06/29/2013 4:55PM

Hollywood Park: Obviously scores first Grade 1 win in Shoemaker Mile

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Benoit & Associates
Obviously won the Shoemaker Mile by 3 1/4 lengths Saturday for his first Grade 1 victory.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – A year ago on June 29, trainer Mike Mitchell was undergoing surgery for a brain tumor. Winning a Grade 1 race on the one-year anniversary of that date was a lot better, obviously.

Obviously, utilizing his usual front-running style, and his penchant to keep on going, scored the first Grade 1 win of his career on Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park in the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile, an emotional victory for everyone connected to Mitchell.

“A year ago was his surgery,” said his wife, Denise. “It’s kind of a big deal.”

It was a family affair for the Mitchells. In addition to Mike and Denise, their daughters Shea and McCall were in the winner’s circle, and Obviously was purchased nearly two years ago in Great Britain on the advice of McCall’s husband, bloodstock agent Craig Rounsefell.

Obviously ($2.60) was heavily favored in the five-horse field. Breaking from the outside post under Joe Talamo, he took the lead about 150 yards into the race, quickly opened a daylight advantage on his rivals, got a bit of a breather heading into the far turn while still leading, then flew home the final quarter-mile in less than 23 seconds to cover one mile on firm turf in 1:32.86, which is just 0.27 seconds off the course record.

“If he had to go faster, he’d go faster,” Mitchell said.

He didn’t, though. Obviously cruised home 3 1/4 lengths best, with Za Approval second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Wilkinson, followed by Jeranimo and Lucayan, in that order.

There was so much money bet to show on Obviously that he created a minus pool of $76,051.

Obviously finished third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile behind Wise Dan and Animal Kingdom, and Mitchell said a return to that race is the long-term goal this year. The victory in the Shoemaker gave Obviously a fees-paid berth into the BC Mile through the Win and You’re In program.

Obviously, 5, has now won eight times in 15 starts. He is owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino.