'Like getting a gift at Christmas,' Omaha Beach back to work

July 23, 2019 02:19pm
'Like getting a gift at Christmas,' Omaha Beach back to work
Photo: Coady Photography
Richard Mandella compared watching Omaha Beach’s training session Tuesday at Del Mar to waking up on a holiday morning.

“It was like getting a gift at Christmas,” the trainer Mandella said.

Omaha Beach went three furlongs over Del Mar’s dirt in 36.6 seconds. His time was the fastest of 20 runners who worked that distance Tuesday at the Southern California track.

Tuesday marked Omaha Beach’s first officially clocked training since his return from surgery to repair an entrapped epiglottis.

“We’ll just take it a step at a time,” Mandella said. “But this was just a good step back.”

Omaha Beach’s throat condition was discovered during Kentucky Derby week. It led to the Rebel Stakes (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) champ getting scratched from the May 4 race after being named the 4-1 morning line favorite.

Omaha Beach underwent surgery in Kentucky and stayed there until June 10, after which the War Front colt shipped back to Mandella’s California base.

“It’s frustration I have a lot of experience with,” Mandella said of dealing with Omaha Beach’s setback that kept him from racing in Triple Crown events.

“Training horses will teach it to you. It’s no big deal. It’s something we live with all the time.”

Now Omaha Beach is back on the work tab and targeting the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes.

That event for 3-year-olds goes one mile over Del Mar’s main track Aug. 25.

The Shared Belief takes place one day after the summer’s premier 3-year-old feature, the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) across the country at Saratoga.

Mandella said earlier this month that he didn’t have “any big plans” with Omaha Beach “other than the Breeders’ Cup in the fall.”

Omaha Beach has missed the American Classics and then some of the summer’s biggest 3-year-old features. But Mandella thinks the Fox Hill Farms colt can still prove this fall that he’s at the top of his division.

“I’m going to stay with the girl I brought to the dance,” Mandella said. “The winner of the Haskell (Maximum Security) looked good the other day. But I wouldn’t trade mine for anybody.”


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