Saturday, June 14, 2014
Obviously a repeat winner
By Frank Angst
A change of venue didn't bother Obviously, who for the second straight year cruised to an easy win in the Shoemaker Mile Stakes June 14 at Santa Anita Park.
Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino's Obviously secured clear victories in the Shoemaker last year, when it was contested at Hollywood Park; and this year, in its first running at Santa Anita. The front-running son of Choisir enjoyed a clear lead throughout in winning this year's race in a time of 1:32.66 on firm turf.
Irish-bred Obviously improved to two wins in as many starts this season as he opened the year with a 5 ½-length score in the American Stakes May 17 at Santa Anita. The Shoemaker wasn't much more difficult than the American as the swift Obviously cruised through a quarter-mile in :22.06 seconds, a half-mile in :44.50 seconds, and six furlongs in 1:08.03. He opened a five-length lead in midstretch and was not threatened in scoring by 1 ½ lengths over late-running Summer Front.
"We were rolling right along. He's all class," said winning jockey Joe Talamo. "He was going fast, but he was doing it fairly easily. With him, you didn't have a choice though. His thing is going to the front. If I would have taken him back, we wouldn't have won. You give him his head and let him do it. He is one of the best I've ever sat on."
With the Shoemaker victory, Obviously now boasts seven graded stakes wins, all in Southern California, in his career. He has won 11 of 20 career starts and has earned $1,337,361.
"He was going 1:08, but there were no horses putting pressure on him, so he ran away and hid. This horse is just a special horse," said winning trainer Phil D'Amato. "Going 1:08 for him, most horses can't do that, but just not having a horse right on top of him, I think he can do those fractions and keep going like he showed today."
With the Shoemaker win, Obviously gained an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Mile later this year through the Breeders' Cup Challenge series.
In his first Southern California start since closing out last season with a close runner-up finish to Silentio in the Citation Handicap at Hollywood in November, Waterford Stable's Summer Front rallied from fifth to finish second, a half-length ahead of Tom's Tribute and Silentio, who dead-heated for third. Summer Front won this year's Fort Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream Park and entered off a runner-up finish in the Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park.
Off as the 8-5 favorite, Obviously returned $5.40 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3 to show. Summer Front paid $6 to place and $3.60 to show, while Tom's Tribute and Silentio each returned $3 to show.
This marked the first edition of the Shoemaker Mile contested at Santa Anita. The race was conducted at Hollywood Park as the Premiere Handicap from 1938 to 1989. It was named for Shoemaker following his retirement in 1990.