The star-crossed racing career of Omaha Beach came to an end on Thursday when he was scratched from the $3-million Pegasus World Cup after an X-ray of his right hind ankle showed an irregularity. He was scheduled to make the final start of his career on Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Florida before being retired and becoming a stallion.
Omaha Beach first came to national prominence when he was the favorite in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, However, a throat issue, a trapped epiglottis, was discovered a few days before the Derby and he was scratched. He was supposed to be off for three weeks but it turned into five months with various small maladies cropping up.
His comeback was a sensational come-from-behind win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship in October. He followed that up with a second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and then won the Malibu Stakes by almost three lengths. It was his 10th and final race. He won five times, finished second four times and third once. He started his career on the turf before moving to the dirt in his fourth race.
“He went out for a gallop this morning, cooled out great, but we noticed something later,” trainer Richard Mandella told the Daily Racing Form in Hallandale, Fla. “We X-rayed his right hind ankle. It’s questionable what’s there, but it looks like it might be the beginning of a cannon bone fracture. We can’t take a chance.”
Omaha Beach is owned by Rick Porter or Fox Hill Farms. Other horses once owned by Porter include the late Battle of Midway and Normandy Invasion. Omaha Beach was a landing spot in Normandy, France, during the D-Day invasion by Allied forces in World War II.
“Something has made this horse so popular and I’m not sure what it is,” Porter, 79, told the Los Angeles Times earlier this week. “But, we think the name has a lot to do with it. It’s a catchy name for some people and a meaningful name for other people.
“I’m a big patriot. … I like to find some military things and part of my philanthropy plan involves a lot of military charities.”
Omaha Beach’s next job will be at Spendthrift Farm, where he will begin his career as a stud.