Heavily-favored Obviously won for the fourth time in five starts at one mile on turf, easily dispatching of five opponents in the $150,250 American Handicap Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The victory by the Irish-bred gelding continued a local stakes roll for jockey Joe Talamo.
The 23-year-old of Marrero, La. has won the last four stakes offered at Betfair Hollywood Park. He went 3-for-3 last weekend, taking the Fran's Valentine with Unusual Hottie, the Grade II Marjorie L. Everett Handicap with Open Water and the Railbird with Iotapa.
A 5-year-old son of Choisir out of the Montjeu mare Leala trained by Mike Mitchell for owners Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, Obviously, who was 2-5, won for the seventh time in 14 starts. The $90,000 payday boosted his earnings to $668,361.
Defeated by a half-length by Chips All In in the Grade II San Simeon Stakes April 20 in his first start of 2013, Obviously basically won the American in the opening quarter of a mile.
Unchallenged early by Chosen Miracle, who was stretching out again after two sprints, Obviously was clear through 23.26 and 46.09 fractions, received a mild challenge from Barocci with about two furlongs remaining, but kicked clear in the stretch while taken in hand late by Talamo.
In winning by 2 ½ lengths, Obviously completed the distance in 1:32.95, not far off the course record of 1:32.59 set by Monterey Jazz May 24, 2009.
Favored for the seventh time in 11 starts in the United States – he's won four times as the public choice – Obviously returned $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10.
“He's a good horse, he really is,'' said Mitchell. “He does things like this so easy. He had a nice tuneup under his belt and he went into this really well.
“My son-in-law (Craig Rounsefell) picked him out and bought him. We were going to buy a different horse, but he kept saying there's this horse tomorrow. So I said, ‘Let's go for that horse tomorrow.' When they picked him out, he was totally a sprinter and we thought we had a sprinter on our hands.
“But, when we routed him, now all of a sudden, ‘Wow!' We're going to keep him at a mile, take our time with him and go for the (Breeders' Cup Mile Nov. 2 at Santa Anita) again.''
Mitchell added Obviously, who won a pair of Grade II races in 2012 before finishing third behind eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan and 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in the Breeders' Cup Mile, will return in the $300,000, Grade I Shoemaker Mile June 29.
The win was the second in three years for Talamo – he upset Sidney's Candy with Ryehill Dreamer in 2011 – and he was certainly impressed with Obviously.
“He just did it so easy,'' said Talamo. “Besides California Flag sprinting, I've never ridden a horse like this going long. He just lopes along like that.
“The main hope is to try to get him back to the Breeders' Cup. He's a jockey's dream. You just sit on him and he does the rest. He's just a tremendous horse.''
He does Winner of the Group I French 2000 Guineas last year at Longchamp, Lucayan rallied from last to outfinish Barocci by a neck for second. Lucayan paid $4.80 and $3.60 while the show price on Barocci was $3.40.
Drill, the 4-1 second choice, finished fourth, 3 ½ lengths behind Barocci. Racing Aptitude and Chosen Miracle completed the order of finish.
Racing resumes Sunday. Post time is 1 p.m.
The main event on the nine race program is the $70,000 Great Lady M. Stakes, an ungraded event for older fillies and mares at six furlongs on turf. The field of six includes B. Thoughtful Stakes winner Curvy Cat, Schiaparelli and Purim's Dancer.
American Handicap Quotes
JOE TALAMO, OBVIOUSLY, Winner: “He just did it so easy. Besides California Flag sprinting, I've never ridden a horse like this going long. He just lopes along like that. With him going (46.09 seconds for the first half mile) today, I almost made the sign of the cross. That's like 47 4/5 for any other horse. The main hope is to try to get him back to the Breeders' Cup. At the three-eighths pole I just kind of gave him his head and hopefully tried to steal the race from there. He's a jockey's dream. You just sit on him and he does the rest. He's just a tremendous horse.”
JULIEN LEPAROUX, LUCAYAN, Second: “He ran big. That was a good first race in the country. The winner is a good horse. He's probably going to be able to run a little farther, too.”
VICTOR ESPINOZA, BAROCCI, Third: “I thought somebody was going to go out with the winner. (A 23.26 opening quarter) really isn't that fast for these kind of horses.”
MIKE MITCHELL, OBVIOUSLY, Winner: “He's a good horse, he really is. He does things like this so easy. He had a nice tuneup under his belt and he went into this really good. The thing is when we first got him, my son-in-law (bloodstock agent Craig Rounsefell) picked him out and bought him. We were going to buy a different horse, but he kept saying there's this horse tomorrow. So I said, ‘Let's go for that horse tomorrow.' When they picked him out, he was totally a sprinter. We thought we had a sprinter on our hands. But when we routed him, now all of a sudden, ‘Wow!' We're going to keep him at a mile, take our time with him and go for the (Breeders' Cup Mile Nov. 2 at Santa Anita) again. He'll have another race here (the $300,000, Grade I Shoemaker Mile, June 29).''
NEIL DRYSDALE, LUCAYAN, Second: “It looks like we'll have some fun with this horse. Obviously at a mile, the winner would be real difficult to beat. We'll see what our options are with him, but I was very pleased with his first start in the United States.''
LARRY BENAVIDEZ (Asst. trainer, John Sadler), BAROCCI, Third–“He ran super. We're pleased with his race. The winner's a real nice horse and the second horse won the (Group 1 French) 2000 Guineas (in 2012).''
See the full chart here.
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