TDN Top Triple Crown Contenders

Omaha Beach

OMAHA BEACH (c, War FrontCharming, by Seeking the Gold)
O-Fox Hill Farms, Inc. B-Charming Syndicate (KY). T-Richard Mandella. Sales History: $625,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GISW, 7-3-3-1, $1,121,800.
Last Start: 1st, GI Arkansas Derby OP, Apr. 13
Equineline PPs. KY Derby Points: 137.5.

Omaha Beach has the momentum of a three-race win streak, elite-level tactical prowess, a stamina-sturdy pedigree, proven off-track ability, and a stylish résumé that includes back-to-back slugfest victories over the No. 2 and No. 4 contenders on this list. Now you can add the endorsement of Mike Smith, America’s most successful big-money jockey, who last week elected to vacate the mount on Roadster (Quality Road) in order to retain the ride on this War Front colt in the Derby. Smith’s choice will ensure Derby favoritism for Omaha Beach. But the most tantalizing asset is the fact that we have yet to see what this horse can do when fully unleashed to the true depth of his torque reserves. His GII Rebel S. win over the juvenile champ was visually impressive considering Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) was being pushed on for run while Omaha Beach remained hand-encouraged. And in the GI Arkansas Derby, Smith was still sitting chilly turning for home while Improbable (City Zip) was driven hard without eroding the margin. In both of those Oaklawn races, it was a wide gap back to the third-place horses. Trainer Richard Mandella disclosed on Sunday that Omaha Beach has been training and racing with a patched quarter crack since breaking his maiden on Feb. 2. He termed it an “old issue” that has not affected the horse, and Mandella flew out his blacksmith, Ben Craft, from California to Churchill Downs to apply a new patch that went on when Omaha Beach had shoes changed on Sunday.