Omaha Beach 4-1 Favorite to Win 145st Kentucky Derby

2019 Kentucky Derby Odds

Citing a number of factors, the Washington Post’s Neil Greenburg picked Improbable to win.

Omaha Beach opened as a 4-to-1 favorite to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby when he drew No. 12. Trainer Richard Mandella voiced concern before the draw that the thoroughbred would be stuck on the rail. He’ll face the full 20-horse field in the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Omaha Beach represents the 68-year old Richard Mandella’s best chance to win a Kentucky Derby. The horse favored to win at Churchill Downs has won the last six Kentucky Derby events. When asked about positioning, Mandella only said, “I hope it comes out that way.”

Game Winner, trained by Bob Baffet received the No. 16 post and is a 5-1 second choice to win. Bob Baffert-trained horses have won 5 Kentucky Derby races, including two of the last four events (2015: American Pharoah, 2018: Justify).

Game Winner starts inside Roadster, another Baffert entry, a 6-1 co-choice for third. Improbable, yet another Baffert-trained horse, sits at the No. 5 spot and is the other co-third with 6-1 odds. All in all, it’s an even field and Improbable has the best position among the favorites.

Omaha Beach: 4-1 Kentucky Derby Favorite

Omaha Beach enters the Kentucky Derby on a three-race winning streak. The last victory was a one-length win over Improbable at the Arkansas Derby, which was run in the slop. Richard Mandella hired Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who rode Justify to victory last year, to ride Omaha Beach in the 145th Kentucky Derby.

The Hall of Fame rider and the No. 12 position gives the horse an excellent chance to win the race. None of that matters if the race doesn’t shake out as plan, said, Mandella.

Twenty horses jockeying for position leaves a lot to chance. Reaching the first post will be a key moment, because horses could get pinned on the inside. Mandella added, “It’s really important if you get luck with it. If you get bad luck, a good post position doesn’t work.”

“His last couple of races he kind of sits back and bides his time a little bit, then decides when to just cruise along. Mike will have to figure that out.”

Roadster, Game Winner on the Outside

When a reporter pointed out the No. 16 and No. 17 spots are 4-for-87 in Kentucky Derby events and Roadster’s No. 17 position is 0-for-40, Baffert’s assistant staff gave out a collective nervous laughter.

Bob Baffert displayed confidence, “I like the 16 hole, it’s a good spot. Roadster, he’s out there. I don’t know.”

Perhaps without full conviction, Bob Baffert deflected the question, stating, “I always get two horses together. A lot of times in California they draw so…I’ll be watching those two leaving there.”

War of Will in No. 1 Spot

War of Will drew the No. 1 gate, which always sits at risk of getting trapped on the inside. Mark Casse, the trainer for War of Will, said he was satisfied with his horse’s No. 1 position. War of Will had a 3-race winning streak snapped at the Louisiana Derby, but is still on a nice run.

Trying to make the most of the dreaded inside position, Casse said, “It could be worse, I think. Our horse is really on his game, so he’ll come away from there running. I think we’ll probably be on the lead and play catch me if you can.

“And you know, if we come away from there like he normally does, we’re going to come away from there running.”

When asked about the bad draw, Mark Casse said, “I’ve thought I had great draws before and gotten wiped out, so maybe this is the change.”

UPDATE: Omaha Beach Scratched from Kentucky Derby

Richard Mandella scratched Omaga Beach from the 2019 Kentucky Derby, due to an entrapped epiglottis. The epiglottis is a triangle-shaped piece of cartilage found at the base of the airway above the soft palate. The condition is treatable, but not in a few days’ time.

In a press release, Richard Mandella wrote, “After training this morning we noticed him cough a few times. It caused us to scope him and we found an entrapped epiglottis. 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 three weeks. We’ll have to figure out a whole new game plan.”