With Joel Rosario aboard, the 6-year-old gelding closed strongly on the extreme outside to overhaul jockey Mike Smith and Itsnotjustagame with Irish-bred Buenos Dias another 1 ¾ lengths back in third while handled by Joe Talamo.
But the strategy proved sound as Obrigado scored convincingly as the 2-1 favorite and remained in the Drysdale barn while adding $28,200 to his lifetime earnings from an overall record of 7-5-8 in 34 starts.
The victory, however, was only his second since 2007 encompassing 12 races, 10 of them graded stakes. The other win came three races back in Hollywood Park’s Grade III Round Table Handicap with Rosario again in the saddle.
Obrigado’s winning mutuels on Wednesday were $6.40, $3.20 and $2.20. Itsnotjustagame returned $3.60 and $2.60 while Buenos Dias paid $2.60 to show.
“I had to put him a little closer than usual today because there was not a lot of speed in there,” Rosario said in the winner’s circle. He had Obrigado in fourth tracking pace-setter Itsnotjustagame, but never falling more than a few lengths off the lead.
Obrigado rallied widest of all around the final turn to overtake the gritty runner-up while Buenos Dias was unable to sustain his bid through the stretch.
Oak Tree racing continues on Thursday with an eight-race program. First post is at 1 p.m.