After all the delays before and after the longest recovery time allotted for a myectomy ever, I get why it’s unreasonable to think that Omaha Beach, the 2019 Kentucky Derby morning line favorite, would go hunting for older bears with a younger switch going a mile and a quarter off a lone prep against the world’s best handicappers following a six-month layup.
Research indicates that recovery time from a procedure to correct an entrapped epiglottis can span anywhere from six to eight weeks. But it’s been six months since Omaha Beach raced, last April in Hot Springs.
Omaha Beach was scheduled to return in Del Mar’s Shared Belief Stakes, subsequently won by Improbable, a rival Omaha Beach beat in the Arkansas Derby. That victory cast him in the role KY Derby favorite.
Then the target became the one-turn Ack Ack mile at Churchill Downs, at an appropriate distance with favorable dynamics and excellent spacing to the next stop. It made sense.
But those plans went awry, too, owing to an aborted workout.
“I didn’t want to ship him unless everything was perfect,” said his exacting Hall of Famer trainer. which also made sense.
The new target now is the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, OCT. 5. The SA Sprint, at six furlongs, is a Breeders’ Cup Sprint “Win and You’re In” event. But running in the Sprint doesn’t make sense, unless…
Many believed this talented three year old was the best of his topsy-turvy generation. Now we’re supposed to think that going from mile-and-a-quarter Derby dreams in spring translates to a six-furlong dash in the fall. This doesn’t scan well.
I envision of few possible scenarios playing out: Omaha Beach returns to win another Grade 1, a sprint to go with his Grade 1 route, and is suddenly retired.
Or he wins the SA Sprint Championship with something in reserve and goes on to the BC Sprint and wins that, and retires.
Or, sensibly, of all goes well on OCT. 5, he returns in the BC Dirt Mile and wins, a victory that also looks good on a sire’s resume.
And now that he has two races under his girth, he goes a bit farther around two turns at speed-friendly Gulfstream Park, targeting the prestigious and rich Pegasus Invitational before being whisked off to the spring breeding season.
Beyond that, there is the gazillion-dollar race in Saudi Arabia–an obscenely grotesque purse with a destination that’s equally abhorrent, and, of course, Dubai, only a little less so but with a rich history on the racetrack and in sales rings around the world.
Doubtlessly, Richard Mandella will be afforded the respect he deserves and has earned, and the owners will heed his advice.
But his call might conflict with a post-racing agenda over which he has no control, only a substantial economic interest.