Omaha Beach Never Had To Be Asked In Malibu Romp

Rick Porter’s Omaha Beach made it look easy for Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith on Saturday, cruising to the lead around the far turn and pulling away under a hand ride to win the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The 3-year-old son of War Front covered seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:22.33, and was sent to post as the 2-5 favorite for trainer Richard Mandella.

“It’s just amazing and this horse speaks for everything,” said Smith, who also registered his fourth stakes win of the day. “He’s just beautiful, so fun to be around, so fun to ride, and so fun to train. It just shows how great this horse really is. I’m so happy and blessed to be a part of it.”

When reminded he had just surpassed retired Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey as racing’s all-time Grade I stakes winning jockey, Smith replied, “Jerry is someone that comes from my hometown. I was born in New Mexico, but raised in Texas in El Paso, where he’s from. His father was my dentist…So he’s always meant a lot to me, so to surpass him means a whole lot.”

The win was Smith’s fourth stakes victory on the card, as well as the 217th Grade 1 victory of his storied career. He is now officially ahead of Jerry Bailey (216) as the all-time leading jockey in Grade 1 wins.

Most recently second as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Omaha Beach needed a better break in the Malibu. Smith helped him out of the gate in perfect fashion, but the steady-minded colt was content to let the horses to his inside rush up and take the early lead.

Manny Wah got the first call, but it was Much Better who rushed up the inside to grab the lead and mark the first quarter mile in :22.43. Much Better pulled away to a three-length advantage up the backstretch, with Complexity, Manny Wah and Omaha Beach three-wide across the track behind him. Roadster trailed early.

When Complexity and Manny Wah made their bids to challenge Much Better, Omaha Beach simply drafted along beside them. Without any encouragement from Smith, Omaha Beach cruised into the lead by the five-sixteenths pole.

Confidently ridden in the lane, Omaha Beach pulled away from his rivals with ease. Smith never moved on the colt down the stretch, and Omaha Beach cruised under the wire a three-length winner. Roadster closed from the rear of the field to be second, while Manny Wah held on to finish third.

“He was supposed to run like this,” said Mandella. When asked if Omaha Beach is as good as any he’s trained in his illustrious Hall of Fame career, he responded, “I can’t think of one better…The few times he ever got beat were my fault…This is really special for us, opening day at Santa Anita. After all the trouble we have been through this year, this place is The Great Race Place and we all need to remember that.”

Bred in Kentucky by the Charming Syndicate, Omaha Beach is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Charming. Charming is out of the blue hen mare Take Charge Lady, the 2014 Broodmare of the Year. A $3.2 million yearling, Charming made just three starts on the track, winning one, before an injury forced her retirement. Her first major success in the breeding shed was Take Charge Brandi, winner of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Omaha Beach was entered in the Keeneland September sale as a yearling, but did not achieve his reserve when bidding stopped at $625,000. The War Front colt required five starts to break his maiden, but then fired off three wins in a row culminating in the G1 Arkansas Derby. In Louisville and expected to be the favorite for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Omaha Beach was diagnosed with an entrapped epiglottis and required surgery to repair it. He missed the Run for the Roses, and didn’t make it back to the races until the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship in October.

There, Omaha Beach battled bravely to the wire to defeat the talented Shancelot by a nose. Though he was off slow in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and had to settle for second, it was a strong effort, and the G1 Malibu win improves his overall record to 5-4-1 from 10 starts for earnings of over $1.6 million.

The $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park is up next for Omaha Beach, which is expected to be his final start before heading off to stud at Spendthrift Farm.

The post Omaha Beach Never Had To Be Asked In Malibu Romp appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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