Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino’s Obviously shipped east from California for the running of the Grade 3 Poker Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday. The speedy 8-year-old son of Choisir grabbed the lead out of the gate and never looked back under Jose Lezcano, covering a mile on the firm turf in 1:31.65, two hundredths of a second off of Elusive Quality’s course record, set in 1998. The Phil D’Amato trainee crossed the wire about four lengths in front of his competition.
Obviously broke very sharply, nearly a half-length in front of the field at the first jump. He strode out to a one-length lead and was well-handled by Lezcano, setting a reasonable first fraction of :23.07 while chased by King Kreesa and Grand Arch. Obviously continued on at nearly the same pace to mark a half-mile in :45.96, moving comfortably on the lead. King Kreesa was 1 1/2 lengths back in second, with Grand Arch right on his flank. Force the Pass cruised along in fourth position, about four lengths off the lead, while Offering Plan and Takeover Target were far back of the field.
Rounding the single turn in the one-mile event at the top of the stretch, Obviously held a two-length lead after picking up his pace to cover six furlongs in 1:08.70, marking a time of :22.74 second for the third quarter mile. Under nothing but hand-urging from Lezcano, Obviously continued to pour on the speed down the stretch, covering the final quarter in :22.95 to cross the wire four lengths in front. Force the Pass was the best of the rest, while Offering Plan and Takeover Target closed from far back to finish third and fourth, respectively.
Bred in Ireland by Miss Deidre Cohen, Obviously began his career there as a 3-year-old, winning two races. He came to the United States in 2012 as a 4-year-old, winning or placing in several allowance races across the California circuit. He took his first graded stake in August of that year, and has gone on to win a total of eight graded stakes in his career. Obviously has competed in the Breeders’ Cup Mile for the past four consecutive years, with his best finish coming in 2012 when he was third. Overall, his career record stands at 12-6-3 from 27 starts, with earnings of over $ 1.74 million.
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