Omaha Beach dazzles in Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1)

October 6, 2019

Omaha Beach overtakes Shancelot in 1:08 4/5, earning a 1 1/2 on the Ragozin Sheets

Omaha Beach made a triumphant return to the races on Saturday with an extremely game score in the$300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1), outfinishing Shancelot by a head in a very quick 1:08.79 for the six furlongs.

Omaha Beach was away in good order in his first race against older competition. Shancelot set the pace, carving out fractions of :21.87 and :44.38. Omaha Beach, ridden by Mike Smith, inched closer on the turn. Coming up the fence, he got along side the pacesetter in the final sixteenth and put his nose in front in the final strides to secure the win.

“He’s a throwback to those classic horses,” Smith said. “He can do anything. Three quarters to a mile and a quarter. He’s extremely fast and he’s got tremendous stamina. When you need him to be quick, he is. He can do it all. The only thing that surprised me today was that I had to stay inside. His last work was his best one, no question. Today, he hit his best stride late.”

Winner of the Arkansas Derby (G1) and Rebel S. (G2) earlier this year, Omaha Beach missed the Kentucky Derby (G1) due to an entrapped epiglottis. With Saturday’s win, he is now 4-3-1 in eight starts and has earned $1,301,800 for Fox Hill Farms. The 3-year-old colt is a half-brother to champion 2-year-old filly Take Charge Brandi and hails from one of the best dirt families in the American stud book.

Spendthrift Farm acquired the breeding rights to Omaha Beach earlier this spring, and he will join the farm’s stallion roster upon retirement.

Plans for the Breeders’ Cup are still up in the air according to trainer Richard Mandella. “I want to enjoy this one, but the [GI Breeders’ Cup] Sprint, the [GI Dirt] Mile and the mile and a quarter [GI Classic] are all possible…We’re gonna run in the Breeders’ Cup! For now I’ll just drink that big bottle of champagne and think it over.”

Omaha Beach earned a tremendous speed figure for the win, with Ragozin’s The Sheets giving him a 1 1/2. It makes him one of just 8 horses in 2019 to earn a 1 or lower on Ragozin’s speed figure system.