02/25/2007 1:00AM

Obrigado scores first graded stakes win


ARCADIA, Calif. - Time and distance have become assets for Obrigado.

In Sunday’s $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap at Santa Anita, Obrigado, 4, started in the longest race of his career and scored his first graded stakes win in his seventh attempt. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Obrigado had been second or third in five graded stakes in the last year, including a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last fall.

In the Grade 2 San Luis Obispo, Obrigado stalked runaway pacesetter Bravo Maestro for a mile, put away the 9-5 favorite Notable Guest in early stretch and held off a late rally from three rivals to win by a half-length. Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Obrigado ran 1 1-2 miles on turf in 2:27.21.

One Off finished second, a nose in front of On the Acorn. One Off was disqualified and placed third after the stewards ruled that he had interfered with On the Acorn in deep stretch.

Notable Guest finished fifth. Bravo Maestro, who led by as many as 18 lengths in the first half of the race, finished last in the field of seven.

Obrigado, 4, has won 5 of 15 starts and $417,654. Owned by Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso, Obrigado won a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar last July.