
33Tigah (GB)Alonso Quinonez113Barry Abrams-
44Handsome Mike (KY)Mario Gutierrez116Doug F. O'Neill-
55Alpha Bullet (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateElvis Trujillo114Bobby Wayne Grayson-
66Rock Me Baby (CA)Corey S. Nakatani116Craig Dollase-
77Lil Bit O'Fun (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateAaron T. Gryder116Philip D'Amato-
88He Be Fire N Ice (CA)Kent J. Desormeaux117Clifford W. Sise, Jr.-