In an eerie replay from last spring’s Kentucky Derby, Omaha Beach — the favorite for Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park — was scratched from the race on Thursday due to a hoof issue.
Omaha Beach, the even-money favorite in the Grade 1 race, was the second scratch this week. Earlier, Spun to Run – the second-favorite at 9-2 – was scratched due to a skin rash. That drops the field for the 1 1/8 mile Pegasus to 10 horses, and sends Omaha Beach into early retirement as a stud at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky. The Pegasus was going to be his final race anyway.
Ironically, it was Spun to Run who snapped Omaha Beach’s four-race winning streak last fall when he beat Omaha Beach in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita in November.
“It was observed this morning that Omaha Beach had light swelling in his right hind fetlock,” trainer Richard Mandella said. “While we are disappointed to have to miss the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Omaha Beach’s safety and well-being comes first and we wanted to do what was best for him.”
History of Scratches
This is not the first time Mandella, one of the more conscientious trainers in the game, has pulled Omaha Beach days from a big race. Last spring, after Omaha Beach won the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby as Derby tune-ups, Mandella and owner Rick Porter scratched him from the Kentucky Derby three days before post-time when the colt developed an entrapped epiglottis that affected his ability to breathe and swallow.
He spent much of his 3-year-old season recovering from surgery, returning in the fall to win the Santa Anita Sprint Championship and Malibu Stakes. Those two races not only cemented Omaha Beach’s dynamic ability, but his versatility. In his 10-race career, Omaha Beach won five times at distances from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.
He finished second three times and third once, that coming in his first race. Along the way, Omaha Beach earned more than $1.6 million.