We have no idea who might have been building a false sense of drama as to which race Omaha Beach would run in after Richard Mandella mentioned that the two races to follow the Breeders’ Cup would be the Malibu and Pegasus.
First of all, the Sprint really made no sense; been there, done that, and at the Grade 1 level. Once Omaha Beach got up following that classy deep-stretch eyeball test, another sprint, even at the Breeders’ Cup, would have done little to enhance his reputation and value.
And while I do count myself among those dreamers that would have loved to see a feat accomplished that never was accomplished before and likely would never be attempted again: Three consecutive Grade 1s at nine, six and 10 furlongs.
I don’t care how much spacing was involved between starts. Who does that? Not even the great Hall of Fame trainer and Rick Porter, who still considers the sport when making race plans.
And, as crazy as it might be, as difficult as it might be, as unconventional and as improbable as it might be, I thought Omaha Beach would have had more than a puncher’s chance to upset McKinzie, contemporary Code of Honor, et al in the biggest dance.
Of course, it would have been monumental, but the colt just might have the extraordinary talent it would take to accomplish such a feat. and you know that Mandella would not have emptied his colt out winning the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
The Dirt Mile makes the most sense. Next up comes the seven furlong Malibu–the perfect turn-back against one’s contemporaries with excellent spacing, a tad under two months, and a great bridge to the speed-conducive nine furlongs at Gulfstream Park five weeks later.
I would expect that a lot of Breeders’ Cup cross entering would be going on, even if those choices are limited. On balance, however, the Dirt Mile would be easier on Omaha Beach then running six furlongs as hard and a fast as he can, and the BC Sprint and SA Sprint are vastly different animals.
Additionally, 4-year-olds have done pretty well in the Pegasus, haven’t they, and the guess is that nine furlongs just might be Omaha Beach’s best trip. From there, it’s two months to the ten-furlong Dubai World Cup.
Parenthetically, I’m not even considering the $20 million Voracious Stakes in Saudi Arabia which, if it doesn’t attract the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner or a major European, coming very early in their season, the Saudi romp will be the richest race ever staged for Grade 2 animals.
Catalina Cruiser, Coal Front, Giant Expectations, Improbable and Mr. Money are nice horses to be sure. but they do not strike fear into the horseshoes of anyone. Further, the recent three-quarters in 1:08 3/5 over the track is a great bridge to the Dirt Mile.
The good part of Omaha Beach’s run in this Dirt Mile heightens anticipation for the event, elevating it considerably higher in stature than that of Pick 4 filler.