“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”—United States Postal Service creed.
Ditto for Omaha Beach.
The marquee horse on Santa Anita's stakes-studded opening day card on Saturday is scheduled to make his penultimate start in the Grade I Runhappy Malibu Stakes for three-year-olds at seven furlongs, after which looms his finale, the Grade I, $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25.
Then it's off to stud at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.
“He's as good as he can be,” Richard Mandella said of the son of War Front after he blew out three furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track Sunday in a bullet 34 seconds, fastest of 31 drills at the distance, the average time of which was nearly four seconds slower at 37.67.
“I had to sharpen him up (going three furlongs in advance of predicted rain) because of the extended delay (in opening day from Thursday), but I'm very happy they decided to wait an additional two days in the interest of safety. They certainly did the right thing.
“It should make for a big opening weekend, which we need. Running two days later than expected won't make much difference to Omaha Beach. He's as good as he can be.”
In addition to the Malibu and the Grade I La Brea for three-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, other stakes to be presented Saturday are the Grade I American Oaks for three-year-old fillies at 1 ¼ miles on turf; the Grade II San Antonio; the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile on turf; the Grade III Robert J. Frankel; and the $75,000 added Lady of Shamrock—making for a total of seven stakes on an 11-race program.
Santa Anita's revised opening week schedule offers live racing on Sunday, Dec. 29; New Year's Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1; and Friday, Jan. 3 through Sunday, Jan. 5.
First post time opening day will be 11 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m.
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