Omaha Beach sizzles in another 'great work' for Breeders' Cup

October 23, 2019 03:01pm

Omaha Beach continued his preparations for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Wednesday with a five-furlong drill in a sharp :59.60 at Santa Anita Park.

The work,Omaha Beach’s second since his Oct. 5 win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1), was the fastest of 34 at the distance.

“Galloped out in 1:12 and three,” said Mandella, who has nine Breeders’ Cup wins in his Hall of Fame career. “He’s in pretty good shape. Great work.”



Omaha Beach is the presumed favorite for a Dirt Mile that attracted an over-subscribed field of 15 pre-entries announced Wednesday. Only 12 will make the starting gate Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. 

During a conference call Wednesday with reporters, Mandella touched on the decision to enter Omaha Beach in the Dirt Mile instead of either the six-furlong Sprint or the 1 ¼-mile Classic.

“I was hung up between short and real long so I went in the middle,” Mandella quipped.

The trainer and owner Rick Porter had planned all season to run Omaha Beach in the $6 million Classic, but a series of setbacks throughout the year that began Kentucky Derby week put a major wrench in the works.

Since winning the Arkansas Derby (G1) in April, Omaha Beach’s only start was his thrilling victory in the Sprint Championship. That lack of a racing foundation all but precluded the connections from trying Omaha Beach in the Classic. 

Deciding on the best spot to run Omaha Beach in the Breeders’ Cup was all part of normal operating procedures for a barn of his size, Mandella indicated.

“The back and forth is pretty much what I do every day training 40 horses,” Mandella said. 

Among Omaha Beach’s chief rivals pre-entered for the Dirt Mile are fellow 3-year-olds: Improbable from the Bob Baffert barn and eastern invader Mr. Money for trainer Bret Calhoun.

 

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