Fox Hill Farms' Omaha Beach, unraced since being scratched with a throat issue as the morning line favorite for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, will not return in the G3 Ack Ack Stakes Sept. 28 at Churchill Downs as planned, trainer Richard Mandella told the Louisville, Ky., track's publicity department on Saturday morning.
Instead, the Hall of Fame conditioner said, the 3-year-old colt by War Front colt will be pointed to the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship Oct 5. The Sprint Championship is a six-furlong race while the Ack Ack is to be contested at a one-turn mile. It is a “Win and You're In” Challenge Series race for the Breeders' Cup Sprint division. This year's Breeders' Cup will be held at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., on Nov. 1-2.
“His workout yesterday got very messed up and I needed that to be good in order to run him next week in Kentucky so I decided to stay here and just run him in the sprint October 5,” Mandella told a Churchill Downs publicist.
Fox Hill Farm owner Rick Porter told the Paulick Report Omaha Beach's first attempt to work was aborted after a furlong when a horse in front of him lost its rider and Omaha Beach was forced to pull up. Omaha Beach galloped around the track and then broke off again at the six-furlong pole, working a furlong past the finish line, getting seven furlongs in 1:27.20 while in company with Charlito.
Omaha Beach, who shipped from Santa Anita to win the G2 Rebel Stakes and G1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in the spring, underwent epiglottis surgery on May 3 at Rood and Riddle in Lexington. He has been breezing regularly since July 23 at Del Mar and Santa Anita.
Omaha Beach is scheduled to be retired to stud at B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky., in 2020. After talking with Mandella on Saturday, Porter said Omaha Beach will have one more breeze before the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, and if he exits that race in good order would point for the Breeders' Cup Sprint or Dirt Mile (both G1). If he doesn't make the Breeders' Cup, Porter said, races like the G1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Dec. 1, along with the 2020 G1 Pegasus at Gulfstream Park Jan. 25, would be considered.
Porter did not rule out the possibility of Omaha Beach remaining in training in 2020 as a 4-year-old.
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