Derby favourite Omaha Beach draws 12

Kentucky Derby favourite Omaha Beach has drawn barrier 12 with his main opposition, Game Winner, to start from 16.

Kentucky Derby favourite Omaha Beach has drawn barrier 12 of 20 for the famous Run To The Roses with second elect Game Winner in 16.

Their respective trainers Richard Mandella and Bob Baffert were both relieved not to have drawn close to the rail which has traditionally been a stumbling block at Churchill Downs.

"Perfect. I love it," Mandella said.

"Didn't want to be down inside. I think I'm in a great spot."

Omaha Beach is at 4-1 ahead of the race on Saturday (Sunday AEST) with last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner at 5-1.

Baffert is aiming 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.

"I like the 16 hole, it's a good spot," Baffert said.

"I think it's less stressful (not having the favourite). I think the expectations when you have the favourite is put on you but I think when I had the favourite with Pharoah or Justify, it was their race to lose..

"There are a lot of nice horses in this race. Omaha Beach, he deserves to be the favourite. We'll just see how it plays out."

Spendthrift Farm has entered into an agreement with Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm to acquire the breeding rights to Omaha Beach.

Omaha Beach will continue to be campaigned by Fox Hill Farms and trainer Richard Mandella. At the conclusion of his racing career he will retire to Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky to take up stud duty.

By leading sire War Front, Omaha Beach enters Saturday’s Kentucky Derby after reeling off three straight wins, including the G2 Rebel Stakes and G1 Arkansas Derby earlier this month.

An earner of $1,121,800 to date, Omaha Beach is out of the Seeking The Gold mare Charming, Omaha Beach is a half-brother to 2014 Breeders’ Cup winner and champion filly Take Charge Brandi.

His second dam is three-time G1-winning millionaire Take Charge Lady, who was named Broodmare of the Year in 2013 after her son Will Take Charge was Champion 3YO Colt that same year.

She’s also the dam of Florida Derby winner and current sire Take Charge Indy.

Omaha Beach breezed five furlongs in 59 seconds on April 27 at Churchill Downs in his final tune-up for the Kentucky Derby. He will be ridden Saturday by his regular jockey Mike Smith.

 


AAP