Derby Dreams Dashed
Omaha Beach captured both the hearts and the betting tickets of horse racing fans everywhere early in 2019. It took him four tries to break his maiden, but once he did, he was unstoppable - or so it was thought.
On May 1st, horse racing fans received the news that Omaha Beach would be scratched from the Kentucky Derby. In horse racing, a surprise is always lurking around the corner. This surprise, unfortunately, wasn’t a good one. Omaha Beach had entrapped epiglottis, a breathing problem that occurs in just 3% of racehorses.
Trainer Richard Mandella had noticed his horse coughing and had him scoped, finding the entrapped epiglottis. Thankfully, an entrapped epiglottis isn’t a fatal thing. However, it does hinder a horse’s ability to perform at their highest capability.
Out went the dreams of roses draped across Omaha Beach’s withers and in came the reality of surgery. It was devastating for both his fans and his connections. Owner Rick Porter had just entered remission for cancer in 2017 and has dealt with the grief of losing his filly Eight Belles just moments after she crossed the wire in the Kentucky Derby. Mandella has won from coast to coast and has saddled five champions. However, he’s never had a Kentucky Derby winner.
The chances for both of them to feel that jubilation were eliminated.
Omaha Beach received surgery at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. He then went to WinStar Farm for some time off to recover.
He finally returned to Richard Mandella’s barn at Del Mar in June. Since then, he has been posting absolutely incredible workouts. Multiple times he has ranked 1st of all the horses who worked at that distance that day.
The colt was slated to return to the racetrack for the August 25th Shared Belief Stakes. However, his return was delayed when he caught a virus. He is now slated to return to the racetrack on Sept. 28th for the Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs. It will be his final prep for a potential start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Omaha Beach will be retired at the end of 2019. He will be joining Spendthrift Farm’s 2020 stallion roster. This decision was met with a bit of controversy. Some fans with a feeling of disappointment - they would’ve liked to see him run longer and prove himself. Others are happy that he will be retiring soundly and they will have the opportunity to see him at Spendthrift.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see if this son of War Front can following in his sire’s steps to become an outstanding sire.
[Video: Watch Omaha Beach win the Gr.1 Arkansas Derby]
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