08/25/2013 6:07PM

Del Mar: Obviously wins Del Mar Mile to earn return trip to Breeders' Cup Mile

Benoit & Associates
Obviously (No. 4), ridden by Joe Talamo, wins the Del Mar Mile on Sunday to improve to 3 for 3 on Del Mar's turf course.

DEL MAR, Calif. – For a horse accustomed to being on the lead, Obviously started slowly in the Del Mar Mile Handicap on Sunday, but he soon got in gear and saved his best for last.

After breaking a step slowly, Obviously reached the front before a quarter-mile was run, then turned on the jets for the final half of the race, rocketing through a 45.68-second final half-mile, with a final quarter-mile in 22.92. He needed to hustle because He Be Fire N Ice ran the race of his life, but Obviously held him off to win by a half-length, record his third straight win in a one-mile grass stakes, and remain on course for a rematch with Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

The Grade 2, $200,000 Del Mar Mile offers a fees-paid berth to the BC Mile. Obviously was winning this race for the second straight year. Last year, he carried just 118 pounds, but his success at his specialty left him the 125-pound highweight Sunday, forcing him to concede as many as eight pounds to his four rivals.

“He had to run hard the whole way,” said winning rider Joe Talamo after Obviously completed a mile on firm turf in 1:32.64. “When another horse gets close, he fights, but when he’s on his own, he waits.”

Obviously ($2.60) made it a little more interesting than expected by getting off to a slower start than El Commodore, who started just to his outside in post 5. “He always kind of breaks a little slow,” Talamo said. “[El Commodore] broke so fast.”

Obviously loomed up outside El Commodore heading into the first turn and had assumed his usual spot in front going around the first turn. He first put away El Commodore, then staved off bids from both He Be Fire N Ice and Silentio, who finished third, a neck behind He Be Fire N Ice.

Mike Mitchell trains Obviously, 5, for owners Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino. A gelding, Obviously has won nine times in 16 starts and is 3 for 3 on Del Mar’s turf course.

Obviously was third in last year’s BC Mile behind Wise Dan and Animal Kingdom.