Mandella vows 'to do right' by Omaha Beach in Breeders' Cup

October 06, 2019 02:56pm
Mandella vows 'to do right' by Omaha Beach in Breeders' Cup
Photo: Courtesy of Santa Anita Park
Omaha Beach and Shancelot, the 1-2 finishers in Saturday’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1), were both receiving some rest and relaxation the morning after their epic duel in the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” contest.
Omaha Beach, who prevailed by a head off a nearly six-month layoff,, seemed to be no worse for wear while recuperating in Stall 1 of trainer Richard Mandella’s Santa Anita barn. “He came out in great shape. Ate up and was looking for more feed,” Mandella said. “Couldn’t be happier. He or I.” Shancelot, who is stabled some 30 yards from Omaha Beach at Santa Anita, was also in fine fiddle Sunday morning. Trainer Jorge Navarro had already left for his Monmouth Park base early Sunday morning. However, Navarro’s assistant at Santa Anita reported Shancelot exited the race well. Prior to leaving for the east coast, Navarro instructed Shancelot’s traveling party to sit tight. A decision on whether the 3-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby continues on to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint will be made in the next few days. 
There is also a decision to be made by Mandella with regards to Omaha Beach. While Saturday’s win provided a free berth into the $ 2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Omaha Beach is also being considered for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile or $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 ¼-miles. Mandella indicated he’s going to wait before deciding on a race. “There won’t be any decision made until I get him back to the track next week,” Mandella said. “I’ll give him some days off he deserves it. “The biggest question of the three is the Classic. That was what we always wanted to do,” Mandella continued. “But will all the setbacks we had, I wouldn’t consider that if it was asking too much too quick. He just ran six furlongs and [the Classic] is 27 days away. So it isn’t like I have time to build him up. I’m not saying no, but that would be the concern.” Mandella said he is fully confident that Omaha Beach is the type of horse that could pull off such an unusual racing double of going from a six-furlong sprint directly to the 10-furlong Breeders’ Cup Classic. However, there is more to the decision. “I think there is no doubt he’s the type of horse that could do that,” Mandella said. “But would it be good for him? That’s my main concern. I want to do right by him.” As for beyond the Breeders’ Cup, things are also a bit murky when it comes to the Fox Hill Farms color-bearer. Owner Rick Porter sold Omaha Beach's breeding rights to Spendthrift Farm on the eve of the Kentucky Derby, a race in which Omaha Beach was ultimately scratched to address a breathing issue. Then last month, Spendthrift announced that Omaha Beach would stand the 2020 breeding season at the central Kentucky farm. It remains unclear whether the Breeders’ Cup will mark Omaha Beach’s final career start. Or, if he will continue on to such big-money races as the Pegasus World Cup ($9 million purse in 2019) in January, the newly-created $20 million Saudi Cup in Saudi Arabia in February or the $12 million Dubai World Cup in March. “The original thought was that he would go to stud next year. But unless they come equipped with heavy artillery they can’t have him,” Mandella joked. “No, just kidding. But there hasn’t been much discussion about that lately. I don’t think they’re even 100% sure on what to do either.” Mandella also acknowledged it was a push for Omaha Beach to remain in training when he said “God knows how good he will be in the future” following the race. “I was putting the bait out there,” Mandella said. “I’m sure [Porter]  would like to run next year. I know that. But he doesn’t own his breeding rights. There’s an agreement that’s been made. But saying that, maybe the two parties can get together and make a different plan. We’ll just have to see. One way or the other I’ve been very lucky by him.”  


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