Kentucky Derby Favorite Omaha Beach Will Not Race Due to Entrapped Epiglottis

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He followed that up by predicting Justify's groundbreaking victory in the Belmont Stakes, as well as calling the winners of the Haskell Invitational, Pennsylvania Derby and Lecomte Stakes, just to name a few.

With the scratch of Omaha Beach, Bodexpress will draw into the field and break from post position 20. American Pharaoh won that distinction in 2015 and Justify swept the three races.

The complexion of the 2019 Kentucky Derby changed dramatically on Wednesday when the morning-line favorite, Omaha Beach, scratched with an entrapped epiglottis.

The new favorite is Game Winner, a horse trained by Bob Baffert.

"We can't fix it this week so we'll have to have a procedure done in a few days and probably be out of training for a few weeks." he said, according to the Kentucky Derby Twitter feed.

Mandella, who has never won the Derby with six previous starters, was quietly confident.

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Omaha Beach had breezed impressively over the Churchill Downs track for a week, including a stout five-furlong workout over the weekend. Smith has ridden Roadster in all of his races to date. The race could set up nicely for longshot horses to crash the board, particularly with a balanced blend of frontrunners, closers and stalkers that could push the Kentucky Derby pace in any direction.

It also was a jarring reversal of fortune for jockey Mike Smith, who chose to ride Omaha Beach over Baffert trainee Roadster in the weeks leading up to the race.

Omaha Beach had drawn the 12th post position.

Instead, Demling is high on War of Will, a long shot at 15-1 Kentucky Derby odds. All horses outside of Omaha Beach (post positions 13-20) will move over one position in the starting gate.

Mandella has stated that the medical issue will require surgery that will keep the horse out of racing until late-June to early-July.

Omaha Beach galloped Wednesday morning without problem and Mandella said everything was fine. "Then we'll have to figure out a whole new game plan". Morning line favorite. Different race now.

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