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Oct 18, 2013

Up the Backstretch: Champ must catch Obviously in BC Mile

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor


Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Winning consecutive Breeders' Cup Miles has not been an unheard of occurrence. Three horses have dome the deed, most prominently Goldikova, who won three straight Miles from 2008-10.

If reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan is to successfully become the fourth horse to claim two straight Miles next month at San Anita Park, he will have to run down recently defeated Obviously on the track's turf course.

Trainer Mike Mitchell has already revealed his strategy for Obviously after the 5-year-old gelding was defeated on Oct. 5 in the City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita as the 1-2 favorite.

"We're going to send him," Mitchell said. "I don't care if they go three- quarters of a mile in (one minute) seven and one. I'm sending the sonofagun, because we've had two times now where we kind of sat him off the pace when they were going real fast early, and he doesn't want that. He just wants you to let him roll. That's the way he's always been."

The Irish-bred gelding set the pace in last year's Mile at Santa Anita before giving way to Wise Dan and finishing third just two lengths behind the winner.

"That's a good horse and a good trainer. He's a good horseman," Mitchell said of Wise Dan's trainer Charles LoPresti.

The loss in the City of Hope Mile snapped a three-race win streak for Obviously and was the first time the gelding finished out of the money since he was sixth in his debut race two years ago in Ireland.

"He's still a nice horse and we still have the Breeders' Cup. He'll bounce back," noted jockey Joe Talamo, who has been aboard Obviously the last 10 starts.

Obviously, the horse's biggest wins have come in consecutive victories of the Del Mar Mile.

"It was a real good horse race. I don't tell Joe (Talamo) how to ride him, it's totally up to him," Mitchell said after his horse recorded his second straight Del Mar Mile win in a time of 1:32.64 just off the stakes and course record of 1:32.10 he set last year.

"He's the kind of horse that if he gets out there on his own, he starts waiting on horses," Talamo said following his third straight Del Mar Mile victory. "When they come to him, he'll dig in and fight. But you've got to stay after him."

Obviously will come into the Breeders' Cup Mile having earned $977,361 with nine wins in 17 lifetime starts.

More importantly, the 65-year-old Mitchell is able to appreciate the gelding's accomplishments. Last year he had surgery for brain cancer, for which he is undergoing treatment, and this summer at Hollywood Park he collapsed.

"It was a combination of things. I was in the sun too long, it was awfully hot and I had a seizure. Plus, I had a lot of caffeine in me, I was dehydrated and still a little weak from a chemo treatment," Mitchell said concerning the collapse.

Mitchell is doing much better now and has confidence that Obviously will perform equally well.



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