Photo: Melanie Martines
Tom’s Tribute, winner of the Grade I Eddie Read Stakes a
month ago, took advantage of favored Obviously’s disastrous break from
the gate to forge an upset victory in the Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Mile
Sunday on the day of the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic.
Obviously, sent to the gate at 2-5 in search of his third
straight success in the Del Mar Mile, turned his head just as the gate
opened, causing him to break awkwardly from his rail post position.
Quickly into stride, Obviously moved to the lead under Joe Talamo,
carving out fast fractions.
Obviously led into the stretch but the expenditure of
energy after his slow start took its toll and the six-year-old faltered
in the final furlong.
“That start cost us five or six lengths," said Obviously's rider Joe Talamo. "He was ready for it, but he
just turned his head at the last second. Just as they popped it he
turned his head. I had to rush him then and it cost us.”
Meanwhile, Mike Smith aboard 3-1 second choice Tom’s
Tribute bided his time in fourth place early, moved strongly on the
outside into the stretch, took the lead with an eighth to go and drew
out slowly to score by a length in 1:33.75.
“No special instructions from Jimmy (trainer Jim Cassidy)," said Smith. "The key with
this horse is to get him to relax. Then it doesn’t matter where you are.
You can be up close; you can be off it. He’ll run for you. I saw the
favorite ((Obviously) stumble out of the gate. Then he started to rush
up and I got out of his way. That other horse was out there already
(Alpha Bullet) and I wasn’t going to mind at all if they had a little
speed battle. He (Obviously) ran gallant. When you realize all he lost
at the beginning and yet he still managed to make the front, that’s
good. But my horse was plenty good today, too.”
Rock Me Baby, at 9-1, closed well to be second, a
half-length in front of 30-1 outsider Handsome Mike, with Obviously a
tiring fourth, another three-quarters of a length back. Lil Bit O’Fun
was withdrawn from the field.
Tom’s Tribute, a four-year-old son of Lion Heart owned by the Braly
Trust and trained by Jim Cassidy, returned $8.20, $4.20 and $6.40 while
earning $150,000 with his sixth win in 13 starts. His career bankroll
Rock Me Baby paid $7.20 and $13.40, while Handsome Mike returned $29.20.
The Del Mar Mile show pool totaled $239,557 of which
$183,149 was bet to show on Obviously, thus causing the large show
prices on the first three finishers.
Source: Del Mar