Omaha Beach, the morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby, was scratched today, after trainer Richard Mandella discovered the colt had an entrapped epiglottis.
An entrapped epiglottis occurs when a fold of tissue called the aryepiglottic fold becomes stuck and blocks the epiglottis, which covers the horse’s larynx to prevent food from going down the trachea or “wind pipe.” The condition is typically corrected with surgery and it should not impact his career going forward.
“After training this morning we noticed him cough a few times,” Mandella said. “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.” Reported in the Paulick Report.
Mike Battaglia, who has set the Derby’s morning line since 1975, released a new line Wednesday after Omaha Beach was scratched. Santa Anita Derby runner-up Game Winner was made the 9-2 favorite, with Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster and Arkansas Derby runner-up Improbable the co-second choices at 5-1. Jocky Mike Smith, who turned down the ride on Roadster for Omaha Beach, is probably second guessing himself now. Roadster will be ridden by Florent Geroux.
Here’s the Santa Anita Derby with Roadster and Game Winner. Funnily enough, this race was run at Santa Anita on April 6th, the same track that had so many problems earlier this year. I think Roadster ran a heck of a race. However, in a field the size of the Derby, it may be hard for a horse that comes from behind to work his way through the traffic.
You can watch Improbable put the pressure on Omaha Beach in the Arkansas Derby two weeks ago. If Omaha Beach was impaired by the entrapped epiglottis he’s going to be a heck of a speed demon once that’s repaired. His connections must be devastated to have him out of the running.