08/22/2014 9:02AM

Obviously seeking three-peat in Del Mar Mile

Shigeki Kikkawa
Obviously wins the Shoemaker Mile on June 14 at Santa Anita.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The consistency that Obviously has shown in turf miles in the last two years goes beyond reasonable expectations.

In races not involving two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, the 6-year-old Obviously has won eight of nine starts in turf miles since he was first tried at the distance in August 2012. The span includes seven graded stakes wins – two in 2012, three in 2013, and two this year. The 2014 total could easily go to three stakes wins after Sunday’s $250,000 Del Mar Mile Handicap.

Obviously will be a heavy favorite to win the Grade 2 race for the third consecutive year, one that has propelled him to the Breeders’ Cup Mile in recent seasons. Obviously finished third in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile and was fifth last year, losing both times to Wise Dan.

For Sunday’s race, Obviously has drawn the rail for the third consecutive time this year. He won the Grade 3 American Stakes from the rail by 5 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita on May 17 in his 2014 debut and the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile by 1 1/2 lengths there June 14.

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Owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joe Scardino, Obviously has won 11 of 20 starts and earned $1,337,361. As he gets older, he is improving, trainer Phil D’Amato said.

“It looks like he’s getting better and better,” D’Amato said. “It’s easy to say that, but he’s getting bigger and stronger. He’s like a machine.”

Obviously is part of a field of eight in the Del Mar Mile, the fifth race on an 11-race program that begins at 1 p.m. Pacific.


Obviously (Last 3 Beyers: 107-107-91)

◗ With a rail draw, there is little suspense surrounding the strategy jockey Joe Talamo will employ: Obviously will lead. The race lacks another confirmed front-runner.

◗ D’Amato said the time between races has helped Obviously, a gelding.

“He just loves to run fresh,” he said. “I went to check on him in the stall, and he ran me out. He’s on edge. I can attribute that to spacing his races well.”

Tom’s Tribute (Last 3 Beyers: 104-103-103)

◗ Tom’s Tribute was third behind Obviously in the Shoemaker Mile and rebounded to win the most prestigious race of his 12-race career in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on July 20. He had an ideal trip stalking the pace before taking the lead in early stretch.

“The Eddie Read was the best race he’s run,” trainer Jim Cassidy said.

◗ Tom’s Tribute won the Thunder Road Stakes over a mile on turf at Santa Anita in April, closing from seventh in a field of eight. Cassidy thinks the 4-year-old Tom’s Tribute can be effective stalking Obviously.

“It depends on if he relaxes,” Cassidy said. “Why not?”

He Be Fire N Ice (Last 3 Beyers: 88-104-98)

◗ Unraced since an eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, He Be Fire N Ice will have his first start for trainer Clifford Sise on Sunday. A 6-year-old horse, He Be Fire N Ice was second in the 2013 Del Mar Mile behind Obviously.