The attention, justifiably, will fall most heavily on the $1 million
TVG Pacific Classic on Sunday. There are a million reasons why it’s
called the meeting’s signature race.
But there’s ample reason for horsemen, horse players and general fans
to put considerable focus on the two $250,000 Grade II races, the Del
Mar Mile and the Pat O’Brien Stakes, that precede the approximate 5:46
p.m. post time for the Classic, the 10th on an 11-race card.
The Mile, which goes as the fifth race at 3:03 p.m., has Irish-bred
Obviously bidding for a third straight victory – in the race itself and
in 2014 – and aiming to take a significant step toward a third try at
the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Mile. In 2013, Obviously won the American
Handicap and Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park before taking the Del Mar
Mile for the second year in a row for Mike Mitchell, the track’s
all-time leader for training wins.
Mitchell retired in April and turned the stable over to his 12-year
assistant, Phil D’Amato, who saddled Obviously to victories in the
American Handicap and Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park
having closed in December.
New track, new trainer, same old (6 years) Obviously.
“His style is, he just loves to go,” Mitchell, now an advisor to
D’Amato, said Saturday morning. All eight of Obviously’s victories in
the past two years – starting with an optional claimer here on August 2,
2012 and the Del Mar Mile 24 days later – have been wire-to-wire.
“If you want to go with him and commit suicide, OK,” Mitchell said.
“But you’re not going to stay with him. He’s big, strong and I think
he’s as good as he’s ever been. Phil has him as sharp as he can be. I
love the way he’s been getting over the ground in his workouts. We’re
just really excited about his chances.”
Obviously faces seven rivals in the Mile, chief among them the Jim
Cassidy-trained Tom’s Tribute. A son of Lion Heart, Tom’s Tribute was
third to Obviously, beaten two lengths, in the Shoemaker before taking
the Grade I 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read Stakes here on July 20.
The 7-furlong Pat O’Brien brings back Big Macher and Goldencents, the
1-2 finishers in the 6-furlong Bing Crosby Stakes on July 27, to take
on five rivals. Among that group is defending Pat O’Brien champion Fed
Biz, an impressive wire-to-wire winner of the San Diego Handicap on July
Fed Biz is the 2-1 favorite in track oddsmaker Russ Hudak’s morning
line with Goldencents at 5-2 and Big Macher 3-1. The Pat O’Brien is a
“Win And You’re In” qualifier for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile
on November 1 at Santa Anita.
Fed Biz owner Kaleem Shah also campaigns Bayern, the 2-1 morning line
favorite in Saturday’s $1.25 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Wins
by Bayern, who trained at Del Mar for a victory in the $1 million
Haskell Invitational on July 27 at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, and Fed
Biz would give Shah another double-win memorable weekend of the summer
The scratch Saturday of Diamond Bachelor moves Fed Biz from the No. 2 post to the rail.
Source: Del Mar