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Omaha Beach enters Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with something to prove

Six months ago, Richard Mandella sat next to Dr. Foster Northrop at an impromptu news conference at Churchill Downs. Kentucky derby tv coverage, This blend, trainer, and veterinarian, is seldom a great sign.

Stoically, Mandella clarified why Omaha Beach, the morning-line favorite, wouldn’t be operating in the Kentucky Derby. Watch Kentucky Derby online.  A trapped epiglottis, a non-life-threatening neck issue, price the coach his best shot at winning the Kentucky Derby in his more than four-decade career.

“It was devastating, to be honest,” Mandella, 68, stated in the moment.  “I’ve done this for 45 years, soI have seen this movie and starred in it. Kentucky Derby coverage, So, who am I to think I must be doing this today?”

Omaha Beach’s projected three-week recovery turned into five months.  Various tiny problems postponed, but not pinpointed, Kentucky derby tv coverage, his return to racing.  Omaha Beach will be running Saturday at Santa Anita as the 8-5 favorite in the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

 He started as a turf horse.

“[Omaha Beach] finally said to me after his final bud race’Boss, you need to conduct onto the grass, not ,”’ Mandella likes to state.  Watch Kentucky Derby online, The horse’s fourth race was on the dirt and he finished second by a half-length.

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Then something clicked, and on Feb. two he won a maiden race by nine lengths.  Watch Kentucky Derby online, Expectations were high and he was entered in the Rebel Stakes, which had an overcrowded field and was divided into two divisions because Santa Anita had closed a rash of horse deaths.  Otherwise, he’d have run in the San Felipe Stakes, that was not run this season.

He won the Rebel with a nose over Game Winner, the 2-year-old Eclipse Award winner who at the time was the presumptive Kentucky Derby favorite.  Kentucky derby tv coverage, About a month after, Omaha Beach won the Arkansas Derby by a length, beating Improbable and Nation House, the horse which would be awarded the Kentucky Derby win following the disqualification of Maximum Security.

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Then it was on to Kentucky, where cheers became tears due to his connections once the throat difficulty was detected. Watch Kentucky Derby online, Still, Mandella has no regrets about how the season turned out.

“It has been a fantastic year,” Mandella said Tuesday after watching Omaha Beach’s ultimate work before Saturday’s race.  “As a horse trainer, you learn how to live with disappointments. Kentucky derby coverage, We’ve got plenty of practice at that.

“But you do not get many that acquire the Arkansas Derby and then come back and win the Santa Anita Sprint. Kentucky derby tv coverage, And the Rebel.  You erase the things which didn’t occur and you live about what did happen.”

Omaha Beach’s most remarkable performance could have been that win in the six-furlong Sprint Championship after a six-month absence from racing.  He is not a sprinter. Watch Kentucky Derby online.

“He is a throwback to all those classic horses,” jockey Mike Smith said following the win.  “He could do anything.  Three-quarters [of a mile] into a mile-and-a-quarter.  He is extremely fast and he has tremendous stamina.  When you want him to be fast, he is.  He could do it all.”

It left Mandella using a dilemma: For the Breeders’ Cup, if Omaha Beach be input at the Cup Sprint, Dirt Mile or Classic?

“I was wrapped between long and short, so I moved in the center,” Mandella said.

Mandella says he feels great about Omaha Beach’s prospects on Saturday.

“He is such a wise horse,” Mandella said.  “You’ve seen the works he has been doing.  He does it so wonderful.  … Whatever he does will not surprise me because he is that good.”

After the Breeders’ Cup, Mandella has targeted Omaha Beach for the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita, a seven-furlong race on Dec. 26, to be followed by the 1 1/8-mile, $9-million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 25 in Gulfstream Park. Kentucky derby tv coverage.

“He is place to move to stud at Spendthrift, and I know the agreement reads you can run him in the Pegasus in the end of January,” Watch Kentucky Derby online, Mandella said.  “And then they can take him straight to Spendthrift and go to stud.  … We still get to keep him a little bit.  We’ll see what happens.”

A win in the Dirt Mile along with the Malibu Stakes could put Omaha Beach in the picture for the Eclipse Award for a 3-year-old horse of this year.  Having a contested Kentucky Derby and no true standout the remainder of the year, he could be the favored with a couple wins.  Voting for the award concludes a few days following the Malibu.

“Let’s not discuss that,” Mandella said.

He might not need to talk about it, however, when Saturday goes well, everyone else will be. Kentucky derby tv coverage.

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