Omaha Beach, in his only work between races ahead of the 2019 Kentucky Derby, drilled Saturday as the favourite should, swallowing up a workmate on his way to clocking five furlongs in 59 seconds flat at Churchill Downs.
“That’s what we were looking for, and I don’t think we could be any better,” said trainer Richard Mandella, who had Julien Leparoux up.
Original plans called for Omaha Beach to breeze Friday, but rain in Louisville, Ky., and time to spare led to Mandella pushing activity back a day. As such, jockey Mike Smith — who has the mount in the Kentucky Derby — didn’t travel for the work.
A son of War Front entering off victories in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and Rebel Stakes (G2), Omaha Beach beat 4-year-old Kowboy Karma by 1.8 seconds to the wire, then galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80.
Omaha Beach led morning works at Churchill, where multiple stakes winner War of Will registered a half mile in 47.60 seconds, and UAE Derby (G2) hero Plus Que Parfait went 5/8 in company in 1:02.
“Since the Rebel Stakes, he continues to grow and fill out,” Mandella said of Omaha Beach, who’s campaigned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm. “I’ve never seen a 3-year-old this good at this time of year in my barn develop like this.
“I wish I could take credit for it, but I think the big man’s helping us.”