Early Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach gets favorable draw | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World Sports

Early Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach gets favorable draw

Associated Press
1095065_web1_1095065-63ec29a4e7ca4963ab2356156d639a7b
AP
Kentucky Derby hopeful Omaha Beach gets a bath after a workout at Churchill Downs Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 4.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Knowing their favored horses won’t start the Kentucky Derby on the rail left Richard Mandella and Bob Baffert more relieved than happy.

What matters for the Hall of Fame trainers is turning workable starting spots into victory and a long-sought celebration for Mandella.

Omaha Beach is the 4-1 early favorite for Saturday’s 145th Run for the Roses after drawing the No. 12 post position Tuesday. That could be a good sign for the colt and Mandella, considering the horse favored to win the Derby has taken the past six.

“I hope it comes out that way,” Mandell said.

Baffert-trained Game Winner is the 5-1 second choice from the No. 16 post in the 20-horse field for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Game Winner will start inside stablemate Roadster, the 6-1 co-third choice with Improbable, a Baffert colt who will go off from the No. 5 hole in the 1¼-mile race at Churchill Downs.

Omaha Beach enters the $3 million showcase on a three-race winning streak. The dark brown colt is coming off a one-length victory in the slop over Improbable in the Arkansas Derby, a race that demonstrated his recent knack for getting up front quickly and staying there.

Mandella believes Omaha Beach and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who won last year’s Derby for Baffert aboard Justify, will make the most of his spot.

“It’s really important if you get luck with it,” Mandella said. “If you get a bad luck, a good post position doesn’t work.

“His last couple of races, he kind of sits back and bides his time a little bit, then decides when to just cruise along. Mike will have to figure that out.”

Baffert, meanwhile, aims to match Ben Jones’ record with his sixth Kentucky Derby win and second straight. He won last year with Justify, culminating in the Triple Crown. That came three years after he took the Triple Crown with American Pharoah.

It remains to be seen how the Derby will unfold hitting the first turn with so many horses vying for the same spot, but Improbable is in a relatively good spot.

Game Winner, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall, and Roadster will have their work cut out for them, starting from post positions that are a combined 4 for 87 in the Derby. When it was noted Roadster’s No. 17 post is 0 for 40, nervous laughter grew in a crowded room of horsemen including Baffert, his connections and the media.

Baffert later took all of his horses’ slots in stride, if only because none was on the rail. War of Will drew that unenviable spot and was given 20-1 odds as a result.

“I like the 16 hole, it’s a good spot,” he said of Game Winner’s position. “Roadster, he’s out there. I don’t know. I always get two horses together. A lot of times in California they draw so … I’ll be watching those two leaving there.”

War of Will’s trainer, Mark Casse, chose to be encouraged about his horse’s post.

“It could be worse, I think,” he said of the horse who had a three-race winning streak halted in the Louisiana Derby. “Our horse is really on his game, so he’ll come away from there running.

“I think we’ll probably be on the lead and play catch me if you can. And you know, if we come away from there like he normally does, we’re going to come away from there running. … I’ve thought I had great draws before and gotten wiped out, so maybe this is the change.”

Points leader Tacitus will start from the No. 8 post with 10-1 odds as he tries to give trainer Bill Mott his first Derby victory. The son of Tapit and Close Hatches by First Defence has Grade 2 wins in the Wood Memorial and Tampa Bay Derby during a three-race surge.

Another 10-1 choice is unbeaten Maximum Security, who starts from the No. 7 hole and will try to follow up his victory in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Todd Pletcher entries Spinoff and Cutting Humor face 30-1 odds after drawing the Nos. 19 and 10 post positions.

Also eligible is 30-1 Bodexpress, who can get into the field with a defection.

Categories: Sports | US-World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.