05/23/2013 3:37PM

Hollywood Park: Obviously may have to adapt in American Handicap

Benoit & Associates
Obviously was second, beaten a half-length, in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita on April 20.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Obviously has earned his status as one of California’s top turf milers by taking control of races from the start.

The strategy worked with wins in two Grade 2 races last year – the Del Mar Mile and Arroyo Seco Mile – and a game third to 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita last fall.

In Saturday’s $150,000 American Handicap over a mile on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park, Obviously will be favored to win his third stakes. To do so, he may need to display a more versatile running style.

Racing Aptitude, unraced since winning an optional claimer at Del Mar last August, and Chosen Miracle, who has been second or third in two graded stakes for turf sprinters in the last year, could press Obviously for the lead.

The presence of those runners may force jockey Joe Talamo to make key decisions in the opening furlongs aboard Obviously. But strategy will not be a subject of a prerace conference between Talamo and trainer Mike Mitchell.

“I won’t say anything to Joe and fill him with ideas,” Mitchell said. “I haven’t given him any ideas in the past.”

Talamo has been aboard the 5-year-old Obviously in his last seven starts, including the two stakes wins and the BC Mile last fall. In the Del Mar Mile, Talamo had Obviously in front by five lengths after a half-mile and held on to win by a nose over Mr. Commons. The early margin seemed wider to Mitchell and left him worried that Talamo had used too much of Obviously’s energy.

“He was eight in front and I was ready to choke him when he got back,” Mitchell said. “At the eighth pole, I said, ‘I love that guy.’ ”

The Grade 2 American Handicap is Obviously’s second start of 2013. Owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino, Obviously was second, beaten a half-length, by Chips All In in the Grade 3 San Simeon Handicap over about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on April 20. Chosen Miracle was a troubled third in that race, running in traffic in the stretch.

“I knew that the winner looked good on paper,” he said. “I’m not saying that 6 1/2 isn’t something I wouldn’t entertain later, but I think [Obviously] likes the mile and he likes to be breezing and not pressured. He’s all race horse.”

Obviously is part of a field of six in the American, the third of nine races on Saturday. The field includes two Grade 1 or Group 1 winners in Drill and Lucayan.

Drill won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in 2011 and was fourth of six in his turf debut in the San Simeon last month.

Lucayan won the Group 1 French 2000 Guineas in May 2012, but is winless in his last three starts. The American Handicap is his first start in the United States, and debut for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale.

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Christopher McKay More than 1 year ago
I take it Garrett Gomez is OK after spill on 5/24/13????? I guess no news is good news????
Forego137 More than 1 year ago
Obviously is the class of the field and Say It Ain't So Joe should take it to them and run them into the ground and show the one's running behind him Obviously's shoes. Go to the front Joe and blow their doors off and if possible set a new course record.
KHubb83 More than 1 year ago
Drill might be set up well with all that speed up front
Mark D More than 1 year ago
He needs to be a bully. Trainer should simply say "anyone wants to duel with me then good luck". Joe Talamo gave this horse HORRIBLE ride in BC Turf Mile. 1st half the race was waaaaa to slow. He tried to rate like an idiot and took the horses best weapon away. Joe Talamo is a very good rider....but NOT a big $$$ rider yet.
LogicRules55 More than 1 year ago
It was a FANTASTIC ride. Talamo saved as much horse as he could and had a fresh horse in the stretch but was simply beaten by Wise Dan (who set the track record that day) & Animal Kingdom; y'know, one, the best horse in America and the other the winner of the Dubai Cup.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
It depends. One could perhaps judge Talamo's ride as good if the objective was to finish 3rd. However, the ride gave Obviously no chance of winning. Obviously is simply not going to be able to outkick grade 1 turf runners late in races. His only chance of beating them is to take the race to them, open up early, and try to just keep on going. Against the field he faces in the American, Obviously is likely to win either way, so it might not matter. But in the Shoemaker, Talamo will be doing Obviously a disservice if he tries to slow things down too much, making it a game of acceleration and finishing power.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Totally agree.
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
You don't change thing with this horse you go to the front just like in a match race...Eddie Arcaro said..."In a match race you take the lead" He has all the class and speed
aaronrayk More than 1 year ago
Obviously wire to wire. Turf has been favoring speed anyways.
Matt More than 1 year ago
Lucayan from last to first to win by a nose