Omaha Beach's return shifts to Santa Anita Park sprint

September 21, 2019 09:26am
Top 3-year-old Omaha Beach, the former Kentucky Derby favorite who was expected to make his return next Saturday in Churchill Downs' Ack Ack (G3), will remain home in California to run in another spot.

Trainer Richard Mandella informed Churchill's publicity office that the War Front colt's workout Friday at Santa Anita Park, which measured seven furlongs in 1:27.20, did not go according to plan.

"I needed that to be good in order to run him next week in Kentucky," Mandella said, "so I decided to stay here and run him in the sprint October 5."

That would be the Grade 1, $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship going six furlongs. The race for 3-year-olds and up already has its co-headliner in the Jorge Navarro-trained Shancelot, who's looking to parlay a run there into the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Omaha Beach hasn't run since winning the Arkansas Derby (G1), his third straight victory that positioned the Fox Hill Farms runner at the top of his class. Connections, however, discovered a breathing issue the week of the Kentucky Derby, and a comeback planned for Del Mar's Aug. 25 Shared Belief Stakes was further delayed when a virus made its rounds through the barn area.

Omaha Beach, who will stand at stud in 2020 at Spendthrift Farm, could conceivably head from the Santa Anita Sprint Championship to the Breeders' Cup . This move should also allow Mandella to keep in the irons California-based jockey Mike Smith for the return race.

Fox Hill Farm's Rick Porter spoke Saturday morning with Paulick Report, saying a rider in front of Omaha Beach fell from his horse, forcing the colt to abort his first attempt at Friday's work, then go again.


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