Newspaper article The Canadian Press

D'Amato Likes Obviously's Training Leading Up to Ricoh Woodbine Mile

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

D'Amato Likes Obviously's Training Leading Up to Ricoh Woodbine Mile

Article excerpt

Obviously to make '15 debut at Woodbine Mile


TORONTO - Obviously has given trainer Phil D'Amato every indication the $1-million Ricoh Woodbine Mile is the place to make his 2015 debut.

The seven-year-old Irish-bred gelding will race for the first time this year Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack. Although Obviously hasn't run in 2015, he's still the early 3/1 second favourite and will break from the No. 1 post in the 11-horse field.

"He loves to run four or five races a year and just gives you everything he's got," said D'Amato. "He runs great fresh and if he wasn't training as well as he ever has, if not better, I wouldn't even consider this off the bench."

The winner Sunday will earn $600,000 and a berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 31 at Keeneland in Kentucky.

Obviously will attempt to become the oldest winner in race history. Obviously has won 11 of 22 starts and earned over $1.4 million.

Joe Talamo will ride Obviously, who also was fifth in the last two Breeders' Cup Mile events.

Lea is the 5/2 early favourite trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott. The six-year-old Kentucky-bred is the field's leading money winner at over $2 million with seven wins from 17 starts.

Lea drew the No. 10 post Thursday at Woodbine and will be ridden by Joel Rosario.

Lea comes off a disappointing sixth-place finish behind Honor Code in the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga on Aug. 8 and will race on turf for the first time in over two years. However, he won his first grass event in 2012 at Saratoga, captured a Grade 3 stake later that year on turf and the following season finished second and third to champion Wise Dan in the turf Firecracker and Fourstardave.

"He kind of ran up close to a fast pace. I don't think that helped," Mott said about the Whitney. "By the same token, I don't think he handled the ground that well, I'm giving him that excuse."

Since then, Lea has worked four times, including two good sessions on the Saratoga training turf.

"We were pleased enough with the way he worked on it (turf) that we thought he deserved another chance," Mott said. "You're going to run into good horses, if you're trying to prove your horse and we know he's a Grade 1 horse. …

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