06/27/2013 2:22PM

Hollywood Park: Obviously has speed to spare in Shoemaker Mile

Benoit & Associates
Obviously (right) wins the Grade 2 American Handicap.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – They can’t keep up with him.

The more that jockey Joe Talamo rides Obviously, the more he sees that the 5-year-old gelding is almost unbeatable as a front-runner. Obviously used that tactic to win his third graded stakes in the last year in the Grade 2 American Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on May 25, a performance that makes him a heavy favorite to win Saturday’s $300,000 Shoemaker Mile on turf.

[HOLLYWOOD PARK: Get PPs, watch Saturday’s full card live]

“When he gets in front, he’ll put his ears up and start relaxing,” Talamo said. “You don’t want to get in a fight with him. I’ll let him find his best stride. He’s training unbelievably, and he came out of the race so good.”

Owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino and trained by Mike Mitchell, Obviously drew the outside post in the Grade 1 Shoemaker. The Shoemaker is the third race on a 10-race program that includes the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap for sprinters.

The Shoemaker Mile is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering a fees-paid berth in the BC Mile at Santa Anita in November.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

The Shoemaker field of five includes defending champion Jeranimo; Za Approval, winner of Grade 3 stakes in Florida and New Jersey this year; Wilkinson, who won the 2012 American Handicap; and Lucayan, winner of the French 2000 Guineas in 2012 who was second to Obviously in the American Handicap last month.

Obviously, an Irish-bred by Choisir, has won 7 of 14 starts and $668,361. Bought in fall 2011, Obviously was initially considered a turf sprinter by Mitchell, but thrived when tried over a mile last summer.

In the later months of 2012, Obviously won the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile and the Grade 2 Arroyo Seco Mile at Santa Anita before finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita to 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan and Animal Kingdom, who later won the 2013 Dubai World Cup.

Talamo has been Obviously’s regular rider since June 2012, a span of four wins in eight races. Through that time, Talamo has noticed that Obviously can be deceptive in the first half of a race, sometimes setting much quicker fractions than it seems through an opening half-mile.

“He’s one of the classiest and fastest horses I’ve ridden going that far,” Talamo said, adding that when Obviously runs a quarter- and half-mile in 23 and 46 seconds, “it feels like 24 and 48.”

Lately, it has taken an excellent performance to get in front of Obviously at the wire. In the BC Mile, he was beaten two lengths by Wise Dan. When Obviously made his 2013 comeback in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita in April, he set scorching fractions of 21.52 and 43.16, led in the final furlong, and was beaten a half-length by Chips All In, who had an perfect trip.

In the American Handicap, Obviously set his own pace of 23.26 and 46.09, led by 1 1/2 lengths on the backstretch, and won by 2 1/2 lengths over Lucayan. Talamo expects the same Saturday.

“He wants to be in front,” Talamo said. “He goes that fast and kicks on.”