It was a case of try, try, try, try and try again, as perseverance and patience finally paid off for 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Obviously in his record fifth consecutive start in the season-ending championships.
Bred in Ireland, Obviously, the 3.8-1 favorite, sped over the 6 ½-furlong distance of Santa Anita’s partially downhill grass course in near record time, turning back 13 rivals and holding off a late charge by Om to prevail by a nose. In three previous races over the tricky European-styled layout, the 8-year-old had never been worse than second.
In triumph, Obviously, who became the second oldest horse to grace the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle was quickest away from the gate and led virtually every step of the journey to give both jockey Flavien Pratt and trainer Phil D’Amato their first Breeders’ Cup wins. For D’Amato, Santa Anita’s defending training titlist, the win had extra special meaning. “This is tremendous,” he exclaimed.” A first (Breeders’ Cup) win for me and for my old boss, Mike Mitchell, who had the horse before me.” D’Amato was Mitchell’s long-time assistant and took over the stable after Mitchell’s retirement due to ill health in 2014. Mitchell, a long-time leading conditioner on the Southern California circuit, died in 2015.
Obviously had run all four of his prior Breeders’ Cup races in the Mile, leading early in each, but ultimately faring no better than third in his best finish.
The consistent veteran, who had raced sparingly this season, entered the dash with a win in Belmont’s Poker Stakes and a narrow defeat, while third, in Santa Anita’s City of Hope Stakes in his two most recent efforts—both at one mile. Obviously was owned by the partnership of Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, who had raced horses together for 17 years. This was their first Breeders’ Cup victory.
Obviously was in training to defend his Mile title in 2017, but developed a bone bruise following a workout that summer, and was retired.