Reprinted from Bloodhorse
Derby Morning-Line Favorite Omaha Beach Lands Post 12
Son of War Front well-drawn for Kentucky Derby 145.
Fox Hill Farms’ Omaha Beach drew a favorable spot April 30 for the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs.
The son of War Front , who won the April 13 Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park in his last race, was assigned gate 12 of 20 at Tuesday’s post position draw. The $3 million Derby is slated for 6:46 p.m. EDT and will air nationally on NBC. Scratch time is May 3 at 9 a.m.
Twenty-one were entered for the Run for the Roses, with Bodexpress listed as the lone also-eligible.
The Richard Mandella-trained Omaha Beach enters the Derby off a strong :59 five-furlong drill April 27. Omaha Beach has won his past three outings, starting with a Feb. 2 maiden win at Santa Anita Park. He then went on the road to take the second division of the March 16 Rebel Stakes (G2) before the Arkansas Derby, a victory that set him up as the 4-1 morning-line favorite to win on the first Saturday in May. Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who took the Derby last year on Triple Crown winner Justify , has the mount.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Mandella said after the draw. “It gives him a chance to size the race up. It’s actually nice to be outside a little bit and not have to commit too quickly. In his last couple of races, he kind of sits back and bides his time the first little bit and then decides when to just cruise along. Mike will have to figure that out.
“Usually, if you’re the favorite as opposed to being 100-1, you have a little better chance. It’s a great feeling. I hope it comes out that way.”
On the potential of adding his first Kentucky Derby win to a Hall of Fame career, Mandella said, “It would be a great thing to have happen. Anybody in this business knows the Kentucky Derby and wants to win it. It doesn’t matter what you do. I’m in that group.”