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Kentucky Derby Favorite Omaha Beach Scratched: How this Race Changes

Kentucky Derby Favorite Omaha Beach Scratched: How this Race Changes article feature image

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Omaha Beach

  • 2019 Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach (4-1) was scratched from the race on Wednesday.
  • Before the news dropped, Bob Baffert’s three entrants -- Game Winner (5-1), Roadster (6-1), and Improbable (6-1) -- were next in line.

Omaha Beach is out of the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and what was already considered to be a wide-open field just lost the morning line favorite (4-1 odds) from the mix.

Omaha Beach is out of the Kentucky Derby, with a trapped epiglottis. Morning line favorite. Different race now.

— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) May 1, 2019

The good news? Omaha Beach is going to be fine. Per his trainer Richard Mandella, he’s completely off of the Kentucky Derby trail, but this is a condition that mostly reduces athletic performance and won’t directly affect his health.

Per EQUUS magazine, the epiglottis, “is a movable fold of cartilage that lies at the base of the tongue. It bends upward when a horse swallows to direct feed and water through the esophagus. Inflammation or anomalies in the horse’s airway structures can lead to entrapment, which occurs when the epiglottis becomes stuck on tissue.”

The epiglottis can become unstuck on its own, or it can require surgical intervention. But the good boy is fine, and he should return to racing later in the year after a full recovery.

How the Kentucky Derby Changes

The three Bob Baffert horses now come into clear focus now, and either Game Winner or Roadster will likely be the favorite by post time. (You can find Westgate’s updated odds as of Wednesday evening here.)

Game Winner, the 2018 Breeders Cup Juvenile champion, was the top choice on futures odds before he lost to Omaha Beach in the Rebel Stakes, and then finished second behind Roadster in the Santa Anita stakes.

Based on their head-to-head matchup, I would assume that most people would lean to Roadster, but Game Winner certainly has his fans, while Roadster has mostly run in smaller fields.

Bodexpress will take Omaha Beach’s spot in the field, potentially adding even more speed to this race.

Tacitus Should Gain Steam Too

Juddmonte Farms-owned Tacitus is royally bred, as the son of leading sire Tapit and champion race mare Close Hatches.

Other than Roadster and Maximum Security, Tacitus is the only horse in the field who fits the recent trend of Kentucky Derby winners coming into the race undefeated at Age 3, with a win in their last race and having achieved 100+ points on the Derby trail.

He’s a difficult horse to judge because he hasn’t run against any of the other top choices in the field, who are mostly from California, but his wins are visually impressive and he has improved in every start:

What Happens to Your Omaha Beach Wagers?

If you have futures or Kentucky Derby pool wagers on Omaha Beach, my condolences. You likely got him at very long odds.

You can go ahead and rip those tickets up, and cancel the vacation that you had planned to spend that money on. I hope you bought trip insurance.

However, if you did place advance Kentucky Derby wagering somewhere, those bets are now canceled and your wagers should be refunded as Omaha Beach is considered a scratch for the race.

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