Omaha Beach's return on hold due to virus; new plan forms

August 17, 2019 12:44pm
Omaha Beach, the scratched Kentucky Derby favorite working toward a comeback in Del Mar's Aug. 25 Shared Belief Stakes, will not make that target race, trainer Richard Mandella said Saturday.

VSiN's Ron Flatter broke the news after speaking with Mandella, who said the Grade 1-winning son of War Front contracted a virus going around his barn.

“He’ll have to have a few days off, and it depends how much it gets to him," Mandella told Horse Racing Nation. "So far, it hasn’t hit hard. If you can see it coming enough not to stress him, we’re hopeful we’ve done that. We’ll just rebuild a new plan.”

Mandella scratched LNJ Foxwoods' United from Saturday's Del Mar Handicap (G2) due to the same sickness, and this development arrives days after trainer Bob Baffert removed Game Winner from the prospective Travers Stakes (G1) field due to a temperature.

Omaha Beach had breezed consistently since July 23 after diagnosed with an entrapped epiglottis Derby week. The condition required surgery and time off for the leading 3-year-old colt.

He went six furlongs most recently on Monday in 1:13.60.

The Shared Belief is a $100,000 race restricted to 3-year-olds and run at a mile. Omaha Beach was also nominated for the Pat O'Brien (G2) going seven furlongs against older horses on Aug. 24 but was said to have the Shared Belief as a preference.

Mandella mentioned as possibilities now training up to either the Sept. 21 Pennsylvania Derby (G1) at Parx Racing or the Sept. 28 Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

"I'll have ideas, but I won't be able to put them to use much until I can tell how long this takes to get over," the trainer said. "The way it looks right now, it doesn't look like it will amount to a whole lot, but you never know." 

Fox Hill Farms' Omaha Beach won the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his last start, which followed a victory in Oaklawn Park's Rebel Stakes (G2) and an open-lengths score in maiden special weight company. Given his breeding, the horse began his career winless -- but never out of the money -- on turf.


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