Heavily-favored Obviously easily dispatched five opponents in the $150,250 American Handicap Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The victory by the Irish-bred gelding continued a stakes roll for jockey Joe Talamo. The 23-year-old native 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 2 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 2 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 2 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.’’