ARCADIA, Calif. (June 11, 2014)–World class milers Obviously and Winning Prize head a field of seven 3-year-olds and up set to go in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Shoemaker Mile (turf) at Santa Anita. Trained by Philip D’Amato, Irish-bred Obviously comes off what might’ve been the best race of his career in winning the Grade III, one mile turf American Stakes at Santa Anita May 17, while the Neil Drysdale-conditioned Winning Prize has been freshened since winning the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) on March 8.
Previously trained by the recently retired Mike Mitchell, Obviously won last year’s Shoemaker at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park and he was completely dominant in the American under regular rider Joe Talamo, winning gate to wire by 5 ½ lengths at odds of 3-5. Idle since running fifth to eventual two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 2, Obviously, a 6-year-old gelding, set fast fractions of 22.60, 45.40, and 1:08.40 en route to a final clocking of 1:33.20–which earned him a Shoemaker best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 107.
“I knew we were rollin’, but I was surprised with how fast we went,” said Talamo following the American. “He’s ageless, he’s truly amazing.”
Owned by Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, Obviously has seven wins and a third from 10 tries at a mile on grass and is 19-10-4-2 overall with earnings of $1,097,361.
Similar to Obviously, Argentine-bred Winning Prize likes to run on the front-end and he accomplished his half length score in the Kilroe in gate to wire fashion. He also demonstrated a measure of versatility in taking the Grade II, one mile turf Arcadia Stakes two starts back on Feb. 1. In an impressive effort, Winning Prize relaxed nicely while sitting second until seizing command in deep stretch to win by 1 ½ lengths.
A two-time Group I winner in Argentina, the 5-year-old horse by Pure Prize has won three of his five starts for Drysdale in Southern California and has five wins from six starts at a mile on turf. Owned by David Heerensperger and Jose Nelson, Winning Prize is 13-8-1-1 overall with earnings of $610,840.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will be represented by Jack Milton, who comes off a 2 ¾ length win in the Grade III, one mile turf Poker Stakes at Belmont Park May 26. A two-time stakes winner on turf, the 4-year-old colt by War Front won the Poker from far back early and figures to have a fast pace to run at in the Shoemaker.
Owned by Gary Barber, Jack Milton is 10-4-1-4 and has earnings of $505,900.
Fresh off victory in last Saturday’s Belmont Stakes with Tonalist, trainer Cristophe Clement will send out the hard-knocking Summer Front, who shortens up following a close second place run in the Grade III, 1 1/8 miles turf Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont on May 3.
A 5-year-old horse by War Front, Summer Front possesses a stalking style and is an eight-time stakes winner on turf. He has five wins from six starts at a mile on grass and is 18-8-3-3 overall with earnings of $734,140. He is owned by Waterford Stable.
A game nose winner of the Grade II Citation Handicap three starts back on Nov. 29 at Hollywood Park, trainer Gary Mandella’s Silentio ran a disappointing third, beaten 5 ¾ lengths by Obviously in the American Stakes on May 17.
Owned by his breeders, Wertheimer and Frere, Silentio sat mid-pack four starts back when a close third, beaten only 1 ½ lengths, by Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile Nov. 2. A 5-year-old horse by Silent Name, Silentio is 9-2-1-4 at a mile on turf and is 12-4-1-5 overall. He has earnings of $645,960.
Should a fast pace develop as expected, trainer Jim Cassidy’s Tom’s Tribute could be very dangerous late. Ridden by Mike Smith, the 4-year-old Lion Heart colt flew from far back to take the one mile turf Thunder Road at Santa Anita on April 6 and was a close third to Winning Prize in the Arcadia Stakes three starts back.
Owned by Tom and Marilyn Braly, Tom’s Tribute has two wins and two seconds at one mile on turf and is 10-4-3-0 overall. He has earnings of $226,880.
The complete field for the Shoemaker Mile, to be run as the seventh race on a nine-race program, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Obviously, Joe Talamo, 121; Jack Milton, Javier Castellano, 119; Tom’s Tribute, Kent Desormeaux, 119; Winning Prize, Corey Nakatani, 124; Summer Front, Joe Bravo, 119; Pulpit’s Express, Drayden Van Dyke, 119, and Silentio, Victor Espinoza, 119.
First post time on Saturday is at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.