In Saturday’s test, Obviously forged a clear lead through a quarter-mile in :21.41 under Flavien Prat and took the field through a half-mile in :43.08. The 8-year-old Choisir gelding then held off a late charge from Om to score a nose victory, completing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:11.33.
Pure Sensation finished third behind the top two, both of whom are based in Southern California.
Trainer Phil D’Amato hadn’t been thinking Breeders’ Cup this season until Obviously was shipped east and scored a 3 3/4-length victory in the one-mile Poker Stakes on June 18 at Belmont Park. Front-running Obviously then led the City of Hope Mile Stakes into the stretch before fading to third in that test at Santa Anita.
The victory marks the third Grade 1 win for Obviously and first since his back-to-back scores in the Shoemaker Mile Stakes in 2013 and 2014 at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita Park.—Frank Angst