08/23/2013 3:03PM

Del Mar: Obviously the ‘gorilla’ for Mile repeat

Benoit & Associates
Trainer Mike Mitchell made the Del Mar Mile a late-summer target after Obviously won his first Grade 1 race in the Shoemaker Mile at Betfair Hollywood Park.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Obviously is such a standout in Sunday’s $200,000 Del Mar Mile that the three rival trainers with runners in the five-horse field are approaching the race with trepidation.

Obviously may be impossible to beat from the front in the Grade 2 turf race.

“If Obviously runs his ‘A’ race, it’s his,” said trainer John Sadler, who is running He Be Fire N Ice and Tigah.

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Obviously is the defending champion in the Del Mar Mile and has won his last two starts convincingly – the Grade 2 American Handicap and Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Betfair Hollywood Park. In both races, he led throughout, raced unchallenged, and won comfortably under jockey Joe Talamo.

Obviously, a 5-year-old gelding, races for Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino. Third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita last November behind Horse of the Year Wise Dan, Obviously can win his fifth graded stakes Sunday.

“He’s a gorillia,” Obviously’s trainer, Mike Mitchell, said. “He’s so good and so sharp. When he’s good, that’s the way he is.”

[PACIFIC CLASSIC: Get PPs, watch Sunday's Del Mar card live]

Mitchell made the Del Mar Mile a late-summer target after Obviously won his first Grade 1 race in the Shoemaker. He has worked steadily since arriving at Del Mar in late July, often recording the fastest, or one of the fastest, workouts of the morning.

“He’s had some really strong works,” Mitchell said. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Obviously is expected to lead in the Del Mar Mile, though trainer Mike Machowsky said that El Commodore, winner of an optional claimer over a mile on turf Aug. 1, may race near the front.

“Just watching Obviously’s races, he’s been pretty impressive,” Machowsky said. “He looks like a solid horse, but we’ll take a shot.”

El Commodore is drawn on the outside in the small field, next to Obviously. Machowsky said that jockey Garrett Gomez can send El Commodore to the front or stalk Obviously.

“We’ll see where we’re at,” Machowsky said.

The Sadler-trained He Be Fire N Ice won the California Dreamin Handicap for California-breds on turf July 21, while Tigah was a troubled third in the Wickerr Stakes on turf July 24.

He Be Fire N Ice, a closer, has won his last four starts on turf and makes his graded stakes debut Sunday.

“He Be Fire N Ice is a fighter, and he’ll run well,” Sadler said.

Tigah, winner of the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields on April 27, was beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Indy Point in the Wickerr after racing in traffic in early stretch.

“I think he would have been closer without trouble,” Sadler said.

Silentio won the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes at Santa Anita last December, but lost his first three starts of 2013. In two starts at Santa Anita, Silentio was third in the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes and second, by a nose, in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile behind Suggestive Boy. Silentio has not raced since finishing last of five in the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland on April 12, won by Wise Dan.

For Sunday, trainer Gary Mandella has modest expectations for Silentio, who is best as a stalker.

“You have to approach it for what it is – a comeback race,” he said. “It’s not the main goal for the year.

“We’ve always thought he had a bright future. We’ll let him run comfortably.”

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